Michael Hiltzik: Gun Laws Work


Michael Hiltzik shows that California’s rigid gun rules have minimized gun deaths, whilst their most important foe is the federal judiciary, primarily Trump-appointed judges.

The most predictable reaction by the gun foyer and its political mouthpieces to phone calls for stricter gun laws in the wake of mass shootings is that difficult rules don’t operate.

You’ve almost certainly listened to all the arguments: That we presently have challenging rules on the books, that the issue is they aren’t enforced. Or that the laws most often proposed would not have stopped the most current perpetrator of the newest gun-related horror, this sort of as Uvalde gunman Salvador Ramos.

None of that is accurate, and California, which has some of the strictest gun legal guidelines in the country, is the proof.

As we’ve documented in advance of, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention display that total firearm fatalities in California, at 8.5 for each 100,000 populace in 2020, conveniently bests the fees in states with lax controls, this kind of as Texas (14.2 for each 100,000) and Louisiana (26.3).

The disparity is specially sharp when it comes to firearm fatalities of individuals beneath 18. California’s amount is about fifty percent that of the countrywide normal, less than 50 % that of Texas, and only about one particular-fourth that of Louisiana. 



It’s legitimate that California has not been immune from the national epidemic of mass shootings. But its legislation have had a measurable, positive affect. “California has not solved the challenge of mass shootings,” suggests Ari Freilich, point out coverage director at the gun basic safety business Giffords. “But California small children are half as probably to be shot.” 

Let’s take a look at the vital features of California’s rules, and how they could have interfered with the most up-to-date key gun-similar outrages — the killings of 19 small children and two adults at Robb Elementary University in Uvalde, Texas, on May well 24, and the killings of 10 persons at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., on May perhaps 14.

California’s firearms rules are among the the most complete in America. Assault weapons, described partially by their producer and partly by their capabilities, have been banned due to the fact 1989. Purchasers of any firearm ought to do so through a registered dealer and submit to a history test ammunition income are also controlled.

Handguns can’t be offered to everyone underneath 21, and with specific exceptions to transfer other firearms to anybody underneath 18. All buys require a waiting around period of time of at least 10 times, or a lot more if specific formalities have not been done, these types of as a firearm basic safety training course and passage of a check. Most are barred from buying far more than one gun a month.

Uvalde, Texas May 26, 2022- Family members walk away after living flowers at a memorial outside Rob Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen students and two teachers died when a gunman opened fire in a classroom Tuesday. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

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Open up carry of loaded firearms is usually prohibited, as is concealed have of a loaded weapon without a license.

California also has a so-called purple flag legislation, or “extreme hazard protection orders,” which enable family members, law enforcement, employers or university personnel to notify authorities to symptoms of threat from a particular person and for a choose to purchase the confiscation of weapons from that individual.

The California constitution has no provision protecting the ideal to bear arms. Point out law preempts all community initiatives.


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