By Michele Hanisee
As prosecutors whose job is to pursue felony criminal cases, we would enthusiastically support any proposed law that promised to be a realistic tool against gun violence. Sadly, the “Safety for All Act of 2016” is not one of those laws. Indeed, the ballot initiative would harm law-abiding gun owners while actually encouraging criminal activity.
The initiative pushed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom would, among other things, make it harder to obtain ammunition and guns, and completely outlaw the possession of large-capacity magazines. At first blush this might seem reasonable, but it ignores one critical reality: in the decade I have spent prosecuting gang murders, I have never encountered a case where the weapon was registered to the shooter.
California already has the nation’s most restrictive gun laws. Prior measures to rein in gun violence – such as gun registration requirements – have accomplished nothing. Similarly, this initiative would do nothing to stop criminals from acquiring ammunition, guns or large-capacity magazines. It would, however, make it prohibitively difficult for responsible gun owners to obtain ammunition for sport and home defense. Worse still, it would actually incentivize criminals to commit residential burglaries and armed robberies of gun stores to obtain ammunition.
In addition to exposing law-abiding citizens to more crime, the initiative would make criminals out of law-abiding citizens. A hobbyist who doesn’t use all the ammunition legally purchased at a shooting range would be subject to arrest for taking any of that ammunition home. That same person would be committing a crime by purchasing ammunition in bulk at the range and accepting reimbursement from friends for the amount they used.
The Safety for All Act might have a catchy name and generate useful sound bites for politicians, but it is horrible public policy. Please join me in opposing this misguided initiative by writing to:
“The Safety for All” Newsom Ballot Measure Committee
c/o Thomas A. Willis
Remcho, Johansen & Purcell, LLP
1127 Eleventh Street, Suite 602
Sacramento, CA 95914
You can also email Mr. Willis at email@example.com
Michele Hanisee is President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys. The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) is the collective bargaining agent and represents nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles. To contact a Board member, click here.