Warning: “Hate Crime” Laws and Your Rights

Last week, we reported on some of the more onerous new laws affecting California gun owners and how such bad legislation that begins there often insidiously spreads to the rest of the country. Things like “assault weapons” bans are just one example.

Most of us over the age of 50 recall that, initially, California banned about a dozen firearms. But manufacturers simply started producing guns minus the “offensive features” like flash suppressors, bayonet lugs, etc. The list of “bad” guns started to grow, eventually including around a hundred firearms, many of them popular hunting and competition models.

But there was a less-publicized new California law that could prove far more dangerous in the long run. This piece of legislation had to do with the dangerous principle of “hate crime” and how it could affect the ability of California residents to own, much less carry, firearms.

Now, full disclosure, I agree with most of my lawyer friends who are constitutional experts who argue that “hate” is not a crime. It is the action itself that is the crime, not the motive for it, nor what the perpetrator was thinking or feeling before or during the act. Remember when such “thought crimes” were something that only occurred in tyrannical foreign dictatorships? Not anymore. In essence, so-called “hate crimes” actually do criminalize your thoughts or emotions!

The new California law (AB 785), “Firearms: possession of firearms by convicted persons,” is referred to by proponents as the “Disarm Hate Act.” Talk about mushy, meaningless happy-talk. How exactly do you disarm an emotion? But let’s face it, we know our adversaries are highly skilled at using deceptive language to manipulate the public. After all, who could oppose “hate?”

As it turns out, no one; it passed with ZERO “no” votes, not even from any of the few remaining Republicans in the state. So much for courage under fire.

Note that existing California law already makes it a misdemeanor to “knowingly deface, damage or destroy the property of another person, for the purpose of intimidating or interfering with the exercise of any of those constitutional rights because of those specified characteristics.”

But AB 785 adds “hate crimes” to the list of misdemeanor crimes that cause a 10-year firearms prohibition. This bill would also add to the list of misdemeanors, the “conviction for which is subject to the prohibition on possessing a firearm within 10 years of the conviction, the above-referenced interference with the exercise of civil rights, as specified.”

That’s right, California gun owners (or would-be gun owners) can now lose their gun rights for receiving a conviction — not for violence, or even the threat of violence, but for a completely non-violent misdemeanor (if it’s declared a “hate crime” by authorities).

This is basically a continuation of their strategy to continuously “lower the bar” for abrogating your rights. Instead of using the standard of “a clear and present danger to self or others,” the anti-2nd Amendment activists believe that if anyone might, maybe, possibly, perhaps, at some time in the indeterminate future, potentially be a danger to someone (or offend them), then obviously they shouldn’t be able to legally own a gun.

As a result of this and similar end-runs around due process, you now have a situation where you could lose your rights because simply yelling insults at some demonstrators was declared a “hate crime.”

…Coming soon to your state?

You'd do anything to protect your family.But did you know... You're still vulnerable to criminal charges and financial ruin…even if you did everything right? Your USCCA Membership arms you with the self-defense education, training, and legal protection you need to protect your family with confidence. Because, after all, doing the right thing shouldn't cost you everything...

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