Two stories about two politicians—one a Democrat mayor in California, the other a Republican congressman from Ohio—illustrate the philosophical divide that exists when it comes to firearms ownership, a right protected by the U.S. Constitution and specified by most state constitutions.
According to KNTV, the NBC affiliate in California’s Bay area, reported this week that San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo “outlined” his plan to curb violent crime involving firearms, including a controversial requirement that gun sellers “video record every sale.” As noted by the report, this is “something no city has ever tried to do before.”
Liccardo, the Democrat, wants also to require all gun owners to obtain “gun liability insurance and pay a fee to offset the damage done by gun violence.” He also wants to ban so-called “ghost guns” and “assault style weapons.” It is not clear what that means.
More than 2,000 miles away, Ohio Rep. Warren Davidson was appearing at a town hall gathering in Butler County, where he called two gun control bills passed by the U.S. House earlier this year “bad” legislation. Davidson, the Republican, discussed H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446, asserting, “The bills make criminals out of law-abiding Americans and force all gun owners to go through government-licensed agents just to borrow a hunting rifle.”
The congressman told his audience, “If you own a gun, I believe you should be able to sell your own car, you should be able to sell your own lawnmower, you should be able to sell a gun and you shouldn’t necessarily have to go through to some third party to do that. That’s one of the key things, whether it’s your own firearms or your own money, the government a lot of times wants to get between you and the person you want to do anything with.”
Davidson’s approach suggests he trusts his constituents. Liccardo’s proposals suggest he doesn’t.
According to KNTV, Liccardo seems to hold gun owners, and the Second Amendment, responsible for gun-related crime in his jurisdiction.
“The Second Amendment protects Americans’ rights to own guns,” he reportedly stated, “but it does not require that every other taxpayer pay for that right.”
In a March statement released after the House passed both gun control measures—which Davidson, a former Army Ranger, opposed—the congressman said, “These bills place further legal burdens on law abiding citizens while failing to address the ways in which criminals actually obtain illegal firearms through theft and the use of ‘straw buyers.’”
Translation: While Davidson wants to penalize criminals and hold them responsible, Liccardo’s proposals would penalize law-abiding citizens.
The California-based Firearms Policy Coalition has already declared they are putting “Government officials on notice: if you ban constitutionally protected firearms or conduct, we are coming for you.” The group contends each one of Liccardo’s proposals is unconstitutional, and indicated they will challenge the agenda in court.