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The year 2017 will be one of the most strenuous, painstaking, and stringent times for California’s gun owners. Governor Brown’s nefarious gun legislation will immediately be taking effect, and for those of you who own guns — and more precisely, AR-15s — the year is not progressing in your favor. The AR-15, perhaps the most popular semi-automatic rifle in America, is now actively being attacked and condemned by our state government in an effort to erode Second Amendment rights. However, despite constant scrutiny, AR-15s are reliable home defense weapons because of their adaptive nature and versatility. They are semi-automatic weapons that can be customized with adjustable stocks, barrels of different lengths and many attachments, such as scopes and suppressors. Both gun owners and gun proponents (like myself) avidly protested on social media and contacted our representatives to express our discontent.

Of course, these cries fell on deaf ears, since the California state legislature is dominated by the Democratic Party, and throughout my lifetime I have always heard them declare guns to be dangerous, evil and the proponents of harm in society. This is a misguided way to view guns.

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Many refute my logic by stating that there exist certain types of weapons that the populace does not need to own, most notably the AR-15. However, the Constitution’s definition of the Second Amendment hasn’t wavered in stating that “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

It is quite evident that the Second Amendment does not allow for dictatorial government policies regarding what types of weapons the populace can own. Governor Brown’s gun legislation in regards to arms, especially AR-15s, is extremely misguided, politicized, demonizing and most importantly, his actions are completely unconstitutional and should be overturned by the Supreme Court.

The new rules, of course, were numerous, restrictive and to put it quite plainly, flat out confusing. As a disclaimer, I am only addressing the gun legislation that pertains to AR-15s and other semiautomatic rifles, and will not be addressing the gun legislation that appeared as a proposition on November’s ballots.

Originally, the Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 classified an assault weapon as a “semiautomatic centerfire rifle with a removable magazine plus any of the following evil features: pistol grip, forward pistol grip, adjustable stock, and a flash suppressor.” Now, to avoid having to register their weapons as assault rifles (which is illegal in itself because of the FOPA act, which prohibits any form of government registry of non-NFA firearms), Californians could take advantage of a device called a bullet button, which simply required the use of an elongated tool or an empty shell casing to depress the magazine catch, which would release your magazine. Because of this ingenuity, the rifle no longer had a “removable magazine,” and thus didn’t need to be registered.

As of July 1, 2016 however, Governor Brown’s bills (SB 880 and AB 1135) redefine a fixed magazine as something that “cannot be removed without disassembly of the firearm action.” Since a bullet button does not require the rifle to be ripped apart, it is now a useless accessory that serves no remedial purpose. Now, in accordance with the new laws, “you may not purchase a rifle after January 1, 2017 that has any of the [aforementioned] evil features and a removeable magazine.” Furthermore, you must register your “assault weapons” (which now include AR-15s and other semiautomatic rifles with bullet buttons) before January 1, 2018, and if you do not comply you have committed a felony.
Once you register your “assault weapon,” your rights are dissolved, and you are subject to strict measures. When the owner of an “assault rifle” dies, they cannot pass it on to their children. Once you take the weapon out of state, you can no longer bring it back into California, and you can never sell your “assault rifle” to another person. Despite the Second Amendment to the Constitution and FOPA, California has decided to forge its own path in the realm of gun legislation, and has accordingly defied past precedents.

I would implore every gun owner to tread lightly, for the Constitution is the inseparable boundary between individual liberty and tyranny. Since California has chosen the side of tyranny, gun owners must be vigilant and must continue petitioning the federal government to dismantle and destroy oppressive legislation passed by the states. The future does not look good for California gun owners, but I hope that we, as Constitutional Conservatives, can fight back against the tidal wave of oppression and tyranny.

Jonathan Ellett is a first-year political science and economics major. He can be reached at jellett@uci.edu

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