By: Peter Suciu

The late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” a sentiment used to call for the formation of the United Nations. More recently the sentiment was used by former President Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, who explained, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is, it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

Such a statement must have struck a chord with then Vice-President Joe Biden, who, as president of the United States, has used every crisis as either an excuse or opportunity to take action that pushes his agenda. This has certainly been the case with gun control: any action by a law-breaking, bad actor has been converted into a reason to restrict the rights of law-abiding, good characters.

Following the “mass shooting” that occurred in the early hours of Sunday, April 3 in downtown Sacramento, California, which left six dead and a dozen more injured, President Biden’s knee-jerk reaction was to call for the United States Congress to work on new gun control measures.

“Today, America once again mourns for another community devastated by gun violence,” Biden said via a prepared statement.

“We must do more than mourn; we must act. That is why my Administration has taken historic executive action to implement my comprehensive gun crime reduction strategy — from standing up gun trafficking strike forces to helping cities across the country expand community violence interventions and hire more police officers for community policing,” Biden added. “We also continue to call on Congress to act. Ban ghost guns. Require background checks for all gun sales. Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Repeal gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability.”

Supporters of gun control praised the President’s call for such actions.

California’s Strict Laws

What President Biden, as well as other opponents of the Second Amendment, failed to note was that California already has the strictest gun control laws of any U.S. state. His call for gun-purchase background-checks, a ban on so-called “ghost guns,” as well as a ban on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines are all on the books in the Golden State.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) was called in to assist the Sacramento Police Department in its “mass shooting” investigation. While police recovered a stolen handgun from the scene and soon confirmed that there were multiple shooters, investigators haven’t yet said what types of weapons were actually used – calling into question the President’s request to ban assault weapons and other firearms.

So far evidence has suggested that the shooting was more likely a gang-related event, than a mass shooting conducted by a lone “deranged” gunman.

On April 4, 26-year-old Dandrae Martin was arrested just after midnight for suspicion of “assault and illegal firearm possession,” while later the same day his 27-year-old brother, Smiley Martin, was also arrested.

However, instead of seeing the failures of gun control efforts, some lawmakers clearly are using this tragedy to push their agendas.

“People argue that we’ve got the toughest gun laws in the nation. But they’re clearly not tough enough,” Democratic State Sen. Robert Hertzberg told reporters on Monday.

Hertzberg, at the urging of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, has announced that he would advance a bill allowing private citizens to sue anyone who distributes illegal assault weapons, parts that can be used to build weapons, guns without serial numbers, or .50 caliber rifles. The latter firearm seems a rather odd component of the legislation, as .50 caliber rifles have been used in fewer than 20 crimes in the history of the United States.

The penalty in California could range to at least $10,000 in civil damages for each weapon, plus attorneys fees. Hertzberg’s Bill was patterned after a similar Texas law allowing citizens to go after those who provide or assist in providing abortions. Should it become law, Hertzberg’s Bill will automatically be invalidated if the Texas law is eventually ruled unconstitutional.

“It’s going to have, hopefully, a chilling effect on folks with ghost guns or assault weapons,” Hertzberg said. “You’ve got to have millions of eyeballs looking for these guns. If someone flashes one or talks about it, all of a sudden there’s an incentive among the public in a way that there’s never been before to try to pull them off the street.”

At the national level, House Republicans were quick to blame Sacramento’s rise in violence on Democrat’s efforts in police reform, including the “George Floyd Justice in Police Act,” which would ban no-knock warrants and chokeholds federally, limit qualified immunity shielding for police in civil lawsuits, and install a framework to prevent racial profiling, among other measures. It passed the House last summer on party lines, with one Republican voting for it and two Democrats voting against.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military hardware, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes.