Gov. Jerry Brown, who routinely confounds those tempted to write him off as a stereotypical left-wing intellectual, did so again Wednesday, telling a roomful of cops that he's the proud owner of a small arsenal.
Brown suggested that it's ridiculous for opponents of his plan to transfer thousands of felons from state prisons to county jails to lampoon it as the "get a dog, buy a gun" bill. It's perfectly natural for people to have those items in their homes anyway, he said.
"I've got three guns and one dog," he told the Alliance of California Law Enforcement.
Brown spokeswoman Elizabeth Ashford declined to say Wednesday afternoon what kinds of guns her boss possesses.
"We don't discuss the governor's arsenal in detail," she said.
A news report last year said Brown owned three guns that he used for target practice.
The dog is a small corgi — the breed frequently seen at the feet of the Queen Elizabeth II — and not much of a security asset. Brown referred to him recently as "half a rat."
In 2009, while attorney general, Brown filed a friend-of-the-court brief siding with the National Rifle Assn.'s attempt to overturn a gun ban in Chicago. Brown wrote to the U.S. Supreme Court that he feared "California citizens could be deprived of the constitutional right to possess handguns in their homes."
But during a 1992 presidential debate, he had promoted a moratorium on gun sales.
In the intervening years, he served as mayor of crime-ridden Oakland, where he frequently encountered drug dealers and addicts at night while walking his previous pet, a Labrador retriever named Dharma.
Brown has since abandoned his loft in gritty downtown Oakland for a quiet home in the safety of the city's hills. He also has a loft in Sacramento.
Times staff writer Anthony York contributed to this report.