After another surge in crime across the state, it’s time for California to finally stop its crusade against legal gun owners and make it easier for Californians to defend themselves against violent crime. But based on recent recommendations made by officials in one of the state’s most dangerous towns, that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.
This summer, California headlines constantly told of egregious crime sprees in Oakland, California. Ranked by NeighborhoodScout as the 40th most dangerous city in America in 2023, Oakland is currently experiencing a violent crime rate of 12.57 assaults per 1,000 inhabitants, with a total of 5,452 violent assaults a year. According to a report by the Oakland Police Department in June, violent crime was up 15 percent compared to last year. Residents are scared, and they have good reason to be.
The city is a shell of its former self: Many commercial properties are abandoned, ATMs have been gutted, store windows are boarded up, and even the police department’s precinct is barricaded, with no clear entry point. Meanwhile, criminals and thugs assault and kill people for their belongings. Residents, alongside Oakland’s NAACP branch, have demanded the city council provide protection. In response to this plea, city police have recommended that people carry air horns with them at all times, in order to deter would-be criminals and to alert neighbors.
To add insult to injury, Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price joined a community forum where she effectively downplayed residents’ concerns by emphasizing the Oakland Police Department’s recent arrest record: “We’ve charged over 7,600 cases, including murder and serious violent felonies.” Unfortunately, these arrests can’t keep up with violent crime trends.
Price also criticized residents’ desire for police enhancements in the vein of increased patrols, better security equipment, and heightened investigations: “Because they require longer sentences, they force us to invest in prisons. Enhancements have been at the heart of incarceration. It is absolutely essential that we stop using them.”
At least she understands the concept: If we increase our law enforcement efforts, there will be fewer criminals out in the open. Apparently, that will cost the county more than citizens’ safety is worth. Unsurprisingly, there is currently a recall effort to oust Price.
This normalized whitewashing of crime is rampant throughout the state. San Francisco residents are leaving their cars unlocked in order to escape the damage caused by thieves. Some have even left signs on their vehicles such as “Please use the doors” and “Please Do Not Break Glass!! Nothing Inside!!” This tolerance of criminal behavior comes as no surprise when California district attorneys continue to refuse to prosecute crimes such as robbery, violent recidivism, and even murder.
In response to a recent flash mob’s spree stealing $100,000 worth of product from a Nordstrom, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass dismissed the robbery, saying, “Well, you know what, things like this happen when there’s profit to be made.” Things like this do indeed happen, especially since California passed Proposition 47, which essentially permits all theft under $950.
When questioned if California’s “crime reform” contributed to the crime spike, Bass responded, “The reforms that people object to have nothing, nothing to do with these crimes.” That’s rich considering theft has increased by 200 percent after 2020.
If state police aren’t invested in protecting citizens from car thieves, robbers, and mass shooters, citizens must be allowed to take protection into their own hands. The United States has a long and well-documented history of responsible gun owners stopping would-be mass shooters — not to mention instances where legal firearm owners deter home invaders and robbers without even firing a shot.
While gun-control advocates are quick to point to studies that try to show how lax gun-control laws lead to higher instances of gun-related violence, their research variability and personal bias make it impossible to prove that higher gun ownership rates increase gun-related violence.
However, the U.S. is experiencing a record number of permit carry holders at 22 million and counting. Twenty-seven states also honor permitless carry. Despite the popular rise in firearm ownership, we aren’t seeing a spike in gun violence in “right-to-carry” states.
What we do see is a consistent increase in public mass shootings in states with burdensome gun legislation like California’s.
It’s been shown that up to 16 percent of would-be mass shooters have been stopped by responsible, legal gun owners. In the 36 percent of shooting attacks (gang-related, robberies, theft, assault) that have occurred in places where firearms were permitted, 42.3 percent were stopped by legal carry owners.
Between the understaffed police departments and the DAs who refuse to do their jobs, Californians are left unprotected from the state’s rampant crime and violence. It’s time for people to wake up and take some gun safety courses. As the state is now a “shall issue” jurisdiction, residents have nothing to lose in applying for a concealed carry permit and practicing at the range. California must also foster a culture of self-defense and honoring property rights by voting for pro-liberty and pro-Second Amendment candidates wherever they can. From local school boards to city councils to sheriff’s departments, citizens need to start voting for the change they desperately need. That won’t happen if the Prices, George Gascons, and Gavin Newsoms of the world keep getting reelected.
In the meantime, it would be pertinent to look into self-defense. If your city is handing out air horns, maybe it’s time to move.