Where were the Republicans during the mass shootings in California? They’re busy appeasing the gun cult

Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to families of victims, local leaders and community members affected by the fatal shooting the day before, at IDES Portuguese Hall in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. (AP Photo / Aaron Kehoe)

Governor Gavin Newsom speaks Tuesday to families of the victims, local leaders and residents of Half Moon Bay, California. (Aaron Kehoe/Associated Press)

Governor Gavin Newsom spoke more eloquently than anyone about the three mass shootings in California that happened in quick sequence, killing at least 24 people.

“What the hell is happening?” the longtime gun control advocate asked on Tuesday in Half Moon Bay, where a 66-year-old farm worker was charged with shooting dead seven co-workers and injuring another because of a grievance.

“Only in America. … The absurdity.

Yes, America is certainly not great on gun deaths, and never will be as long as we are blocked by Republicans on much-needed national gun regulations.

Among the major industrialized countries, the United States has by far the highest firearm homicide rate. No other country is close. This is because other countries strictly restrict access to firearms.

America can’t do this because of the 2nd Amendment, but we could do a much better national job than what we are doing.

Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor who specializes in gun law, grimaces whenever politicians and pundits brag about California’s tough gun restrictions.

“We have to stop saying things like, ‘California has strict gun laws,'” he says. “It’s only compared to Texas and Mississippi. Compared to England, Japan and France, California has one of the loosest gun restrictions in the world. We don’t have incredibly strict gun laws.

I’m not always a fan of Newsom’s rhetoric. It’s often too emotional, terribly wordy and too repetitive. This is especially true when he tries to improve his national stature among Democrats by attacking conservative governors in Texas and Florida. I think he has reason to be angry in his own state about the issues affecting his fellow Californians.

But on those shoots, he got the right tone and length, especially in Half Moon Bay, a small coastal town just south of San Francisco. There he met the families of the victims, local leaders and journalists.

Newsom spoke of his frustration with repeating “the same thing over and over and over” after each mass shooting. And aren’t we all tired of doing that?

“I have no ideological objection to anyone owning a firearm responsibly, but what’s wrong with us that we leave these weapons of war and high capacity magazines in the streets and sidewalks? He asked. “Why have we allowed this culture, this model, to continue? »

Most of us keep asking.

“How far is the Republican Party on gun safety reform?” continued the Democratic governor. “They fought it every step of the way. … Shame on them.”

Where has the GOP been? Appeasing the relatively small cult of gun worshipers and becoming tougher on the right, largely due to the gerrymandering of US House quarters.

Red state legislatures draw district lines to make them safer for Republicans against Democrats. Then the biggest threat to GOP incumbents becomes fellow Republicans.

In a competitive primary, gun enthusiasts are often the deciding voters. And they are single-issue voters — people whose decisions about candidates depend solely on a politician’s stance on guns.

GOP members of Congress fear that if they vote for major gun control, they will be ousted from office by other Republican voters.

By contrast, most American voters — and certainly Californians — support national gun control, such as requiring universal background checks, banning assault weapons, and limiting magazine capacity. 10 round ammunition. But gun control is not high on their priority list.

“It’s not on people’s minds,” said veteran Democratic consultant Bill Carrick. “Inflation. Taxes. Boom. They’re on people’s minds all the time. The gun issue comes and goes as mass shootings come and go.

California has arguably the strictest gun control laws in the country, but they are beginning to be eroded by conservative courts, led by the United States Supreme Court. For example, California’s ban on high-capacity magazines is in litigation limbo.

And even with our remaining strict restrictions, they are at the mercy of adjacent states – Nevada and Arizona – which have lax restrictions. These neighbors are a great source of weapons for Californians who cannot arm themselves locally.

This is why national regulations are needed, such as meaningful background checks and the ban on assault weapons long advocated by California Senator Dianne Feinstein.

“The steady stream of mass shootings has one thing in common: they almost all involve assault weapons,” Feinstein said in a statement as he reintroduced his bill Monday. “That’s because these weapons were designed to kill as many people as possible in the fastest possible time. They have no place in our communities or our schools.

California was well ahead of the curve in assault weapon bans, passing its first in 1989 when Republican George Deukmejian was governor.

Deukmejian was then considered a traditional conservative. Today, he would be considered by his party as a leftist.

Like many people, I suspect, my first reaction to hearing about the shooting that left 11 dead and nine injured at a Monterey Park dance hall frequented by Asian Americans was that the culprit was a young supremacist white. Fake. He was a 72-year-old Asian male.

So there is no common demographic or motive for these mass killers.

“The only common denominator is those fucking guns,” Newsom said.


Dr. Amy Barnhorst, psychiatrist and associate director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis, says of mass shooters, “We can’t solve all of their problems. But we can stop these people from acting by keeping them away from high-capacity weapons.

That won’t happen, however, as long as a few heavily armed gun enthusiasts outmaneuver the rest of us politically. The majority must use its most powerful weapon, the vote.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.