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While beating the drum for tuition hikes, University of California president Janet Napolitano maintained a secret slush fund of $175 million and tried to block an investigation by state auditors. That was okay with the University of California regents, who hailed the leadership of the former Arizona governor and Department of Homeland Security boss. As it happens, one of Napolitano’s favorite projects is the UC Davis Firearms Violence Research Center and on July 1 that outfit will receive its first $5 million in funding from the state.
That will help compensate for proposed cuts of nearly $6 billion from the National Institutes of Health, which during the previous administration funded what purported to be research on gun violence, including the work of Garen Wintemute, who happens to be the director of the UC Davis Firearms Violence Research Center. He claims his work is based on “science,” but Second Amendment advocates should be wary. According to Wintemute, the Center’s first project will be will be “a survey that looks at who owns guns, why they own them and how they use firearms.” That sounds more like snooping than science. UC Davis Center wants “the names,” and everybody should find that troubling.
In Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State” author Stephen P. Halbrook compiled data on the way Adolph Hitler’s Germany restricted firearms. The Nazis also wanted to know “who owns guns” and they ruthlessly suppressed firearm ownership by disfavored groups. As Halbrook shows, the Nazis used the records of the Weimar Republic, which also suppressed ownership and use of firearms.
According to a Sacramento Bee report, “Wintemute hopes to assess the effectiveness of current laws, including the newly adopted requirement that people who buy ammunition have the legal right to own guns, and of California’s new gun violence restraining orders.” That sounds more like politics than science, but maybe Dr. Wintemute can use the $5 million in funding to answer a pressing question.
Do California’s new gun laws, with their heavy-handed restrictions and database of ammunition owners, resemble in any way the gun laws of National Socialist Germany? After all, Nazi Germany was one of the most repressive and violent regimes in history. We wouldn’t want the Golden State to be like that.