Sid Berg: Humboldt Democrats Are Buying Into Gun Control Panic

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I have been a registered Democrat since I was old enough to vote (1966), and in that time I have never missed an opportunity to cast a ballot. I always believed that the Democratic Party represented working class values and upheld common sense social issues. I am also a strong supporter of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which guarantee our freedoms.

In the wake of the psychotic tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, President Obama has called for gun control. His political arm, “Organizing for Action,” has reached out for support. At its last meeting, The Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee introduced a “Resolution In Support Of Ban On Assault Weapons” authored by Southern California Democratic Party Executive Board member, Sanford D. Cook.

Humboldt County is a rural area, and I am disturbed that as “loyal Democrats,” we rubber stamp mandates adopted by leadership from state and national parties without reasonable debate, or any input from rank and file Democrats in our community.

This Resolution passed by an overwhelming vote and as a result, letters will be sent to the President, Vice President and the rest of our legislative representatives stating that Humboldt County Democrats support a gun ban along with other restrictive gun control measures.

With sadness and serious contemplation, I have resigned as a Central Committee member representing the Fifth District. The Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee no longer reflects my values or the values of many law abiding, freedom-loving Democrats I believe still make up the heart of Humboldt County.

As a former labor representative, I persuaded many voters in the past to vote for their jobs and lobby their hobby. “Democrat candidates are not going to take your guns.” AB 174 introduced in the California Legislature would lead to the confiscation of legally acquired registered guns.

The Feinstein Bill and California SB 374 redefine “assault weapons” to include common .22 smallbore rifles used in plinking, target shooting and competition. I feel betrayed, and worse, I am sorry if I have unintentionally misled others. Few if any, lives will be saved, by these ill-conceived proposals.

Please, take the time to check the FBI Homicide Statistics for 2011: 15,953 homicides in the U.S.: 6,220 by handguns, 1,694 by knives or cutting instruments, 726 by hands, feet, 496 by hammers and clubs, 356 by shotguns (VP Biden’s weapon of choice) and 323 by rifles (.02 percent of homicides).

Of the 323 murders by rifle, the FBI does not distinguish between bolt action, lever action, pump, semi-auto or inexpensive .22 caliber rifles which are more likely to be used in crime then an expensive $1,500 AR-15 (the most popular target rifle in America) which is on the proposed ban list.

It is unknown how many of these rifle homicides are attributed to so called “assault weapons” (a term coined by the gun control lobby-Wikipedia). Data from earlier years reflect the same percentages. If the proposed AW ban were to pass and survive court challenges, costing taxpayers millions of dollars, it will open the floodgates to the ban of handguns, which are 19 times more likely to be used in a homicide than rifles.

Criminals ignore the laws. Good people will lose a tool to protect themselves in rural areas where law enforcement can be more than a half hour away. In California, there are approximately 19,700 felons and mentally ill people in possession of approximately 40,000 firearms, in violation of existing law. (CA-DOJ Armed Prohibited Persons Data Base).

How about disarming felons instead of going after law abiding citizens? Our government has been implicated in sending “assault weapons” to drug dealers in Mexico (Operation Fast and Furious.) We are giving warplanes to the Muslim Brotherhood controlled government in Egypt. Banning and or confiscating lawfully owned semi-automatic rifles with objectionable cosmetic features, raises serious questions.

Our country is better served by addressing the economy, mental health, violence in the video gaming and movie industry, and rebuilding our aging infrastructure.

I encourage all registered Democrats to attend the Central Committee meetings held at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday every month at 129 Fifth St., Eureka and shape the party in a way that benefits society without destroying our freedoms.

Sid Berg