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The July 4 holiday is just around the corner but Californians might want to mark their calendar for July 1 because on that day they could become lawbreakers. Last year, the legislature passed gun laws, approved by governor Jerry Brown, that require Californians, by July 1, to get rid of any rifle or pistol magazine holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. As Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko told reporters, “We’re essentially making law-abiding citizens into criminals with this new law.” Those who fail to turn in their magazines could face jail time and those who do surrender the magazines receive no compensation for their property. Bosenko explained that he would not be going door to door demanding that citizens surrender their magazines, but Californians have good cause to remain wary.
As we noted, on July 1 the UC Davis Firearms Violence Research Center gets its first $5 million from the state. Supposedly a scientific enterprise, the Center’s first project, according to director Garen Wintemute, will be “a survey that looks at who owns guns, why they own them, and how they use firearms.” They want “the names,” of the gun owners, and this is troubling. Some types of firearms are more easily fitted with high-capacity magazines, the popular AR-15 for example. Since guns are registered, state officials could easily track down the owners and come knocking to see if they still have any magazines holding more than 10 rounds. After all, California’s attorney general Earl Warren strongly supported the internment of American citizens of Japanese ancestry. So for the Golden State, jailing people for keeping the magazines they lawfully purchased should not be a problem.
Gun-control politicians fancy themselves as compassionate progressives but their approach recalls the highly restrictive policies of National Socialist Germany. 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 regime restricted firearms. The Nazis also wanted to know “who owns guns” and used registration records of the Wiemar Republic to suppress firearm ownership by disfavored groups.