The Democrats in Sacramento push a prodigious amount of freedom restricting legislation. But last week, we saw something special even for them: a single bill unabashedly aimed at both your First and Second Amendment rights. It was a liberty restricting "two-fer," a shameless double-barreled attack on the Bill of Rights.
The bill, AB 1527, bans the open carrying of unloaded rifles and shotguns on public streets in an incorporated city. It followed up a similar bill last year which outlawed the open carrying of unloaded handguns. As such, it is, like that earlier bill, an undisguised abridgment of the Second Amendment.
According to testimony in support of the bill before the Assembly Appropriations Committee, this new legislation is needed to close a "loophole" in the prior law. Said a lobbyist testifying in support of the bill, because the prior ban applied only to handguns, some citizens are now carrying rifles instead, daring the police to arrest them, and saying "neener neener" to the cops. That's right, an adult, testifying before a Legislative committee, actually supported his testimony with the playground taunt "neener neener." You can't make this stuff up when it comes to Democrats and their freedom destroying enablers.
Unfortunately, though, he was serious, and so is this attack on liberty. But it is not just an obvious threat to the Second Amendment right to bear arms. It is also a manifest attack on the fundamental First Amendment guarantee of freedom of expression. How so? It turns out that those folks mocked with the "neener neener" testimony are carrying unloaded rifles to protest last year's handgun ban. In short, they are exercising their First Amendment right of expression. For that, the aforementioned witness cavalierly testified that his wife likened the rifle toting protesters to "seven year olds."
The wife reference, of course, was merely a dodge, a way to slip in a slight and to draw a sophisticated laugh from the left, without having actually to take responsibility for the wisecrack. Indeed, "[t]ake it up with my wife," was the lobbyist's cavalier response when I and other Republicans on the panel bristled at the insult. But the witness - ironically a "hired gun" in the employ of the California Police Chiefs Association - was actually expressing his employer's position, not just his wife's. Sadly, the Chiefs Association is fully behind this attack on your freedoms.
A letter sent to the Legislature by that Association in support of the bill makes this clear. Following last year's ban, says the letter, "[u]nhappily, the same immature people who were openly carrying handguns [and who, it must be added, had a legal right then to do so] have now rechanneled their dangerous and childish behavior into the open carry of long guns."
In short, despite the supercilious "take it up with my wife" crack from the Chiefs' mouthpiece, supporters of this legislation absolutely believe that the exercise of First Amendment rights here is "childish," "immature," and apparently the tantrums of "seven year olds."
Thus, conclude the Chiefs and the Democrats, we must ban the exercise of those rights.
The National Association for Gun Rights opposed this Constitutional assault. In its own letter to the Legislature opposing AB 1527, it claimed that author of the legislation "[i]n a recent press release . . . admitted this bill is merely retaliation against law-abiding citizens who choose to peacefully exercise their First Amendment right of free speech in support of their Second Amendment rights after the passage of last year's Open Carry Ban." The Gun Rights Association then trenchantly observed that "[p]unishing citizens for engaging in lawful public demonstrations is an outrageous abuse of power."
True. It is just what we do sometimes in the Legislature.