By Tim Hunt
Gun legislation creates political backlashUploaded: Sep 19, 2013
Following up on my comments last week about the state of Jefferson and a similar move in rural Colorado, political observers were quite surprises when residents of two Colorado state Senate districts recalled legislators for the first time in state history.
In the wake of the Aurora theater shootings, a Democrat-led state Legislature passed tough gun control measures in a state that once was the start of the Wild, Wild West. It still is that way in rural areas. The laws required universal background checks and limited magazines to 15 rounds.
Voters recalled Senate leader John Morse from his Colorado Springs district where registration is split pretty evenly between independents, Democrats and Republicans. Voters also recalled Hispanic Senator Angela Giron from her blue-collar district that has a large Hispanic population in Pueblo and typically votes Democrat. President Obama won it easily in 2012.
Recall proponents were out-spent by a 5-1 margin thanks to lots of out-of-state donations, particularly from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Somehow, I can't see anything similar happening in California after the Legislature last week passed a bill banning the use of lead bullets in hunting as well as other gun control measures. Given the crime rates in urban centers in California, somebody ought to ask just how effective the state's already stringent measures are in curbing gun crime. The state has very tough restrictions on guns, yet, as I noted on Tuesday, metro areas such as Richmond rank in the bottom 10 percent when it comes to crime rate.
In addition to the ban on lead bullets, lawmakers also expanded the definition of an illegal shotgun and passed a measure that would ban semi-automatic rifles with removable magazines. Whether the governor will concur remains to be seen. He has until Oct. 13 to act on legislation passed during the session that ended early last Friday morning.
Speaking of the Legislature, there have been press reports speculating that Senator Mark DeSaulnier, who represents the Livermore and San Ramon valleys, is one of the top two contenders to lead the state Senate when current leader Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento is termed out next year.
DeSaulnier has two years remaining in his final term and would give the East Bay significant clout if he can land the role. Southern California Senator Kevin de Leon has been named as the other top contender.
One factor in his favor: there has been an unofficial agreement that the top positions in the Legislature are split between north and south. Assembly Speaker John Perez is from Southern California and likely will serve until he is termed out in 2016. If that history holds, DeSaulnier is positioned well to significantly increase his influence.