California legislators are considering a bill that would allow Oakland, which was recently ranked as the fourth most dangerous city in America by the FBI, to create gun laws that are stricter than California law.
An Oakland native, Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D), is sponsoring the bill. He said, "It's truly an extraordinary situation with the violence happening right now in Oakland. Oakland had 131 homicides last year and 12 of victims were children. This is the highest level of violence we've experienced in six years."
Currently, California regions have to abide by the same basic gun control laws. These laws generally work fine in rural areas, but legislators feel that they are inadequate in urban areas like Oakland. If passed, the law would allow Oakland legislators to draft bills that would force citizens to renew gun registration every year.
Targeting a single city with custom-tailored laws might seem a bit unorthodox, but it’s nothing new for the Golden State. There is already a law that allows the city of Los Angeles to regulate imitation firearms at a local level rather than relying on state help.
The National Rifle Association unsurprisingly bashed the bill, arguing, “The repeal of state preemption would lead to an unpredictable patchwork of local laws. American citizens have right to travel from one jurisdiction to another in California without the fear of violating locally politically motivated ordinances.”
Technically that is a sound argument, but that’s also an argument against states’ rights, a principle that the NRA generally supports.
Additionally, the city of Alameda can only be accessed by driving through Oakland. Adding strict laws in Oakland could complicate Alameda citizens who want to transport firearms across city lines.
California already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, which naturally leaves gun rights activists worrying about how much more damage legislators can do.
Oakland City Councilwoman Libby Schaaf brushed off their concerns, saying, “This is just having tighter controls on who’s owning and who's selling them and buying them. This law would allow Oakland to actually create that type of procedure and get guns out of the hands of people who should not have them."
What’s your take on the new bill? Are city-specific laws a good idea? Will Oakland officials be able to stop gun violence by placing more restrictions on gun rights?
Source: Huffington Post