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The Unexpected Group Urging California's Governor to Veto an Anti-Gun Bill

California Gov. Jerry (Getty Images File Photo)

A gun owners group is urging California Gov. Jerry Brown to veto a gun control bill — but it's one that might garner some special attention, because its members agree with the Democrat on most other matters.

Gov. Jerry Brown discusses a proposal to reduce California's prison population, at a Capitol news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. In response to a federal court order to reduce the state's prison population,  Brown announced a $315 million plan to send thousands of inmates to private prisons and to empty county jail cells to avoid what he and his supporters say would be a mass release of dangerous felons. Credit: AP California Gov. Jerry Brown (AP)

In a letter to Brown, Liberal Gun Owners Association President Eric Wooten called the legislation that passed the state's legislature “unconstitutional, unaffordable, unproven and unworkable.”

The association is the lobbying arm of the Liberal Gun Club, based in the Oakland area, a kind of liberal version of the National Rifle Association. The organization describes itself as “a California nonprofit advocating for the rights of gun owners, from a leftist perspective.”

The legislation, Assembly Bill 1014, would allow a family members, law enforcement officials or medical professionals to seek a restraining order against an individual perceived to be a danger, preventing them from legally obtaining a firearm for 21 days.

Wooten's letter states: “I firmly believe if you consider the larger ramifications of AB 1014 you will veto this dangerous bill,” and called the bill a “giant step backward for both civil liberties and mental-health policy.

The legislation was sparked by the mass shooting near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus, which killed three people and injured 13.

Wooten said the proposed law would not have prevented the deadly shooting

“The proponents of AB 1014 will tell you that it is meant to stop another tragedy like the one that occurred in Isla Vista, but half of those murder victims didn’t die from gunfire,” Wooten said. “The only thing that would have stopped that event from happening was for a troubled young man to get the treatment he so obviously needed long before he committed those murders.”

He said the legislation “provides an enormous disincentive for gun owners (or those merely considering gun ownership) to seek professional or familial help by criminalizing mental and substance-abuse problems, thereby pushing further into darkness those who need help the most.”

He said the California proposal was based on a Connecticut state law that was in place before the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in late 2012 that killed 20 children.

“Maybe that law didn’t cause the Lanzas to become the isolated household of gun owners they were, but it certainly didn’t get them the help they so obviously needed,” Wooten said. “It also failed to take guns out of the hands of a dangerous individual.”

And from a fiscal standpoint, he added, court budgets are already strained because of heavy caseloads.

“Despite recent funding improvements, domestic-violence cases and restraining orders are still suffering because of an overworked court system,” he said. “Long lines, court employees unable to help victims complete complicated forms, processing delays and elimination of court reporters have all adversely affected these cases. This bill adds significant burdens to the court system without any additional funding, meaning it could further jeopardize the safety of domestic-violence victims.”

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