Dear Mr. Attorney General: Take a Different Path, Please

Dear Mr. Becerra:

Congratulations on your appointment as Attorney General – California’s top law enforcement officer.  As one who has deep roots in politics, you certainly understand the significance of your position.  The law-abiding gun owners of California understand it too and are hopeful that you will walk a different path than your predecessor Kamala Harris.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra, appointed by Governor Brown to fill the vacancy of Kamala Harris, who was recently elected to the US Senate.

Even though your voting record clearly exposes your negative ideology on guns, we are hoping nonetheless that you will treat the issue with an even-handed objectivity.  This is a reasonable request.  It is not irrational to expect someone in your position to conduct business with those whom you agree and disagree with decency and respect.  That said, please don’t:

Release private information.  Make this a priority of your administration; implement safeguards that insure the “accidental” release of private information will NEVER happen again.

The first big “oops” happened in October 2016, when information that included birth dates, drivers’ license numbers and California identification numbers was made public on “3,424 firearms instructors.”  The second big “oops” was that it took over two months after the release was discovered for DOJ to alert the instructors that personal information had been “compromised.” This was an outrageous error.

Don’t issue regulations that will impact millions of individuals at a time when there is little chance the public will be engaged.  If you want zero public comment and a process that screams lack of transparency, then follow the actions of Kamala Harris and make your “go-to” release dates on actual holidays.

Don’t issue “emergency regulations” unless there is a real crisis.  The recent action by Harris to release “emergency regulations” on “high capacity magazines” was absurd, given this provided just 5 (very unreasonable) days for public comment:  the evening of December 23, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, December 26 (which was an actual holiday) and the only full non-holiday was December 27.  What a way to cloud the process and create ill-will amongst lawful gun owners.

Don’t use fancy footwork to circumvent the Administrative Procedures Act.  The claim by Harris that the release of regulations on California “assault weapons” was exempt from the Act was downright underhanded.  In fact, legislation which authorized any exemption from the APA was limited to the registration process because they were already in place.  That’s it.   The Department has the unfortunate reputation of when they are given an inch, they take a dang mile.  Such actions breed mistrust and hostility.

Don’t let the tail wag the dog by letting politics drive initiative Title and Summary.  Harris’ acquiescence to Gavin Newsom and his recently billed “Safety for All” initiative as not only misleading, but a distortion of the actual proposition.  It should have been titled “Ammunition Registration and Limitations on Firearms” because that’s precisely what it did.  GOC could never get away with an initiative titled “They’re Coming for Our Guns!” right?

Now what we would hope you would DO:

Disclose a complete accounting of Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) funds.  For years, DROS monies have been used to fund activities other than registration and background checks.  The DOJ has opposed repeated requests for the State to audit the funds; it is only reasonable that we are assured these monies are utilized for their original, intended purpose.

PLEASE clean up your records.  Reform, refine and maintain well-organized and reliable databases that serve all Californians – whether gun owning or not.  Even though you may not agree with 2nd Amendment and the fact that multiple millions of Californians own firearms, we ask that you respect the rights of the law abiding.

Don’t waste your time and the state’s money by going after people who serve no threat to those of us who live in the Golden State.  Focus your energy on those who are a danger to Californians.  This will not only save resources (financial and otherwise) but it will also provide greater opportunities to follow the mission of your office, which is to safeguard the “public from violent criminals, preserving California’s spectacular natural resources, enforcing civil rights laws, and helping victims of identity theft, mortgage-related fraud, illegal business practices, and other consumer crimes….”

Best regards,

Sam Paredes
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF GUN OWNERS OF CALIFORNIA

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