Just because the law allows these creeps to keep and bear arms, does that make them "law-abiding?" You might think so by listening to the gun lobby.
But crime records don't seem to matter to the NRA. It's fighting expanded background checks that might turn up red flags on gun buyers. Criminals would avoid background checking, LaPierre asserts, and law-abiders would be inconvenienced.
"The evidence is that these people [with criminal records] are a much greater risk for committing a future crime than the truly law-abiding gun owners," Wintemute says.
"The question for us and the rest of the nation is, are we OK with that?"
Clearly we're allowing too many people to buy and possess guns — characters who, by almost any logical criteria, should not be armed.
"I grew up around guns," Wintemute says. "I was a member of the Rifle and Pistol Club at UC Davis. I'm not anti-gun. I'm anti-what guns can do....
"Nobody thinks that any one policy is going to take care of the entire problem. But, for most people, denying a gun purchase works."
The two most important steps Wintemute would take, he says, would be to prohibit alcohol abusers from owning guns and to confiscate the roughly 39,000 weapons currently possessed by about 20,000 Californians legally barred from holding them.
"It's a huge gap in our current regulation," Wintemute says of the liquor laxity. "There is solid evidence — it's not a matter of dispute — that alcohol abuse is a risk factor for committing violence."
One bill proposed in the Legislature last week would prohibit gun ownership for anyone convicted twice of driving under the influence.
Another measure, coauthored by Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and budget Chairman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) would appropriate the $20-million-plus needed to seize the illegally held weapons.
There was a heavy volley of gun control proposals — some good, some goofy.
The good: Ban possession — not just the sale — of ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds. That probably would necessitate an expensive government buy-back.
Also introduced: A requirement that all new semiautomatic rifles come with fixed magazines. No detachables.
The goofy: Requiring all gun owners to buy liability insurance. A boon for insurers and a ludicrous burden for someone who hasn't shot grandpa's old shotgun in 40 years.
But really goofy: The idea that an angry, deeply disturbed fired cop was deemed fit to own guns.