By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
How about background checks on buyers of smartphones to save lives?
dennis Wyatt web
Dennis Wyatt

I feel so much safer knowing that California will soon be doing background checks on those who buy ammunition.

While it is true high-profile murderers - those who take out multiple victims - often are found to have stockpiled bullets from a store prior to their killing sprees, most guns and ammo used for the majority of crimes you should worry about are stolen from law-abiding citizens.

I guess Sacramento needs to appear as if they are doing something.

Will background checks on ammo sales stop a repeat of San Bernardino?

Let's put it this way: Did a background check on gun sales that has been in place for years prevent San Bernardino from occurring?

I am not a gun owner. I have never shot a gun. I have no desire to own a gun. I have a brother that is a range master for a gun club. I have a nephew who got a partial college scholarship to go the University of Texas at El Paso and qualified for the Junior Olympics based on his marksmanship. My father and his brothers all hunted.

I have had a rifle pointed my way while taking photos when I was at the Press-Tribune in Roseville. Several years later the man in question took hostages at the Coker-Ewing Real Estate on Douglas Boulevard and killed two people.

That said I am well aware that my chances of being killed with a gun are miniscule compared with my being killed by today's weapon of choice - 3,000-pound plus killing machines that the state issues licenses for people to kill with.

The Center for Disease Control - one of the compliers of death and injury statistics that doesn't have a political agenda one way or another - last did a comprehensive review of all non-natural or disease-related deaths in the year 2013. It included injury deaths (192,945), poisoning deaths (48,545), motor vehicle traffic deaths (33,804), and firearm deaths (33,636).

Most of those killed in vehicle accidents were not the drivers that caused the crash.

Of the 33,636 firearm deaths 16,121 were classified as homicide. The rest were suicides or accidental shootings.

Attorney General Kamala Harris' report on California killings in 2013 notes there were 1,745 homicides, a decrease of 27.1 percent from 2004 despite the population increasing 11 percent.

Of the 1,745, 165 were ruled justifiable homicides leaving 1,580 deaths with 72.1 percent involving firearms or killings.

A third were gang-related leaving 1,053 deaths. Some 29.1 percent were the result of an argument and 8.5 percent were related to domestic violence. Only 7.3 percent were committed during a robbery or 126 death.

The majority of homicide victims in California are Hispanic males between the ages of 18 and 29.

Compare that to 3,000 traffic accident deaths in California in 2013.

Of those 802 deaths were caused by an alcohol-impaired driver with 38 percent of all drivers killed being drug-impaired. There were 435 motorcycle deaths, 324 teen deaths, 612 pedestrian deaths, and 124 bicyclist deaths.

Except for younger motorists and drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there was no hard fast ethnic pattern.

Now let's talk about distracted driving on a national basis. The CDC indicates every day in the United States 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.

Let's say nationally 10 percent of all homicides are of strangers which is higher than 7.3 percent for California. That would mean three people each day in this country are killed by a stranger using a firearm. Losing any life let alone 1,127 in that manner - or any of the other murder victims that are the result of heated arguments, domestic violence, or from gang disputes - is one too many.

But in reality you are 2.5 times more likely to get killed in an auto accident than by a stranger carrying a gun.

That alone means we are not doing enough to stop auto accidents especially when distracted driving and being under the influence account for almost half of all deaths.

Should we conduct background checks of people before they buy alcohol, pick up prescription painkillers, or purchase a smartphone to make sure they haven't received a ticket for distracted driving or driving under the influence?

Suggest that and you'd be laughed out of town.

And that's exactly what the latest gun control measure in California is - a joke.

Does anyone - besides politicians panning for votes - really believe doing background checks on ammo buyers is going to make a dent in the homicide rate involving guns or stop a repeat of Orlando?

There's no doubt that the new law will expand the bureaucracy and make criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens that may run afoul of some provisions such as not bringing in more than 50 bullets from out of state.

But will it reduce the murder rate and stop terrorist acts?

If you answer yes, I can make you a nice deal where the Golden Gate Bridge can be yours for a mere $1,000.

This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.