FPI / March 1, 2020
California continues to proudly lead the charge toward a disarmed citizenry. In the latest attack on the Second Amendment, Santa Clara County is forming what they call a “county gun team” – a unit of lawyers, analysts, and prosecutors authorized to seek out and confiscate firearms from those the state feels shouldn’t have them.
Remember when Democrats used to try to mollify armed Americans by saying, “No one’s coming for your guns” with every incremental gun control measure they proposed? Well, it’s official: They’re coming for the guns – some of them, at least. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. As Liberty Nation’s Graham J Noble once wrote, “Democrats have never come across a gun restriction they didn’t like.”
The Santa Clara Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve funding for the proposal, which was put forth by board president Cindy Chavez. The team will consist of seven people – three crime analysts, two lawyers, and two prosecutors. They will be tasked with identifying those who have been ordered to surrender their weapons and ensure these dangerous people aren’t still armed. If necessary, they’ll obtain search warrants for local law enforcement to go and take the guns.
Deputy District Attorney Marisa McKeown explained that “the very voluminous California laws on guns mean nothing if we don’t adequately and smartly enforce them.” She is correct, of course. Those who don’t care to follow the old laws aren’t likely to care much about the new ones. That’s why Second Amendment advocates say gun control doesn’t work.
“The law says that there are categories of people who are not allowed to have a gun,” McKeown said. “If you are a domestic abuser with a restraining order, you can’t have a gun. If you are a convicted felon, you can’t have a gun. If you are a repeated, mentally ill offender who is dangerous, you can’t have a gun.”
While the Board dressed the proposal up as simply a way to protect the victims of domestic abuse, consider the words of the deputy DA. Now let’s have a look at the ever-growing list of people who aren’t allowed to own guns in California – by no means did she disclose them all. According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, as of December 10, 2019, the following groups are considered prohibited persons:
- Those convicted of a felony or certain domestic violence crimes.
- Those addicted to narcotic drugs.
- Those convicted of specific crimes (both felony and misdemeanor) involving violence, hate crime offences, or the unlawful misuse of firearms.
- Those convicted of violating state laws regarding safe storage of firearms around minors and prohibited people. This usually results in a ten-year prohibition.
- Anyone who knows they are subject to an outstanding arrest warrant for a firearm-prohibiting offense – not convicted, simply subject to a warrant.
- Those prohibited as a condition of probation.
- Wards of the juvenile courts due to the commission of an offense involving violence, drugs, or firearms. This prohibition remains in effect until age 30.
- Anyone who knows they are subject to a protective order, restraining order, temporary restraining order, or injunction issued by a court pursuant to state law – including extreme risk protection orders, otherwise known as red flag laws.
- Anyone prohibited because of a history of severe mental illness or chronic alcoholism.
This isn’t simply about disarming convicted felons – which is another issue in its own right. The Santa Clara County Gun Team might well be tasked with disarming anyone with a record of mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse, who might be suspected of some crime – violent or otherwise – or even parents who simply didn’t lock up their guns while the kids were home. Will the squad also be used to hunt down any firearms or accessories the state manages to ban in the future? Which groups, exactly, deserve to be stripped of the right to self-defense?
Santa Clara County already employs one lawyer and a prosecutor who will be on this team. Taxpayers will fork over $427,247 to cover the $215,653 annual salary for the new attorney and the additional prosecutor’s $211,594. Grant money will cover the other expenses, including the remaining three staff member salaries, but the amount was not disclosed.
But what about the human cost? What of the liberty lost when armed citizens are arrested for refusing to surrender their arms – or the lives lost should the encounter turn violent?
The Second Amendment clearly states that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but let’s not pretend that actually matters in California. The Golden State has so infringed that right that any argument on Second Amendment grounds seems almost pointless. In truth, many other states and even the federal government have as well.
The argument against this now seems to center on the violation of the right to due process. Under current state laws, this confiscation crew can get search warrants to disarm people who haven’t actually been convicted of anything. But as Herman Cain was always so fond of saying, “the devil is in the details.” Just as the gun grabbers reinterpreted the Second Amendment by setting their own definition for the word “arms” – or perhaps it was “people” or “infringed,” or some combination – they seem to be the ones deciding just what, exactly, due process means.