Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 – 7:36 am

Californians have the nation’s toughest gun control laws, but also own about 40 million pistols, rifles and shotguns.

There wasn’t much said about law-abiding gun owners, however, as two state legislative committees conducted a hearing Tuesday on “gun violence and firearms law in California.”

The hearing ran for more than three hours, but the chairpersons of the two committees, arguably the Legislature’s two most liberal members, loaded the agenda with witnesses who advocated even more gun control laws. They left only a few minutes for a couple of brief statements from two gun rights advocates.

Unfair? Perhaps, but it reflected the dominant Capitol attitude that guns are inherently evil and should be restricted as much as possible – or eliminated altogether, were constitutional gun ownership rights to be altered. The surge of new gun and ammunition control legislation introduced recently testifies to that attitude.

However, whether that sentiment is widespread among Californians is questionable. They already own, on average, more than one gun per resident, they are legally buying more than a million additional firearms each year, and anti-gun ballot measures have not been successful.

Conflicting sentiments and constitutional law aside, would making gun purchases and ownership more difficult and/or more costly also make gun violence less likely?

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