Category Archives: Politics

Understanding Some Common Arguments of Gun Rights Advocates (and How to Counter Them)

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Recently, a friend of mine posted a meme on her Facebook feed with a list of what gun control advocates believe are common sense measures that could reduce gun violence. Predictably, gun rights advocates attacked it with arguments that were, for the most part, filled with inaccuracies, distortions, name-calling, and outright lies. Usually, I let this kind of thing go by because these are people that you can’t really debate with regardless of how many facts or how much logic you throw at them.

This time, however, I thought it was important to look at the comments one particular gun rights advocate made on my friend’s post because they are arguments that have become talking points, used by both passionate and casual people alike, to suggest that gun control measures aren’t effective. My hope is that by dissecting them point by point, it will arm you (pun intended) with knowledge you can use should you ever encounter someone who says these things less because they believe or understand what they are saying but because they heard it somewhere and are parroting it back. You may not be able to change their mind, but you can stand firm in the knowledge that you know what you’re talking about and have the facts to back up your position.

Below are some of the points the meme made and the comments a gun rights advocate made against them followed by my analysis.

Point: Ban assault-style weapons
Comment: The “style” of a weapon has absolutely NOTHING to do with lethality.
Analysis: This is a commonly used tactic by gun rights supporters, using semantics to attack the words used as opposed to the actual point that is being made. They believe that by saying you are using the “wrong” words it somehow proves you don’t know enough about guns to have an intelligent discussion about them.

What I find most interesting about this is the pivot that has occurred in this specific argument. Gun control advocates were using the term “assault weapon” or “assault rifle” to describe guns like the AR-15 and gun rights advocates were saying that was incorrect. They say that an assault weapon is something that is fully automatic, meaning that you can hold down the trigger once and it will continue shooting bullets until you let go (a machine gun in old timey parlance). Guns like the AR-15 are semi-automatic, meaning that you have to pull the trigger every time you want to shoot a bullet, but the chamber reloads itself after each firing. This differs from older shotguns for instance because they required the shooter to “cock” the weapon – or move the bullet into the chamber – after each firing.

Fully automatic weapons have been largely banned in this country since the 1930s, so gun rights advocates said that there already is a ban on “assault weapons.” So, gun control advocates pivoted and started using the phrase “assault-style weapon,” but now the other side has pivoted and say things like “the style of the weapon has nothing to do with lethality.”

Fair point. It’s a semantic one designed to distract from the true issue, but it is a fair point. A gun’s “style,” or the way it looks, has nothing to do with how much damage it can do. But they know as well as we do that when we are talking about “style” we are talking about its industrial design and capabilities, not the way it looks.

Weapons like the AR-15 are more lethal than most hand guns for four reasons – they hold more bullets, they are capable of firing bullets faster, they have greater accuracy at longer distances, they fire bullets at a higher velocity. It is that last point that is the most crucial. An AR-15 fires bullets at a velocity nearly three-times that of a standard handgun. After that it’s simple physics – the higher the rate of speed an object is traveling, the more damage an object will make when it hits something. Need proof? Run your car into a wall at ten miles per hour and then do it again at thirty.

This article from a radiologist is worth a read but I’ll sum up the salient point. He was on call after both the Ft. Lauderdale airport shooting and the Parkland High School shooting. The damage evident on the scans from victims of the Parkland shooting showed far greater damage than those from the airport shooting. Why? Because the shooter used a handgun in Ft. Lauderdale and an AR-15 in Parkland. All six victims that were transported to the hospital after the airport shooting survived. Many of the victims of Parkland did not.

So, instead of “assault weapon” or “assault style weapon,” let’s use the term “high powered rifle” and know that what you’re talking about are guns that fire more bullets at higher velocities than most handguns. It’s likely that gun rights advocates will pivot again and come up with some reason why that’s not correct terminology either, but you can be safe in the knowledge that they are just playing a semantics game.

Point: Stop sales at gun shows.
Comment: Sales at most gun shows require a background check.
Analysis: The commenter bungled this one a bit. What he meant to say was, “most sales at gun shows require a background check” and if he had gotten it right, he would have been technically correct.

Most gun dealers are federally licensed and are required to perform background checks on every sale regardless of if they are in a store or a gun show. Since most vendors at gun shows are federally licensed, most guns sold at gun shows are subject to a background check.

But this, again, is a semantics game. “Most” is not “all” or even “a vast majority.” And this is where the so-called “gun show loophole” comes in. (BTW, gun show loophole is another phrase gun rights advocates will try to use semantics against, but everyone knows what we’re talking about here)

In all but six states (California, Colorado, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island), anyone can by any type of gun through a private sale and not be subject to a background check. In three other states (Connecticut, Maryland, and Pennsylvania), only handguns are subject to background checks for private sales. That means in 41 states, any person can buy a gun from any other person and not have to undergo a background check.

To reiterate, in these 41 states, any person – a felon, a terrorist, a convicted domestic abuser – anyone can buy a gun (or a lot of them) through a private sale (at a gun show, for instance) and not have to undergo a background check.

So, let’s go back to those gun shows. Yes, most vendors at gun shows are federally licensed and require background checks for gun sales, but many vendors are not federally licensed and therefore don’t have to perform a background check. They will usually call themselves “collectors” but in many instances these are people who are making a living by buying a bunch of guns from licensed gun dealers (and going through the requisite background checks when doing so) and then turning around and selling them through so-called “private sales” without a background check.

Although there isn’t a lot of research on the topic, a 1999 study by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms found that licensed dealers make up anywhere from 50-75% of vendors at gun shows, meaning that 25-50% are not licensed. A Harvard study found that as many as 15% of gun sales in this country were not subject to background checks. That equates to more than 5 million gun owners and who knows how many actual guns.

So yes, most sales at gun shows are subject to background checks. What gun control advocates are saying is that they should all be.

Point: Limit magazines to 5 rounds
Comment: 5 round magazine limit? What jackwagon arbitrarily decided 5 rounds is all we need? The public should have the same capacity magazines as law enforcement.
Analysis: This is a dog whistle argument, using language that is specifically designed to appeal to a segment of the population that most people will miss the meaning of. In this case, what the commenter is really saying is that someday, the police, the military, or some other jack-booted thug is going to come to take your guns and you need to be as well armed as they are, so you can fight back.

First, let’s take a look at the idea of equity with law enforcement. There are all sorts of things that police officers have access to that private citizens don’t including types of weapons, tactical assault vehicles, communication devices, specially equipped cars, lock picking devices, and on and on. The idea that average citizens have some sort of “right” to everything the police have is not only ludicrous but not supported in the constitution anywhere.

Second, it has already been determined that limiting rights granted by the constitution is constitutional. This is why the second amendment can exist alongside a ban on fully automatic weapons and the first amendment can exist alongside the idea that if you yell fire in a crowded theater with the intention of inciting panic, you can go to jail for it. There is nothing in the constitution that says you should have unlimited access to as many guns and as many bullets and as big of magazines as you want. A five bullet limit may seem arbitrary but it is simple math designed to limit the number of bullets a gun can fire without reloading. When a shooter needs to stop to reload, people have a better chance at survival.

But third, and more importantly, let’s dissect the concept behind the argument. At its core, what that is saying is that if the city, state, or country that you live in passes a law that you don’t agree with, you have the right to not obey it and to use deadly force to resist anyone trying to enforce it. We could be ridiculous and say that means if you don’t feel like the speed limit is too low, you have the right to shoot any cop that pulls you over for exceeding it, but that won’t really get us anywhere.

Instead, let’s apply it to the scenario that they are warning against. If two-thirds of both houses of Congress proposed an amendment to the constitution banning all guns in the United Sates and that amendment was ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures and it became constitutional law in this country that owning a gun was illegal, these people would feel like they had the right to murder anyone coming to enforce that law. If that doesn’t chill you to the bone, something is wrong.

Point: Ban bump stocks and all other rapid-fire technology.
Comment: Banning bump stocks leads to banning other firearm parts and some people can fire a rifle almost as fast WITHOUT them anyway.
Analysis: This comment employs a type of intellectually lazy argument that need to be called out.

It’s called the slippery slope – if we do one thing it could lead to all these other things. That’s like saying because we impose a 55mph speed limit that it could one day lead to a 45mph speed limit and eventually to banning cars all together. Or, if you want to turn it back the other way, it’s like saying that if we allow bump stocks it could lead to allowing fully automatic weapons.

Debate the point being made, not some mythical future that “could” happen because of it. In this case, it is talking about bump stocks, devices that when used with a semi-automatic rifle, can make it act like a fully automatic one. What it does is moves the gun back and forth (bumping it) so that instead of needing to squeeze the trigger once for every bullet, a shooter can simply press the trigger and the gun moves instead, increasing the number of bullets that can be fired at any one time and therefore making them more lethal.

If, at some point in the future, we want to talk about banning other firearm parts then we can do that, but for now we’re only talking about bump stocks.

But the bigger point here is the part of the comment that says that some people can fire a rifle almost as fast without a bump stock as those that have them. This is, put simply, not true.

The average person can fire between 2-3 bullets per second using a standard semi-automatic weapon. This is obviously dependent upon how fast the shooter can pull the trigger and can vary, but analysis of the recordings of gunfire at mass shooting events has shown that the 2-3 per second is typical.

In the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, the gunman employed a bump stock and analysis of those recordings showed that he was firing off about 9 bullets per second. There is no way that a human being could pull a trigger nine times in a second – it isn’t physically possible – and 2-3 is not “almost as fast” as 9.

Point: Require licenses for all firearms, just like cars.
Comment: Some states already require licenses to purchase/own firearms yet criminals still have them.
Analysis: There are a lot of ways to counter this argument, the easiest of which is to say that what the commenter is suggesting is that because people break laws we shouldn’t have any laws. But that’s kind of a slippery slope style argument and we shouldn’t use it. Instead, let’s talk about the basis of the argument and refute it with facts.

I’m surprised the commenter didn’t use “Chicago,” another dog whistle word that gun rights advocates will bring up all the time. What they usually say is some derivation on this: “Chicago has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation and yet gun violence there is among the highest.” This is a more specific way of saying what the commenter did, which is gun control doesn’t work.

But let’s examine Chicago and why its in the situation it is in and to do that, let’s start by asking a simple question: where do illegal guns come from? The answer is fundamental and yet somehow shocking to people – every illegal gun started out as a legal one.

Yes, it is true that Illinois has gun laws that are stricter than many other states. There are bunch of things they do differently like banning people from openly carrying guns, requiring waiting periods, and so on but the primary thing that critics point to is the FOID. This is the Firearm Owners Identification and anyone who wants to own a gun must have one before they purchase a weapon. This requires them to apply to the Illinois state police with small fee and subjects them to background check. So, in order to buy a gun anywhere in Illinois – at a gun dealer, a gun show, or a private sale – you are supposed to have the FOID card ahead of time. This differs from other states who run the background checks at the point of sale and, as we have discussed, often don’t require background checks at all for private sales.

When people talk about how strict the gun laws are, they want you to believe that it is virtually impossible to buy a gun when in fact it isn’t. It’s a little harder and takes a little bit more time, but if you want a gun and you’re not legally restricted from owning one, you can get as many as you like.

Now, let’s talk about gun violence in Chicago. Yes, it is a problem, but when looking at national statistics, Illinois usually rates around 40th in terms of per capita gun deaths. That’s a little misleading because the rest of the state waters down the overall numbers that are primarily recorded in the south side of Chicago. If you were to compare metropolitan areas, Chicago would be pretty high up on the list.

States like Connecticut and Massachusetts also have strict gun laws (in some cases stricter than Illinois) and their gun violence stats are lower even when comparing metropolitan areas. So why do the gun control laws in Illinois seem to have less of an effect than they do those states? It all boils down to simple geography.

Connecticut is surrounded by other states that have strict gun laws. Illinois, on the other hand, is not. And if you look at a map, pay special attention to where the south side of Chicago is. It’s a quick drive – and sometimes just a quick walk – to Indiana, where gun laws are among the most lax in the United States. Indiana does not require background checks by private sellers at gun shows, so anyone – and I do mean anyone from felons to terrorists and beyond – could take a quick jaunt from Chicago into Indiana to buy as many guns as they want and then bring them back to the city to sell them out of the trunk of their car.

There is not some secret manufacturing facility where people are making illegal guns. They don’t come here from other countries. They are made and sold right here in the United States. As I said, every illegal gun starts out as a legal gun but if every state had laws like Illinois, it would be harder for that legal gun to become and illegal one.

Point: Raise the minimum age to buy guns to 21.
Comment: Raising the age to purchase firearms to 21? Sure, as soon as the same age is required to use every other Constitutionally protected right along with joining the military, voting and driving.
Analysis: Up until 1971 you had to be 21 to vote. That’s what the constitution – you know, that document you consider so sacrosanct – called for until the 26th amendment was passed lowering it to 18.

I’m not sure what amendment made driving a constitutionally protected right.

If we can limit the sale of alcohol, the sale of marijuana (in the states in which it is legal), and gambling in a casino to people 21 and older, I see no reason why gun sales can’t be restricted as well.

Point: Ban sales to domestic abusers.
Comment: Background checks are already run and domestic abusers are already prohibited from owning firearms.
Analysis: We’ve already covered the background check comment, but let’s look at the domestic abuser prohibition.

In 1997, Congress passed the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, which blocked anyone who has been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from being able to own or buy a gun. But there are enough loopholes in the law that it is not as effective as it could be. It does not prevent sales to people who have been convicted of beating a girlfriend, boyfriend, father, sister, or anyone other than a legally married spouse or child. It doesn’t apply to people who are convicted of stalking. And most importantly, it does not require a person who is convicted of domestic abuse to surrender their weapons, it just prevents them from buying more.

Additional laws have been passed in many states that add more teeth to the domestic violence statute, but it is still a patchwork of laws that allow people to go to neighboring states to buy guns and, in most cases, allow people who already own guns to keep them even after they have been convicted of beating a spouse or child.

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The most powerful thing you can do to prevent gun violence is to be educated about the issues surrounding them. The more people that know the kinds of facts I have talked about here, the more chances we will have in winning the argument for gun control in the future.

Prop Master: A Look at the November 2016 California Ballot Propositions

In between writing a second Hallmark Xmas movie with a lot of very earnest dialogue about the meaning of the holiday and a Lifetime movie with lots of single white female drama, I decided to take some time and write up my thoughts on the propositions as I do every year.

Now, as we have discussed, I hate the California ballot process. It is ridiculous that laws (or worse, constitutional amendments) are made by 50% plus one person of the fraction of people who actually vote, many of whom don’t take the time to do anything other than pay a little bit of attention to the misdirection and outright lies that most of the campaign TV commercials put out there. My default position is to vote “no” since most of them are put forth by extreme factions, often Republican, who can’t get things advanced legislatively in the state.

But every now and then there are some that come around that I think are worthy of attention. There are few this time around, including one I feel very passionate about. There are a lot of them this year so buckle in.

QUICK LOOK:

No on 51 (School Bonds)
No on 52 (Diverting Hospital Fee Revenue)
No on 53 (Voter Approval of Revenue Bonds)
No on 54 (Public Display of Bills)
No on 55 (Extension of Top Tax Rate)
No on 56 (Tobacco Tax)
No on 57 (Non-Violent Parole)
Yes on 58 (Allows Bi-Lingual Education)
Yes on 59 (Demand Action Against Citizens United)
No on 60 (Condoms in Adult Films)
No no 61 (Drug Price Standards)
Yes on 62 (Repeal the Death Penalty)
Yes on 63 (Gun and Ammunition Control)
Yes on 64 (Legalizes Marijuana)
No on 65 (Bag Fees for Wildlife Fund)
No on 66 (Changes to the Death Penalty Process)
Yes on 67 (Bans Plastic Bags)

IN DEPTH


Proposition 51: School Bonds. Funding for K-12 School and Community College Facilities. Initiative Statute

The short version:
Issues $9 billion in bonds to pay for schools and community colleges

Who is for it:
Almost everyone – Democrats, Republicans, teachers, and on and on

What the people for it say:
For God’s sake, won’t someone please think of the children! They are our future, you know?

Who is against it:
Governor Jerry Brown and the Libertarians

What the people against it say:
Nine BILLION dollars? What the fuck? Plus, it doesn’t have enough protections in it to ensure that the money is directed to low-income neighborhoods where it is truly needed.

What I say:
What the fuck? Sorry, kids. I’m with Governor Jerry.

Verdict:
NO on Prop 51


Proposition 52: Voter Approval to Divert Hospital Fee Revenue Dedicated to Medi-Cal

The Short Version:
Hospitals pay fees to the state to help them qualify for federal Medicaid funds – fees that are supposed to go into a fund that is matched by the state. However, legislators sometimes “redirect” those fees to other uses. Prop 52 is a constitutional amendment and state statute that would require any “redirection” of these fees to be approved by voters or by 2/3 of the legislature, which would effectively end the practice.

Who is for it:
Democrats, Republicans, the Health care industry – kind of everyone

What the people for it say:
Politicians are shady and they shouldn’t be allowed to use money for one thing on something else.

Who is against it:
Libertarians, mostly.

What the people against it say:
This will effectively increase funding to hospitals, which means corporate health care companies and their greedy CEOs will profit from it.

What I say:
I had over $2 million in medical bills from my big fun with cancer a few years ago. I don’t feel sorry for hospitals AT ALL. But beyond that, I am very against constitutional amendments being done through the ballot process.

Verdict:
NO on Prop 52


Proposition 53: Voter Approval Requirement for Revenue Bonds above $2 Billion

The Short Version:
Voters already get the right to approve the issuance of general obligation bonds, often done to pay for things like parks and schools, and repaid through tax revenue. But voters don’t have the right to approve revenue bonds, which often pay for things like roads and bridges, and are repaid through fees and other charges (like Highway tolls). This constitutional amendment would give voters the right to approve any revenue bond issuance valued above $2 billion.

Who is for it:
Republicans and Libertarians.

What people for it say:
Keep your damn dirty hands off my damn dirty money! Or… Politicians suck and they borrow money to pay for pork projects that we then have to pay for and we don’t have any say in the matter.

Who is against it:
Democrats and most progressive organizations

What people against it say:
Local and community projects would be negatively affected because it would require the approval of the entire state. Plus there is no exemption for natural disasters or other emergencies.

What I say:
Just like I don’t think 50% + 1 should make law, neither do I think they should be able to control state budgets. Plus it’s a constitutional amendment, so you know how I feel already.

Verdict:
NO on Prop 53


Proposition 54: Public Display of Legislative Bills Prior to Vote

The Short Version:
A constitutional amendment and state statute that would require that every bill under consideration in the state legislature be posted on the Internet for 72 hours prior to any vote. It also requires the legislature to record all their public proceedings and post them within 24 hours and allows anyone to record any public legislature session and post those recordings publicly.

Who is for it:
Republicans and Libertarians, plus lots of progressive groups like the NAACP, League of Women Voters, etc.

What the people for it say:
Politicians suck and this will help make them accountable.

Who is against it:
Democrats and their usual labor affiliates (nurses, teachers, etc.)

What the people against it say:
There is one billionaire behind this – a right wing nutjob who wants it so he can use the 72 hours to launch public outrage campaigns about pending votes by the Democratic-led legislature.

What I say:
This is one that sounds good on the surface – transparency is a good thing, right? But how many of you are going to check the website listing all the upcoming votes every day and then do something about the stuff that you don’t like? None of you. The ones that will do something are the extremists on both sides who will use it to try to slow down the process and advance their own agendas.

The Verdict:
NO on Prop 54


Proposition 55: Extension of the Proposition 30 Income Tax Increase

The Short Version:
Constitutional amendment that would extend current tax rates on individual incomes over $250K from 2018 to 2030

Who is for it:
Democrats and most progressive organizations

What those for it say:
Rich people suck! Or at least they suck when it comes to paying their fair share of taxes. This doesn’t raise taxes, it just keeps the rate they are already paying.

Who is against it:
Republicans and Libertarians

What those against it say:
I’ve had it with all these motherfucking taxes on the motherfucking plane! Oh, and this is a bait and switch because voters approved this “temporary” tax increase with the 2018 expiration and now it’s going to stay forever.

What I say:
Full transparency – because of all the TV movie gigs I have been getting plus my full time job, this law will affect me. I have always said I don’t have any problem paying taxes and I support the idea of it in general. But this is a constitutional amendment, so that makes me inclined to oppose it from the get-go. Plus, I kind of agree with the LA Times, which says: “When a majority of people provide a substantial portion of the state’s revenue, there is a broader demand for accountability and a greater incentive to vote. But when only a few provide most of the revenue, the majority loses not only its incentive to demand results, but its leverage to do so.”

The Verdict:
NO on Prop 55


Proposition 56: Tobacco Tax Increase

The Short Version:
Constitutional amendment and state statute that raises taxes on cigarettes, tobacco products, and e-cigarettes by $2.00 per pack (or equivalent) to pay for anti-smoking campaigns and health care.

Who is for it:
Democrats and progressive groups

What those for it say:
Smoking is evil. Smokers are bad people. Smokers should die but until they do they should pay for everything.

Who is against it:
Republicans, Libertarians, and evil smokers

What those against it say:
Taxes are bad and the money this raises won’t be used the way it should be.

What I say:
Full transparency – I’m a smoker. I quit when I got cancer in 2012 (which had nothing to do with the smoking, for the record) and then picked it back up again last year and then quit again last year and then picked it back up again this year. I have accepted that much like an alcoholic is always an alocholic even when they aren’t drinking, I will always be a smoker even when I’m not smoking. I’m totally with Bebe Glaser from this classic episode of Frasier:

Having said that, smoking is terrible and in general I support all efforts to keep people from doing it. But in the end this is a constitutional amendment that “punishes” one group of people for their addiction. Do we impose a $2 tax on every bottle of alcohol sold? Or every sugary Big Gulp soda?

The Verdict:
No on Prop 56


Proposition 57: Parole for Non-Violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements

The Short Version:
Constitutional amendment and state statute that would increase parole chances for people convicted of non-violent crimes and give prosecutors more leeway in deciding whether to try juveniles as adults.

Who is for it:
Democrats, Libertarians

What those for it say:
Prisons are overcrowded, often with people convicted of non-violent felonies (often drug possession violations)

Who is against it:
Republicans and law and order types

What those against it say:
They’re going to release horrible people from jail who will come to your home and KILL YOU!!

What I say:
This is another one that seems like a good idea, but I have a problem with it. State law identifies 23 specific felonies as “violent” and everything else is not officially “violent.” That includes things like, unbelievably, assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, gun possession violations, rape, arson, lewd acts against a child, hate crimes, and a lot more . This proposition does not further define what is a “violent” felony. While I generally hate siding with law and order types, I think that’s a problem.

The Verdict:
NO on Prop 57


Proposition 58: Non-English Languages Allowed in Public Education

The Short Version:
State statute that repeals proposition 227, voted into law in 1998, that requires English-only education in public schools and allows bilingual education programs.

Who is for it:
Democrats and most progressive groups

What those for it say:
227 (the proposition, not the Jackee Harry sitcom) was a racist piece of shit and this repeals it.

Who is against it:
Republicans, Libertarians, and most racists

What those against it say:
Build a wall.

What I say:
I hate the California ballot proposition process because it allows bullshit laws like English only education to get put into place by racist and/or misinformed voters. But a proposition that repeals a proposition? I can get behind that.

The Verdict:
YES on Prop 58


Proposition 59: Overturn of Citizens United Act Advisory Question

The Short Version:
This is neither a constitutional amendment nor a state statute. Instead, it’s an “advisory question” that would “encourage” the California legislature to find a way to overturn Citizens United, the US Supreme Court decision that effectively defined corporations as people and opened the floodgates for dark money into politics.

Who is for it:
Bernie and the Progressives (1960s Doo Wop Group, I believe)

What those for it say:
Corporations aren’t people and we need to get money out of politics. And something about hemp I think.

Who is against it:
Republicans

What those against it say:
This is a feel good thing that doesn’t actually do anything.

What I say:
The legislature isn’t actually REQUIRED to do anything and what they could do is probably limited, but since this doesn’t change the constitution or make any laws, then why not?

The Verdict:
YES on 59


Proposition 60: Condoms in Pornographic Films

The Short Version:
State statute requiring that all adult movies filmed in California require performers to wear condoms. If they don’t, the people who make, appear in, distribute, and display the films are subject to civil actions by anyone who feels as though they have been harmed by it.

Who is for it:
AIDS prevention groups, the Peace & Freedom party, prudes, people who say they are disgusted by porn but have pornhub.com bookmarked.

Who is against it:
Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, sexual deviants, people who have pornhub.com bookmarked and don’t care who knows it

What those against it say:
It’s a poorly written law that will allow any whackjob (no pun intended) to file a lawsuit against porn companies because they feel as though they were somehow “harmed” by it.

What I say:
This is well-intentioned but stupid.

The Verdict:
NO on 60


Proposition 61: Drug Price Standards

The Short Version:
State statute that requires state agencies to pay the same prices for prescription drugs that the US Veterans Administration pays.

Who is for it:
Bernie and the Progressives (who later became Hillary and the Progressives, a 60s girl group)

What those for it say:
Big pharma is evil and this will make drug prices more affordable for those on state programs who need it the most.

Who is against it:
Republicans, Libertarians, Big Pharma (big surprise), and several race groups like the NAACP and the California League of United Latin American Citizens (which actually is a surprise)

What those against it say:
Only helps those icky poor people and it could actually make drug prices go up for those heroic Americans who surved our country proudly. Glory, glory hallelujah! And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free…

What I say:
Don’t get me started against Big Pharma but here’s the thing that troubles me about this. Drug manufacturers give discounts to the VA on medications, not because they are required to by law, but because not doing so would be disastrous PR. But if they are faced with the option of lowering their price on meds they sell to the state, they could very well just RAISE the price of the drugs they sell to the VA. Why? Because if this law works the way it is intended to, it will cost them billions and other states will rush to pass similar laws. Big Pharma has turned this proposition into the most expensive in history, dumping nearly $90 million into getting it defeated. They won’t take it laying down if it passes.

The Verdict:
NO on Prop 61 (although a very tough call)


Proposition 62: Repeal of the Death Penalty

The Short Version:
It’s right there in the title – this state statute repeals the death penalty in California.

Who is for it:
Progressives, Bleeding Heart Liberals

What those for it say:
The death penalty is immoral – the state should not be involved in killing people

Who is against it:
Law and order types

What those against it say:
Kill the bastards!

What I say:
My opinion is as simple as the title – I am against the death penalty in all instances.

The Verdict:
YES on Prop 62


Proposition 63: Background Checks for Ammunition Purchases and Large-Capacity Ammunition Magazine Ban Initiative

The Short Version:
A state statute that does a bunch of things related to the sale and ownership of guns and ammunition

  1. Requires background checks and a permit for the purchase of ammunition
  2. Requires a license for the sale of ammunition
  3. Bans exemptions for large-capacity magazines (those purchased before 2000) and set penalties for anyone who possesses them
  4. Puts into place a court process that attempts to ensure that people who aren’t supposed to have guns don’t have them. For instance, someone who has a domestic violence protection order against them is not supposed to own a gun, but currently there is no system in place to enforce that
  5. Moves up the date on which out of state purchases of ammunition are banned from 2019 to 2018
  6. Requires dealers and owners to report theft of ammunition within a few days
  7. Makes stealing a gun a felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison

Who is for it:
Progressives, sane people

What people for it say:
We have to do something about gun violence.

Who is against it:
Gun nuts

What those who are against it say:
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition! We gots to go kill us some things!

What I say:
If it were up to me I’d round up all the guns, melt them down, and turn them into playground equipment. Since I can’t do that, I will do everything I can to add as many restrictions as I can to get in the way of people and their guns.

The Verdict:
YES on Prop 63


Proposition 64: Marijuana Legalization

The Short Version:
Legalizes recreational marijuana and hemp and puts state taxes on its sale and cultivation.

Who is for it:
Duuuuuuuuuuuude

What those for it say:
Duuuuuuuuuuuude

Who is against it:
Pruuuuuuuuuudes

What those against it say:
Just say no.

What I say:

The Verdict:
Yes on Prop 64


Proposition 65: Dedication of Revenue from Disposable Bag Sales to Wildlife Conservation Fund

The Short Version:
State statute that would redirect money from the sale of carry out and grocery bags to a fund for the Wildlife Conservation Board.

Who is for it:
Tree huggers

What they say:

Who is against it:
People who hate baby seals.

What they say:
Why yes, I’d love to wear that baby seal as a fashionable hat.

What I say:
This is actually more complex than it seems because of Proposition 67, which would ban the use of plastic bags entirely. That ban was passed by the state legislature and 67 ratifies it with voters. If it passes, then a 10 cent per bag fee for the sale of any other reusable bag will go into place and that money goes to the retailer to pay for the cost of the bags and for environmental education programs. If 67 passes AND 65 passes, then that 10 cents will go to the state fund. If 67 passes and 65 fails, the money goes to the retailers. If 67 fails, it is all moot. Confusing? Yes, and intentionally so because Prop 65 was crafted by the same people trying to STOP the plastic bag ban, specifically the manufacturers of plastic bags. Sketchy much?

The Verdict:
NO on Prop 65


Proposition 66: Death Penalty Procedures

The Short Version:
Puts a bunch of new stuff around how the death penalty is administered in the state including speeding up the appeals process and restitution for the victims’ families.

Who is for it:
Law and order types

What those for it say:
The death penalty is needed but can be improved. Oh… and KILL THE BASTARDS!!

Who is against it:
Bleeding heart liberals

What those against it say:
It sounds like they want to do something about the death penalty but its a ruse. Don’t believe it.

What I say:
If the state were to keep the death penalty, there are some good provisions in this that would make it a little less horrific. Not much, but a little. Here’s the important part about this proposition though… If Prop 62, which repeals the death penalty, passes AND this Prop 66 passes, the one with the most yes votes wins. So even if 62 passes, we could still have the death penalty if this one gets more votes. Sketchy much?

The Verdict:
NO on Prop 66


Proposition 67: Plastic Bag Ban Veto Referendum

The Short Version:
The state legislature enacted a ban on plastic grocery bags. This measure ratifies that ban and institutes a 10 cent per bag fee on other bags that goes to the retailer.

Who is for it:
The same people who are against Prop 65.

What those for it say:
The same thing the people against Prop 65 say.

Who is against it:
The same people who are for Prop 65.

What those against it say:
I think you can see where this is going.

What I say:
This proposition does not create a new law. All this does is ratify a law enacted by the state legislature, the people who are supposed to be making laws in the first place. Since we already have a ban in LA it’s kinda moot to me. But while I miss plastic bags, this is a good thing in the long run.

The Verdict:
YES on Prop 67