By Jon Dougherty
As California’s ruling Democrats became increasingly anti-gun over the past decade, a strange thing was happening: Residents of the Golden State splurged on firearms, sparking a huge increase in firearms ownership, according to newly released data from the Justice Department.
In fact, according to DoJ figures, the number of gun owners has doubled in California over the past 10 years, even as Democratic gun control laws became more and more restrictive, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Unbeknownst to most people living outside the state, California happens to maintain a unique database of known gun owners — a registry, if you will — called the Armed And Prohibited Persons System, or APPS, which “combines data on firearm transactions from two different state sources, the Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) database which tracks all transfers made by gun dealers and the Automated Firearms System (AFS) which includes the subset of guns the state requires to be registered, to compile a list of all individuals who legally purchased or were transferred a firearm in California,” the WFB reported.
In operation since 2006, the objective of the program is to identify and then confiscate guns from anyone who has been prohibited from owning a firearm under state law. Each year, the California Department of Justice sends the state Legislature a report that documents the number of people who have had their guns confiscated using the APPS.
That report also publicizes the number of people who are in the APPS, which is roughly the number of people in California who own guns.
As of this year, the data in the system show that there are some 2.5 million gun owners in California; that compares to fewer than 1 million people in 2008. In all, about 8 percent of California adults are gun owners, compared to just 3.4 percent 10 years ago, or about double even when adjusting for a dramatic increase in population.
It’s more likely than not that the APPS undercounts actual gun owners because it “tracks ownership in large part on the basis of annual sales recorded in the California DROS database—full figures for which are only available dating to the 1990s—and does not necessarily include all private sales,” the WFB reported.
So what? you ask. What’s the point?
This dramatic rise in gun ownership in California could become very disruptive for the Leftists who run the state in the weeks and months ahead as the so-called “gun sanctuary rebellion” spreads across the country and, mostly, into blue states with restrictive gun laws.
The movement has now spread to at least four states, according to a Reuters report. But the interesting part, as it pertains to California especially, is that Second Amendment-supporting sheriffs and city councils in a growing number of jurisdictions are modeling their resistance on the Left’s “sanctuary cities” designations as a means of protecting illegal aliens — a movement that arguably began in California.
And as the state’s number of gun owners rises, the potential for an immigration “sanctuary state” to soon have to face a gun sanctuary rebellion is increasing as well.
A rapidly growing number of counties in at least four states are declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, refusing to enforce gun-control laws that they consider to be infringements on the U.S. constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
Organizers of the pro-gun sanctuaries admit they took the idea from liberals who have created immigration sanctuaries across the United States where local officials defy the Trump administration’s efforts to enforce tougher immigration laws.
Now local conservatives are rebelling against majority Democratic rule in the states. Elected sheriffs and county commissioners say they might allow some people deemed to be threats under “red flag” laws to keep their firearms. In states where the legal age for gun ownership is raised to 21, authorities in some jurisdictions could refuse to confiscate guns from 18- to 20-year-olds.
Resistance to those laws is complicating Democratic efforts to enact gun control in Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and Illinois, even though the party holds the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature in all four states.
“The bill would prohibit any state government agency, personnel or public funds from enforcing any federal gun control regulation or law ‘if the federal statute, order, rule, or regulation or international law imposes a prohibition, restriction, or other regulation, such as a capacity, size, or configuration limitation, that does not exist under the laws of this state,'” the group reported, citing the bill’s language.
Will California be next, especially given that elements within the state are already pushing to secede from it? If so, talk about irony.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10