A Sacramento-based victims' group announced today that Californians who vote for Proposition 47 next Tuesday will be voting to put more guns in the hands of criminals.
The Criminal Justice Legal Foundation reports that because Proposition 47 redefines the crime of stealing a firearm, valued at $950 or less from a felony to a misdemeanor it will encourage more gun thefts by criminals.
According to the Foundation, under Proposition 47, a gang member with serious prior felony convictions who steals a Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver, (a very lethal weapon which costs $750), will only face a few days in an overcrowded county jail, rather than time in state prison. Lowering the consequences for what most would consider a serious crime will result in more gun thefts and more gun-related crimes.
"Does California really need more guns in the hands of known criminals?" asked Foundation President Michael Rushford.
The Foundation also accuses the proponents of Proposition 47 of misleading voters by claiming that reducing the consequences for gun theft and other crimes committed by habitual criminals—such as commercial burglary, identity theft, and the possession of "date rape" drugs—will reduce crime and free up millions of tax dollars for schools. "This is like saying that pouring gas on a fire will help put it out," said Rushford.
Proponents also claim that the measure has broad law enforcement support when in fact it is supported by only two District Attorneys, a former sheriff and the ACLU, and opposed by every major law enforcement and victims' organizations in the state, including the California District Attorneys Association, the California Peace Officers Association, the California State Sheriffs' Association and the California Police Chiefs Association.
"The supporters of Proposition 47 cynically named it The California Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act when in reality it will result in more crime and more crime victims," said Rushford.
CJLF President Michael Rushford is available for comment at (916) 446-0345.