While anti-gun politicians from Joe Biden down to Sacramento Mayor Darrel Steinberg have exploited the mass shooting early Sunday that took six lives and left a dozen other people wounded, the investigation of the Sacramento mayhem has taken some interesting twists.
Police arrested 26-year-old Dandrae Martin on Monday as a “related suspect,” and he is facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon and illegal firearm possession.
Then, early Tuesday, Sacramento police detectives arrested Dandrae’s 27-year-old brother, Smiley, who had been wounded in the shooting and transported to a local hospital. Smiley “will be booked at the Sacramento County Main Jail for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a machine gun,” a police news release said.
The Sacramento Bee reported that Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, described as “an outspoken proponent for stricter gun control measures,” remarked prior to a Sunday night game with the Kings, “At some point, our government has to decide: Are we going to have some commonsense gun laws? It’s not going to solve everything, but it will save lives.”
Kerr went even farther, according to the Bee.
“… So at some point,” he was quoted, “I would hope that we would actually think about our fellow citizens and do something about it, instead of play politics. Because that’s all we do. We have more regulations for driving a car than we do for carrying a weapon. It’s no problem to just go and buy and semiautomatic rifle and, yet, you want to drive a car, what do you have to do? You have to apply for it, you have to get a license, you have to go through training. It’s just the same stuff, over and over and over again.”
Owning a firearm is a constitutionally-protected right, while driving an automobile is a privilege. In California, in order to legally carry a handgun for personal protection, one must obtain a permit, and the state is one of a handful in which police agencies have discretion regarding the issuance of carry permits.
Also in California, one does not simply “just go out and buy a semiautomatic rifle.” There is a required background check, and such rifles are strictly regulated.
The alleged “machine gun” for which Smiley Martin may face charges is not something anyone can just “go out and buy.”
The Bee also noted that after Steinberg made remarks about “ghost guns” and so-called “assault weapons,” Police Chief Kathy Lester walked it back, explaining investigators haven’t confirmed whether the deadly shooting involved either type of weapon. Police recovered one stolen handgun at the crime scene, and according to a Tuesday update, that handgun “has now been inspected and found to have been converted to a weapon capable of automatic gunfire.” If so, that could be a violation of federal law.
A second handgun has been found during a search of three residences, the police reported.
According to The Sun, Dandrae Martin was arrested on the charges noted earlier, but neither he nor Smiley have been charged with homicide.
“As you know,” Chief Lester stated, according to The Sun, “this is a complex investigation and we’re looking for multiple suspects and so we’re currently working to identify what his (Dandrae’s) role was the night of the shooting.”