Law enforcement, gun owners react to new firearm restrictions

Mar 17, 2016 2:56 PM by News Staff

California Sheriffs are speaking out against a proposed gun control measure.

A new ballot initiative would further restrict registered gun owners in California. It deals with banning high-capacity firearms and registering ammunition sales, and California sheriffs are speaking out against it.

"Most registered gun owners are very responsible people. Most crimes that are happening are happening with unregistered firearms,” said Chance Wentworth, a registered gun owner in Butte County.

Wentworth’s opinion echoes that of butte county sheriff Kory Honea, who says the new initiative seems unnecessary. Honae was one of the majority of California Sheriff’s to publicly oppose the legislation.

But local gun owners say they understand the goals behind it.

“I think there's two sides to the coin,” said Juan Ruiz, also a gun owner. “Both sides show strong points. I think it should be put to a vote and let the people decide what they want.”

I think it's really important for people to have a voice in this,” Wentworth said. “Especially people up here in the north state respond differently than people so down in Southern California so it's really nice that we can make decisions for ourselves."

Honea said the sheriff’s deputies have a duty to uphold the second amendment. He said in an interview that while gun regulation is important, the focus should be in taking guns from criminals, and identifying those who may use firearms for violent crime.

Some local residents agreed.

“I think if you're already registered to own a firearm there shouldn't be any further regulations beyond that. Purchasing ammo shouldn't have to be an issue," Wentworth said. “A lot of people will be angry about these restrictions on guns"

Another concern of the deputies is that the measure will create a new class of criminals, punishing law-abiding gun owners.

Many of the guns types that fall into the proposal's description would be historical or family heirlooms. The Sheriff’s Association said the law wouldn't do anything to prevent criminals from getting ahold of guns and ammo by means of theft or the black market.

The Sheriffs' Association also said that any new gun control laws focus on reducing gun violence and work to punish those responsible for that violence.

The proposal needs 366,000 signatures to qualify for the November ballot.


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