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Gun Control in California: How Laws Have Evolved Since Days of Gold Rush

Image: Gun Control in California: How Laws Have Evolved Since Days of Gold Rush
Shown on this thin writing paper are an assortment of implements and objects common to a miner's life: wash pan, pick, shovel, rocker, axe, rifle, pistol, scales, cooking utensils, playing cards, cigar, worn boots, and hats. In the middle, however, is that ubiquitous companion, the flea. Lithographed & Published by Britton & Rey, San Francisco/wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Wednesday, 01 Apr 2015 04:47 PM

In 1849 alone, 60,000 people arrived in California make their fortune, most carrying firearms. In the first instance of gun control in California, the state passed a law banning the carry of concealed weapons in 1863, only to repeal it less than 10 years later.

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Throughout the 1850s, the legislature entertained the idea of gun control in California. As recounted by the NRA-ILA, the mining camps and surrounding cities and towns were “pretty wild places” with high murder rates, although many of the murders occurred during fights between young men attempting to prove themselves. Racism also played a part, when in 1856 the Nevada County state senator spoke out in favor of the bill because it would disarm Mexicans.

Racism against Native Americans spurred others to advocate for gun control. According to The Calguns Foundation, in his 1851 annual address to the legislature, Governor Peter H. Burnett spoke about the inevitable extinction of Native Americans. In 1854, Assembly Bill 80 was passed, and it became against the law to sell or give firearms to “Indians.” Anyone guilty of the misdemeanor would be fined anywhere from $25 to $500 or jailed from one to six months.

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The 1863 law banned everyone from carrying concealed weapons, with the exception of police officers and travelers but, according to the NRA-ILA,not everyone followed the law and after several years sentiments changed. Newspaper editorials that once supported the ban now opined in favor of repealing the law, writing that most people carrying guns had no intent to harm others. As a result, peaceful citizens were at the mercy of those who disobeyed the law.

Today, California has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. All firearms sales must be transacted through a California licensed firearms dealer. There is a 10-day waiting period and limits on who may own firearms, such as felons are banned for life, a misdemeanor results in a 10-year ban while a five-year ban is levied against people who may be a danger to themselves or others or is admitted to a mental facility. The Firearm Safety Certificate program, which replaced the Handgun Safety Certificate program in January 2015, requires prospective gun owners to pass a written test.

This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws before purchasing or traveling with a firearm.

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In 1849 alone, 60,000 people arrived in California make their fortune, most carrying firearms. In the first instance of gun control in California, the state passed a law banning the carry of concealed weapons in 1863, only to repeal it less than 10 years later.
gun control, california, gun laws
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2015-47-01
Wednesday, 01 Apr 2015 04:47 PM
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