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Democrats, political favors & guns- Fabio Nunez leads the way in Sacramento

It hasn’t taken former assemblyman Fabio Nunez much time to embroil himself in another controversial piece of legislation. First, the assemblyman used his close personnel relationship with Governor Schwarzenegger to get his son pardoned from murdering a fellow college student, and now the disgraced state lawmaker has taken on the airgun/Airsoft and BB gun industry.

When it comes to the firearm industry, State Senator Kevin deLeón (D-22nd) can always find new ways to insult voters and this time he has allowed former Republican Assemblyman-turned lobbyist, Nunez, to add an amendment to SB798 excluding his clients in the paintball industry and saving them millions of dollars.

Nunez’ new employer, Mercury Public Affairs, a lobbying firm, has amended SB 798 exempting his client’s paintball guns from the proposed state coloration requirement. Meanwhile, those who are unable to curry political favor in Sacramento are stuck with the tab, one that will put some manufacturers out of business.

The latest controversial legislation, SB 798, takes aim at the wildly popular BB guns, airguns and Airsoft gun industry. The bill is sponsored by California State Senator deLeón, the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa,

a long-time political ally of Nunez and de León.

SB 798 was proposed in response to the December 18, 2010 shooting of a Los Angeles 13-year-old boy by a LAPD Officer who thought the child was carrying a firearm. However, the child’s weapon turned out to be a pellet gun.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told The Los Angeles Times after the shooting; “We have seen far too much heartbreak involving these types of realistic-looking guns that are labeled as toys.”

Nevertheless, this unfortunate accident sparked another controversial idea from the LAPD- making airguns, Airsoft guns, BB devices and other toy guns conform to a new regulation. SB 798 addresses this issue by requiring BB guns to be brightly colored, adhering to the same laws and regulations used for imitation firearms. The new regulation would force manufacturers to retool their plants and paint the exterior of the airguns/Airsoft device white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue or bright pink.

“SB 798 will help keep our communities safe,” said de León the bill’s sponsor. “This (bill has) brought us one step closer to preventing tragic accidents, especially the shooting of minors and young adults, by law enforcement officers.”

While there is no proof that painting Airsoft/airguns or BB guns would result in fewer accidents, its consequences punish manufacturers who are on record stating this legislation will cost them millions of dollars.

These critics argue that “SB 798 would result in a huge, unjustifiable loss of income for private businesses, a loss of jobs and a loss of tax revenue for the state. For the Airsoft industry alone, this would amount to approximately $175 million in lost business revenue and close to 300 direct jobs in California. California’s economy would further suffer from the loss of related business revenue in office supplies, transportation services, food services, printing services, and other economic venues.”

In addition to the loss revenue, California taxpayers will certainly have to cover the court costs associated with this bill. Airgun/Airsoft manufacturers said they will go to court if necessary in order to preserve their business rights’. Furthermore, federal law preempts state law in this subject area thus placing SB798 on a collision course with federal statutes.

Earlier this year overzealous California lawmakers tried to regulate the sales of gun ammunition with AB 962 only to lose in Fresno Superior Court. Judge Jeffery Hamilton ruled the heavy-handed regulation of ammunition sales was deemed unconstitutional.

Yet, Senator de León continues to waste tax-payers monry and resources in the pursuit of new laws that will not hold up under the scrutiny of the courts.

Even though the new legislation targets BB guns, imitation firearms, Airsoft, airguns and other pellet guns, the firearm industry as a whole is strongly opposed to the proposed changes. California Association of Firearm Retailers, BB gun manufactuers, retailers, law enforcement and consumers and Soft Air USA and Airgun Information International have all come out in opposition to the draconian legislation that will not prevent future accidental shootings by the LAPD.

While SB 798 is currently being promoted as a public safety bill, there have been no studies that say changing the color of a toy gun prevents accidents. In fact, a 1990 study finds, “Toy guns, Involvement in Crime and Encounters with the Police’ conducted by the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, found that the coloration of toy guns does not result in a decrease in the shooting of children possessing toy guns by law enforcement officers.”

Some highlights of the study included law enforcement officers are taught to assume that all objects that look like a firearm are real weapons. In every case where officers used deadly force in a toy gun confrontation, the ‘triggering element’ in the officer’s decision to shoot was the action of the person. Without exception, all officers interviewed during the study said that officers must be taught to assume that all weapons they encounter are real. It was continually emphasized that training officers to try to distinguish between real and toy guns during an encounter would be an officer safety factor and an increased potential threat to the public. Officers are trained that anyone can pose a threat with a gun regardless of age or sex. Thus, officers are told that even when encountering a youth with a gun, it should be treated as a life-threatening circumstance.”

On the other hand, manufacturers claim that the criminal will try to outsmart police and refinish their guns to look like the airgun/Airsoft devices; this may cause an officer to hesitate and give the criminal a deadly edge.

Internationally recognized airgun expert, Dr. Robert D. Beeman Ph.D. concurred and said, “As an independent airgun expert, I oppose Senate Bill 798 because it would create a false and dangerous sense of security concerning airguns capable of serious human injury and death… It would increase accidents and incidents of serious injury and death among both the general public and police officers.” He continued to explain that, “This is primarily a behavior problem, not a product problem. Proper behavior virtually eliminates the danger attributed to such products. In any case, traditional airguns firing metallic projectiles should be exempted from SB 798 for safety reasons.”

In the end, California lawmakers have come up with another bill that over-regulates the BB device and airgun industry and encourages manufacturers to leave the embattled state, robbing residents of precious jobs and much-needed tax revenue.

Perhaps if Assemblyman Nunez’s son would have used a pink weapon his victim may have had enough time to run away from his killers?

SB 798 bill will be heard on June 21 in the Assembly Public Safety Committee the same day that an airsoft retailers “Airsoft Megastore” CEO Mike Zhang was selected as a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the year award. It’s ironic this award could occur in Beverly Hills the same day the committee votes to send another industry out of the state.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Democrats, political favors & guns- Fabio Nunez leads the way in Sacramento – San Diego County Political Buzz |

Texas snatches 1,000 high-paying eBay jobs from California

On a recent trip to Los Angeles, Texas governor, Rick Perry, met with wealthy business types to boost the number of companies doing business in the Lone Star State. The trip paid off as eBay, formerly run by Meg Whitman, agreed to tax incentives in exchange for relocating to Texas.

The average salary for these “green economy” jobs is $122,500 and they would have made California’s progressive peddlers very happy. Austin City Council members referred to the coup as “green software programming jobs” that will provide sustained economic growth in the state.

The Internet giant eBay says they will employ approximately 1,000 new workers at their new location.

“This is precisely the kind of company we would like to see expand in Austin. This project will include great jobs for Central Texans,” Mayor Lee Leffingwell said.

Gov. Rick Perry’s office claimed the eBay move would bring an estimated $5.1 million in capital investment to the state.

“Austin’s high-tech economy and skilled workforce are perfect for eBay, and I’m pleased to welcome this expansion and the more than 1,000 quality jobs it will bring to Texas,” he said.

By moving to Texas eBay will not only save money they will avoid those pesky regulations that plague California’s business sector.

“Austin is a vibrant, exciting city with a strong heritage for technology expertise and lots of growth potential,” says eBay Vice President Mark Carges. “Our state-of-the-art facility there has room for expansion and the support we have received from the state of Texas and the city of Austin reinforces our commitment to attracting top talent in regions where we operate.”

Currently Texas offers one of the country’s best tax environments for corporations. The state tax burden in Texas is 8.40 percent and in California it’s 10.50 percent. Texas also offers healthy double-digit personnel income growth 67.6 percent versus 56.6 percent in California.

With no personal state income taxes in Texas, eBay should be able to recruit California’s best and brightest minds to relocate in a state looking to expand commerce and provide lucrative jobs for young families.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Texas snatches 1,000 high-paying eBay jobs from California – San Diego County Political Buzz |

Police Department contest to seize guns results in lawsuit after arrest

The Southern California city of San Fernando and its Police Department will pay $44,000 for negligence because an officer did not know the rules and regulations for individuals or law enforcement officers to lawfully carrying a firearm.

The City of San Fernando agreed to pay approximately $44,000 to San Fernando former Coast Guard Reserve maritime law enforcement Officer Jose Diaz. The city must also implement new policies and procedures for the improper arrest and seizure of Coast Guard Reserve Diaz, according to the San Fernando Police Department. The police department also agreed to a “Finding of Factual Innocence.”

Diaz contends that a police department contest was a driving factor in this case.

“The San Fernando Police Department give’s out awards to officer’s that ‘achieve benchmarks in firearm confiscations,(YouTube video)” said Jason Davis an attorney for Calguns. “But this contest encourages the illegal confiscation of lawfully possessed firearms by officers who do not understand the laws themselves.”

While the settlement may seem small, Calguns, a state and national gun rights advocacy group, says the lawsuit was sought to ensure San Fernando properly trains its officers to deal with law-abiding gun owners.

In November of 2007, then Reserve Coast Guard maritime law enforcement Officer Diaz was driving to a shooting range when he was stopped by San Fernando Police Officer Marshall Mack to determine if Diaz had the proper vehicle registration, according to a statement released by Davis.

“Upon approaching Diaz’s vehicle, Officer Mack observed a firearms case in the back seat with a firearm cable lock entangled around the handle of the case. Officer Mack was able to open the case without a key,” says Davis. “The case contained two loaded magazines and a Glock with no magazine in the well of the firearm and no cartridge in the chamber.”

The plaintiffs claimed the cable lock that entangled around the gun was a “lock container” however Officer Mack disagreed. The police officer also took issue with the fact that a Coast Guard reserve maritime law enforcement officer was permitted to carry pursuant to the Federal Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act, which allows police officers to carry firearms off duty.

”I showed Officer Mack my Coast Guard ID and informed the officer that the LEOSA permitted me to carry a firearm as a Coast Guard maritime law enforcement reserve officer,” said Diaz. “I also informed Officer Mack that I was carrying the firearm lawfully – unloaded and in a locked container.”

Unbeknownst to Coast Guard Reserve Diaz, Police Officer Mack falsely subscribed to the fact that California law required firearms be stored separate from the ammunition. Mack arrested Diaz for unlawful possession of a loaded firearm because a loaded magazine was touching the firearm within the case. The police officer hauled Diaz to jail where he was booked and spent one day and night in jail.

The unlawful arrest and gun charges were later dismissed.

Diaz’s subsequent civil lawsuit for battery, false arrest, and federal civil rights violations languished until Calguns got involved.

“While we cannot financially support every firearms case, we have a stake in many of them,” said Gene Hoffman, Chairman for The Calguns Foundation. “We recommended that Diaz use an attorney knowledgeable in firearm laws and offered informational support.”

Diaz retained his Calguns attorney Davis who orchestrated a settlement with the San Fernando Police Department. The terms of the settlement include educational policies on assault weapons; carry permits, open carry and LEOSA rules.

“Public safety is of the utmost importance… and that includes safety from infringement of our constitutional rights under the color of law,” said Davis. “With this settlement, and the policies implemented as a result of the agreement, it is my hope that law enforcement throughout the state will get the message that California’s gun owners insist on their rights.”

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Police Department contest to seize guns results in lawsuit after arrest – San Diego County Political Buzz |

California Democrats seek approval from voters to grant amnesty

While the DREAM Act failed on a national stage, California State Democrats would like to skirt federal law and provide a pathway to citizenship for those who are illegally residing in the Golden State.

State Assembly Bill 78, written by Tony Mendoza (D-Arcadia) seeks to put an advisory measure on the state ballot asking California voters if they think the United States is responsible to grant amnesty to longtime illegal aliens currently living unlawfully inside America.

The Democrat’s proposed “pathway to citizenship bill” would give illegal aliens who have worked in the U.S. for five years, have no felony convictions, speak English and are current with all their taxes a chance to legalize their status.

The bill’s author, Mendoza claims the illegal immigration debate is front-page news across the country and says the nation’s “broken immigration system” requires an overhaul that “rewards work, reunites families, restores the rule of law, reinforces immigrant workers and redeems the ‘American Dream.'”

The Southern California Democrat hopes the measure will qualify for California’s statewide primary election in June 2012.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

The nation’s toughest child predator legislation signed into law in California

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law one of the nation’s toughest child predator legislation aptly named after teenager Chelsea King who captured the country’s attention when her life was cut short by a repeat child predator.

“My single greatest priority as governor is to protect the safety and well being of all Californians,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “When a terrible tragedy like what happened to Chelsea King and Amber Dubois occurs, we have to review the laws in place and see where improvements or changes can be made to make our state safer and make it tougher on the predators who want to create victims out of innocent Californians. I am proud to sign these bills today that will do just that.”

The ceremonial bill signing got off to a rainy start at San Diego’s Balboa Park; Gov. Schwarzenegger was joined by Chelsea’s parents, Brent and Kelly King, and the bill’s author, State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (R-San Diego), San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, Assembly Speaker John Perez, (D-Los Angeles), and Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, (R-Murrieta). Amber Dubois’ mother was also in attendance showing her support for the newly-minted sexual predator law.

Assembly Bill 1844, also known as Chelsea’s Law, requires a life sentence without the possibility of parole for forcible sex acts against children. It will also strengthen sex offense parole guidelines and entail lifelong GPS tracking for some sex offenders. The law will set tough parole guidelines for officers to follow in an effort to prevent another tragedy.

The Chelsea law legislation was approved unanimously by the state Senate and Assembly in record time. All the lawmakers in attendance spoke repeatedly about the bipartisanship of this bill and expressed hope they could work together on other issues because of Chelsea’s law.

King was murdered and raped near her home in Poway at Ranchero Bernardo Park, where she often went for an afternoon jog, on Feb. 25. Her killer was registered sex offender John Albert Gardner, who buried the 17-year-old in a shallow grave along the shore of Lake Hodges inside the park.

Two time murderer, Gardner brokered a plea deal and was sentenced to two life terms without the possibility of parole for killing and sexually assaulting King and also for abducting, raping and stabbing 14-year-old Amber Dubois of Escondido the previous year.

“Because of Chelsea, everyone has joined together to solve this serious problem in our state,’’ Schwarzenegger somberly said. “Because of Chelsea, California’s children will be safer. Because of Chelsea, this never has to happen again.”

Fletcher, the author of the new law said Chelsea’s Law which became law immediately, puts the state of California at the forefront when dealing with violent sex offenders.

“We are about to see signed into law a sweeping piece of legislation that will better protect our children, who are the most vulnerable, the most innocent, the most precious,” Fletcher said. “Today is a very good day for them.”

Chelsea’s law creates a “true one-strike life without the possibility of parole charge” for violent child sex offenders who stalk helpless children, Fletcher said. “If you don’t believe you can rehabilitate someone that violently sex offends a child, you should not let them out, and today California will adopt this.”

Assemblyman Fletcher went on to say, “Governor Schwarzenegger was supportive of our efforts from the very beginning and we are grateful for his commitment to public safety. Today’s signing would not have been possible without the tremendous bi-partisan support of legislators, the amazing strength of Brent and Kelly King, and the inspiriting dedication of the entire San Diego community.”

Fletcher also commended the community and state for their diligent strides to make sure this day was possible. “An unspeakable tragedy, a powerful voice, a community demanding action, a Legislature that responded, a governor about to make history. This is due to Chelsea King. Today is her day,” he said.

Chelsea’s father Brent started out by saying; “This is a day that marks so much in our lives, and we are honored that Governor Schwarzenegger has chosen to sign Chelsea’s Law in San Diego.”

Brent King said Chelsea’s Law will fix California’s “broken system and make sure that the worst of the worst violent child predators are locked up for life.”

During the highly emotional bill signing Chelsea’s mom, Kelly was visibly struggling to hold it together. “Our children look to us for guidance and understanding of how our world should be,” Kelly King said. “In supporting and passing Chelsea’s Law, you have shown them what is good and right and sound decision-making in government.”

Standing alongside Kelly King was her daughter’s close friend, Jenna Belknap, president of peer counseling at Poway High School where Chelsea went to high school, who braved the cameras and spoke from the heart about her buddy.

“We had to find a new sense of normal without Chelsea physically in our lives,” she said. “Chelsea King is not a past-tense kind of girl.”

Recently, Governor Schwarzenegger directed the Sex Offender Management Board to determine where systemic changes or improvements can be made to better protect the public. Following their review, the Governor directed his Administration to take action on the recommendations provided by the board including the implementation of the containment model included in Chelsea’s Law, according to a statement from his office.

Moe Dubois, Amber’s father who was not in attendance, has worked on three bills that Schwarzenegger plans on signing before he leaves office at the end of the year. The new bills will establish guidelines for handling missing-persons investigations, require law enforcement to notify national databases two hours after a child abduction — instead of the current four — and create a missing-persons position within the California Department of Justice to help authorities find abducted children, according to the governor’s office.

By the end of the bill signing ceremony, the sun peaked from behind the clouds and Chelsea’s family and friends said she was happy now as the tears of rain stopped- Chelsea was now spreading sunshine and happiness for all of California’s children.

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