Gun owners critical of the law argue it will target people who purchase their guns legally and leave a paper trail, rather than those who obtain their guns illicitly.
“It really does nothing to address the criminals themselves,” said Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko, one of a minority of law enforcement officials to openly oppose the bill. “Generally, the criminals that have firearms, they aren’t on any database.”
Beneath questions about the law’s effectiveness lies a sense of unease about how the trove of data will be used. Many gun owners see a sinister intent behind a measure tied to confiscating guns, Paredes said. He predicted that fear would lead to a surge in sales before the new law kicks in.
“Everybody is running down to the local gun store and buying whatever long guns they want to have and don’t want the government to know they have it,” Paredes said. “I think between now and Dec. 31, you’ll see quite a run on long guns.”
Auburn Outdoor Sports would seem to affirm Paredes’ forecast. The store has run ads bearing the phrase “LEGISLATIVE ALERT” and warning that customers have until the new year “to purchase your non-registered rifle or shot gun.”
But Billy Prior, the store’s owner, said he has not seen an influx of customers looking to buy guns before the law changes. Prior, 48, has been in the business long enough to see how people react to new regulations, and he said younger gun owners already expect registration. The loudest dissenters, Prior predicted, will soon adapt.
“Some people say, ‘Forget it, I’m not buying a gun after the first of the year.’ They’re going to buy what they want now,” Prior said. “But what’s going to happen is six months from now, a year from now, something is going to come out, they’re going to want it and they’re going to buy it.”