Not much hubbub over veto of Oakland gun bill

Those who wanted Oakland to be able to pass its own, stricter gun laws seemed unwilling to criticize Gov. Jerry Brown for his veto Monday.

AB 180 would’ve let Oakland establish its own ordinances – stricter than state law – on registration or licensing of firearms.

“The State of California has among the strictest gun laws in the country. Allowing individual cities to enact their own more restrictive firearms regulations will sow confusion and uncertainty,” Brown, who was Oakland’s mayor from 1999 to 2007, wrote in his veto message issued Friday. “I am mindful of the challenges the City of Oakland faces in addressing gun violence, but this is not the right solution.”

Rob BontaThe bill’s author – Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland – seemed to take it in stride.

“I will continue to fight for the people of Oakland to be free from the gun violence which plagues our community,” said Bonta, who as chair of the Select Committee on Gun Violence in the East Bay has held field hearings on the issue. “In his veto message, Governor Brown stated that he was ‘mindful of the challenges the City of Oakland faces in addressing gun violence. I look forward to continuing the conversation with the governor as to how the state can continue to assist Oakland in the future.”

Oakland City Council in May unanimously approved a resolution – introduced by council members Libby Schaaf and Rebecca Kaplan, as well as the city attorney’s office – supporting AB 180.

“Though we’re certainly disappointed that AB 180 was vetoed, it’s important that we recognize and celebrate the victories of our advocacy,” Kaplan spokesman Jason Overman said Monday. “Governor Brown signed an important bill authored by Assemblymember Skinner to create new common-sense gun laws that seek to reduce gun violence, both in Oakland and across California.”

The Skinner bill Overman referred to is AB 48, which makes it a crime to make, import, sell, give, lend, buy or receive any conversion kit that can convert a legal ammunition-feeding device into an illegal large-capacity magazine. The bill also makes it a crime to buy or receive a large-capacity magazine; manufacturing or selling such magazines already has been illegal in California for more than a decade.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Oaktown, try stop and frisk, or does that violate dope sellers’ rights/rites?

  • Elwood

    Oakland cops are so harassed by the courts on one hand and the ambulance chasing John Burris on the other that they mostly just drive around in their cars and don’t get out.

  • Michael Philippi

    Bonta and the rest of the anti-gun nuts are kidding themselves if they believe more restrictions on gun ownership will reduce Oakland’s crime problem. Increase employment, improve educational opportunities, improve access to mental health care, AND start holding those responsible for letting the thugs run rampant responsible for their failures. It has worked in other cities, even those with liberal leaders, just look at Philidelphia.

  • The problem with California Legislators is they refuse to accept that the Supreme Court has decided on the issue and it is time they let it go.

  • JohnW

    All the Supreme Court decided in the Heller case was that the right to bear arms is an individual right (ignoring the entire first part about a well-regulated militia) and that the D.C. ban on handguns in the home for protection was an infringement on that individual right.

    But many other gun cases are working their way up to the Supreme Court. At some point, this court is bound to rule that bans on personal tactical nukes controlled by iPad apps are an affront to liberty.

    The case I’m waiting to see is a challenge to the ban on bringing loaded guns to Supreme Court oral arguments.

  • usspotomac

    The “Right to keep and bear arms” is separate from the militia part. Learn basic English and sentence structure.
    Also, I do not know of ANYONE advocating for “personal actual nukes controlled by iPad apps”.

  • JohnW


    Ouch! Good smack down! Perhaps you could enlighten me as to which rule of grammar (syntax, punctuation, sentence diagramming etc.) renders the right to keep and bear arms part “separate from the militia part.”

    The authors of the Second Amendment could have written simply, “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” Instead, they added the contextual verbiage. They also placed (or misplaced) a comma before “shall not be infringed,” thus making it ambiguous as to exactly which part of the sentence the phrase refers back to.

    To my knowledge, this is the only place in the Constitution, other than the Preamble, where the authors provided a contextual (why) phrase. In Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice Marshall wrote, “It cannot be presumed that any clause in the Constitution is intended to be without effect.”

    As Scalia noted in Heller, the Second Amendment, however interpreted, is not absolute and without limits. I obviously agree with you that, so far at least, nobody has advocated for personal nukes. However, the gun rights community does take the position that the right to keep and bear arms includes any weapon that the police use.

    I happen to agree with that position, under the assumption that the Second Amendment was about establishing and maintaining well regulated state militias, not about owning guns for hunting, target shooting, or personal security. Nothing wrong with those other reasons for owning a gun, but that’s not what Article II was about. “Arms,” in the militia context, refers to weapons of war. A well-regulated militia necessary to the security of a free state would not be limited to pistols and shotguns.

  • Elwood

    “the right to keep and bear arms includes any weapon that the police use.”

    Oh, goody! Now I can have my own tank!

    Never heard that one before.

  • JohnW

    Okay, smart aleck, you got me on that one. I was referring to the guns that police use, not to the assault vehicles that have become increasingly popular in police and sheriff departments. But yes, matching the police guns has often been argued as the “reasonable” line to draw on what the 2nd Amendment protects or doesn’t protect. Some justify that by simply saying that, if it’s reasonable for the cops to have a certain type of gun, it’s reasonable for civilians too. Others have gone further, suggesting that equal fire power might be needed to battle “tyrannical” law enforcement agencies.