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Democrat Leading CA Recall Election Polling Has Interesting Take On 2A
And I do honestly mean interesting. While I can’t actually endorse Kevin Paffrath’s proposals, they’re definitely not the standard anti-gun talking points we typically hear from California Democrats. In fact, compared to what Gavin Newsom has to say about the Second Amendment, Kevin Paffrath sounds more like the second coming of Charlton Heston.
Paffrath, by the way, is a 29-year old YouTube influencer who’s actually ahead of all other candidates vying to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom if the sitting governor gets ousted by voters next month. The self-proclaimed JFK-style Democrat garnered support from 27% of respondents in a recent Survey USA poll, just ahead of talk show host and Republican candidate Larry Elder’s 23%. As NY Mag recently reported, Paffrath’s popularity is obviously a concern for Republicans hoping to take control of the governor’s mansion, but Democrats are also not thrilled to see the “quirky” candidate emerge as one of the favorites to replace Newsom.
After reading that, I was curious to learn more about Paffrath’s positions on the Second Amendment. While there’s not a ton of information on his campaign website, there is Point 16 in his 20 Point Plan for the state.
We’ll get to Paffrath’s position on licensing in a moment, but first we really should acknowledge how remarkable it is for a Democrat in California to recognize that the state’s gun control laws have actually made things worse. Paffrath even calls out the state’s handgun roster, which as we pointed out earlier this week, helps to create a black market for pistols that are freely available to gun owners in the rest of the country. I honestly can’t remember the last time a California Democrat was publicly critical of the state’s gun control regime, and the fact that the leading Democrat in polling to replace Newsom holds this position is definitely worth noting.
Now… about Paffrath’s views on gun licensing. In addition to the brief mention above, the candidate’s website elsewhere goes into a little more detail about his idea.
Paffrath’s endorsement of “shall issue” carry licenses is another surprise, though I have some big questions about his idea for multiple-tiered licenses based on hours of training. At the end of the day we’re talking about a constitutionally protected right here, and I don’t like the idea of some residents being able to access “special privileges” based on their ability to pay for additional certified training hours.
I’d also like to know what Paffrath thinks the penalty should be for carrying without a license. He’s right that criminals can carry a gun and most of the time they’ll be able to get away with it, but what does he think should happen to those arrested for merely possessing a gun in public without a license? Should that result in prison time? What about a fine or community service? Should it be a misdemeanor or a felony offense, or should it be decriminalized altogether?
After watching a 15-minute long video of Paffrath discussing the recent shooting in San Jose, I’m of the opinion that the candidate is philosophically on the side of the Second Amendment but a) isn’t that comfortable articulating his objections to gun control and b) doesn’t want to scare off Californians who have become accustomed to viewing support for more gun control as the caring and progressive thing to do. Take a look for yourself:
Paffrath talks a lot about the need for improved mental health services and even more holistic changes that can’t really be imposed through legislation, but he doesn’t really get into his objections about gun control other than to say that it’s a simple solution to a complicated problem. That’s true, as far as it goes, but I’m not sure that Paffrath has studied the issue enough to articulately talk about why it’s such a simplistic solution; both from a pragmatic and a rights-based perspective.
If Newsom is voted out of office, Democrats in Sacramento are still going to have a legislative supermajority, so even if Paffrath or Larry Elder (who I’d say has the more conventional pro-Second Amendment approach of the two candidates) end up replacing the sitting governor, they’re not going to be able to make wholesale changes to the state’s gun control laws. Still, I find it fascinating and cause for cautious optimism that the top two choices to replace Newsom (at least at the moment) are both Californians who say the state’s current gun control laws need an overhaul in favor of the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
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