Gun Laws & Legislation

California City Pay Criminals While State Punishes Legal Gun Owners And Businesses

By Larry Keane, National Shooting Sports Foundation

Sacramento just pledged $1.5 million to combat gun-related gang violence. It was a measure pushed up in the city council’s agenda after a recent deadly gang shooting.

But that’s not $1.5 million for police, the district attorney’s office for criminal prosecution or prisons to keep felons off the streets.

Hold on to your wallets. The city council voted unanimously to pay 50 known gang members suspected of the majority of the crimes, including those committed with firearms, to be paid directly from the city’s general fund.

While California politicians trip over themselves to punish legal gun owners, build obstacles to limit the ability of law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights, and draft laws that punish firearms-related businesses and drive them out of state, they now want to pay known gang members to just not commit crimes.

That’s right. They want to pay criminals with tax dollars to do what law-abiding members of society do every day because they live within the norms and laws of society.

The city council said it is modeling the program with Advance Peace, which designed their intervention program in Richmond, Calif., to stem gang-related violence there. It’s not just the city council and Mayor Darrell Steinberg that thinks this is a good idea, but also Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn.

Not everyone is convinced. Sheriff Scott Jones blasted the idea in statement saying he couldn’t justify tax money, “being paid to people just to NOT commit crimes or shoot people.”

City Councilwoman Angelique Ashby had concerns with the program and the “contract” to which gang members would agree to qualify for free money. She admitted there is no requirement for gang members to work with police or schools, but still voted to spend money on the program.

In fact, the so-called contract hasn’t been finalized.

Close friends of the most recent gun-murder victim think the program is absurd. Allen Brown asked, “How’s the vote going to change anything? It’s up to the community to change. You know what I mean? It’s just senseless.”

They do not engage in law enforcement at all, and I have been told that if they become aware of one of the participants committing crime, they will NOT notify law enforcement.”

Meanwhile, California lawmakers are pushing several bills that won’t do anything to reduce crime, but would place limits on legal businesses and law-abiding citizens. These measures include proposed “Ammunition Vendor Licensing” regulations, SB 497 that limits purchases of rifles and shotguns to just one every 30 days, as California now limits handgun purchases, SB 464 to create government-mandated standards for how firearms retailers must secure firearms when closed for business and allow localities to adopt different ordinances or regulations governing security measures, and AB 1525 that would add to packaging and literature warnings already required needlessly increasing production and distribution costs of manufacturers and operational costs of retailers.

Those are just the pending actions lawmakers are taking against law-abiding gun owners and businesses. That doesn’t include last year’s state legislative actions, which included a bullet-button ban, a ban on possession of 30-round magazines, blocked by a federal judge’s injunction, and of course, the impossible microstamping mandate, which NSSF is continuing to fight in court.

California is dreaming to think punishing law-abiding citizens and business while paying criminals to just not shoot someone provides any answer to reducing crime.

Larry Keane is the National Shooting Sports Foundation Sr. VP & General Counsel.