Shootings No Excuse for Gun Control

Commentary Whenever a mass shooting occurs, the gun controllers trot out all their usual arguments to attack the Second Amendment “right of the people to keep and bear arms.” A good example is George Skelton’s recent column, “California has the toughest gun laws in the U.S. That’s irrelevant if they’re not enforced.” He writes, “How much money are we willing to spend to seize guns from the likes of the disturbed father who shot and killed his three daughters in a church? “And are Sacramento Democrats now willing to retool California’s controversial sanctuary law after it probably protected the father living here illegally from federal immigration agents days before he killed his kids?” We should always remember guns are used not just to commit horrible crimes, but to prevent them. According to the 2021 National Firearms Study conducted by Georgetown University, “[G]uns are used defensively by civilian firearms owners in approximately 1.67 million incidents per year. Handguns are the most common firearm employed for self-defense (used in 65.9% of defensive incidents), and in most defensive incidents (81.9%), no shot was fired.” That’s on top of criminals shying away from mayhem because they don’t know if a homeowner is armed, or if a woman on the sidewalk has a pistol in her purse. Inaccuracies In the horrible shooting Skelton writes about, killer David Mora indeed was here illegally. But the solution is not, as Skelton says, to “retool California’s controversial sanctuary law,” but to repeal it entirely. Because they were born here, Mora’s children were American citizens. But Mora himself was not here legally and should have been deported long ago, keeping him away from them. Skelton writes, “On Feb. 28, Mora and his daughters were visiting in a Sacramento church when he opened fire with a ghost AR-15-style assault rifle. It was equipped with an illegal high-capacity 30-round magazine. In all, 17 shots were fired, killing the girls, ages 9, 11 and 13, and the chaperone, a mutual friend of Mora and Rios.” The mother, who was not there, is Ileana Gutierrez Rios. There’s so much here that’s inaccurate. First, has Skelton ever fired a semi-automatic weapon, such as an AR-15 or something similar? In this incident, it’s irrelevant that the magazine held 30 rounds. It takes a fraction of a second to pop out one 10-round magazine and pop in another. Second, given that Mora was already breaking the law by being here illegally, why would he care about having an illegal magazine, which he easily could get legally in Arizona, or on the black market? Third, Skelton brought up the bugaboo about so-called “ghost guns.” He quoted Attorney General Rob Bonta, who said, “Ghost guns are a new challenge we need to rise to.” President Biden also attacked them in his March 1 State of the Union address, “And I will keep doing everything in my power to crack down on gun trafficking and ghost guns you can buy online and make at home—they have no serial numbers and can’t be traced.” But it’s an impossible task because the ghost guns can be made on 3D printers, which get better every day from technological advances, much as do cell phones and computers. Fourth, Skelton writes, “Five days before the Sacramento shooting, Mora was arrested near Los Banos on suspicion of drunk driving and assaulting a California Highway Patrol officer. He also was booked for attacking a hospital emergency room technician.” Aside from his status as an illegal alien, why was he released after just one night in jail? Drunk driving often means one night in jail, at least for a first offense, but attacking an officer and a hospital technician multiplies the seriousness of the offenses. Fifth, Skelton wants more money spent on “‘red flag’ programs aimed at people judged by a court to be potential killers. Their weapons are confiscated immediately. ‘Red flags are underutilized,’ Bonta says.” There is no trial before the confiscation. But just last year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously, 9-0, against red flag laws in Caniglia v. Strom et al. It held, “The very core of the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee is the right of a person to retreat into his or her home and ‘there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.’ Florida v. Jardines, 569 U. S. 1, 6.” Sixth, Skelton writes, “Mora was subject to a domestic violence restraining order that forbade him from going near his former girlfriend, Ileana Gutierrez Rios, the girls’ mother. In seeking the order last May, she warned a Sacramento court that he was dangerous and had threatened her and to kill himself.” That brings up the terrible state of “family law” in California. I’ve gone to “family court” with friends of mine, and it’s just a long torture session for all involved, especially the children. The Lamoreaux Justice Center in Orange, which handles family law, juvenile and domestic violence cases for Orange County, is built like a prison. The security—understandably—is even more strict

Shootings No Excuse for Gun Control

Commentary

Whenever a mass shooting occurs, the gun controllers trot out all their usual arguments to attack the Second Amendment “right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

A good example is George Skelton’s recent column, “California has the toughest gun laws in the U.S. That’s irrelevant if they’re not enforced.” He writes, “How much money are we willing to spend to seize guns from the likes of the disturbed father who shot and killed his three daughters in a church?

“And are Sacramento Democrats now willing to retool California’s controversial sanctuary law after it probably protected the father living here illegally from federal immigration agents days before he killed his kids?”

We should always remember guns are used not just to commit horrible crimes, but to prevent them. According to the 2021 National Firearms Study conducted by Georgetown University, “[G]uns are used defensively by civilian firearms owners in approximately 1.67 million incidents per year. Handguns are the most common firearm employed for self-defense (used in 65.9% of defensive incidents), and in most defensive incidents (81.9%), no shot was fired.”

That’s on top of criminals shying away from mayhem because they don’t know if a homeowner is armed, or if a woman on the sidewalk has a pistol in her purse.

Inaccuracies

In the horrible shooting Skelton writes about, killer David Mora indeed was here illegally. But the solution is not, as Skelton says, to “retool California’s controversial sanctuary law,” but to repeal it entirely. Because they were born here, Mora’s children were American citizens. But Mora himself was not here legally and should have been deported long ago, keeping him away from them.

Skelton writes, “On Feb. 28, Mora and his daughters were visiting in a Sacramento church when he opened fire with a ghost AR-15-style assault rifle. It was equipped with an illegal high-capacity 30-round magazine. In all, 17 shots were fired, killing the girls, ages 9, 11 and 13, and the chaperone, a mutual friend of Mora and Rios.” The mother, who was not there, is Ileana Gutierrez Rios.

There’s so much here that’s inaccurate.

First, has Skelton ever fired a semi-automatic weapon, such as an AR-15 or something similar? In this incident, it’s irrelevant that the magazine held 30 rounds. It takes a fraction of a second to pop out one 10-round magazine and pop in another.

Second, given that Mora was already breaking the law by being here illegally, why would he care about having an illegal magazine, which he easily could get legally in Arizona, or on the black market?

Third, Skelton brought up the bugaboo about so-called “ghost guns.” He quoted Attorney General Rob Bonta, who said, “Ghost guns are a new challenge we need to rise to.” President Biden also attacked them in his March 1 State of the Union address, “And I will keep doing everything in my power to crack down on gun trafficking and ghost guns you can buy online and make at home—they have no serial numbers and can’t be traced.”

But it’s an impossible task because the ghost guns can be made on 3D printers, which get better every day from technological advances, much as do cell phones and computers.

Fourth, Skelton writes, “Five days before the Sacramento shooting, Mora was arrested near Los Banos on suspicion of drunk driving and assaulting a California Highway Patrol officer. He also was booked for attacking a hospital emergency room technician.”

Aside from his status as an illegal alien, why was he released after just one night in jail? Drunk driving often means one night in jail, at least for a first offense, but attacking an officer and a hospital technician multiplies the seriousness of the offenses.

Fifth, Skelton wants more money spent on “‘red flag’ programs aimed at people judged by a court to be potential killers. Their weapons are confiscated immediately. ‘Red flags are underutilized,’ Bonta says.” There is no trial before the confiscation.

But just last year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously, 9-0, against red flag laws in Caniglia v. Strom et al. It held, “The very core of the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee is the right of a person to retreat into his or her home and ‘there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.’ Florida v. Jardines, 569 U. S. 1, 6.”

Sixth, Skelton writes, “Mora was subject to a domestic violence restraining order that forbade him from going near his former girlfriend, Ileana Gutierrez Rios, the girls’ mother. In seeking the order last May, she warned a Sacramento court that he was dangerous and had threatened her and to kill himself.”

That brings up the terrible state of “family law” in California. I’ve gone to “family court” with friends of mine, and it’s just a long torture session for all involved, especially the children. The Lamoreaux Justice Center in Orange, which handles family law, juvenile and domestic violence cases for Orange County, is built like a prison. The security—understandably—is even more strict than in the other courts.

I don’t know what the solution is. But before the government took over family life beginning in the 1960s, so many family problems were resolved instead by elder family members, clergy, and friends, as had been done since time immemorial.

It also might be useful if the government stopped discouraging people from getting married, as tax and welfare laws do.

Conclusion

Skelton writes, “California has the toughest state gun laws in the nation. But that’s irrelevant if they’re not adequately enforced—and they’re not.” He quotes Bonta saying, “We need to enforce more of the laws that we have. The rise in violent crime throughout the country is almost entirely because of guns.”

He is wrong. Until the uptick in the past two years after the George Floyd riots, crime had declined for almost three decades since the early 1990s. That’s precisely the same time as gun laws had been relaxed, especially in most states allowing concealed-carry weapons, and gun ownership had increased to more than 400 million in the country.

And it’s hard to see how any of Skelton’s or Bonta’s policy changes would have helped prevent the horrible shooting by Mora. The one thing that would have helped—totally ending California’s absurd sanctuary policy, not just “retooling” it—they do not endorse.

Worse, with Biden opening the borders to 2 million more illegal aliens the past year, not even vetting them to keep out criminals, guns, and drugs, we can expect even more horrors to come.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. He has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com