It’s been only seven weeks since 17 students were murdered at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, and only two weeks since the massive rallies were held around the world demanding more be done to take weapons of mass murder off the streets. Momentum is building in support of sensible gun control and the NRA for the first time in a generation or more is feeling the heat for their pro gun advocacy.
Meanwhile, the “top two” primary is approaching fast. Most voters wish to understand what they will be voting on and for whom long before the date of June 5th approaches. In just a little over one month, May 7th, mail ballots will be sent to those registered to vote by mail. It’s time to do our homework!
With the Parkland shooting still so much in the news and on our minds, it is of interest to understand not only who is on our ballot next month, but crucially where they stand on the issue of gun control. So first let’s review what’s on the ballot, then dive a bit deeper on a few candidates.
What’s on the Ballot:
Numerous statewide and county wide races will compete this June. Statewide races are subject to the “top two” primary format while the Countywide races are not. If any candidate in a county race wins 50% + 1 vote on June 5th they automatically are the winner and will not appear on the November ballot.
To see the complete list including state party endorsements, please check the San Diego Democratic Party website at this location.
Below are a few of the races pertinent to our San Marcos community. The candidates listed are the Democrats in the race. An * indicates endorsement by the state Democratic Party.
US Senate: Kevin DeLeon, Dianne Feinstein, Pat Harris (no endorsement)
Congressional District 50: Josh Butner, Ammar Campa-Najjar*, Patrick Malloy
State Senate District 38: Jeff Griffith*
Assembly District 75: Alan L. Geraci*
Assessor/Recorder Clerk: Matt Strabone
District Attorney: Geneviéve Jones-Wright
Sheriff: Dave Myers
Board of Supervisors District 4: Nathan Fletcher, Ken Malbrough, Omar Passons, Lori Saldaña (currently Ron Roberts)
Board of Supervisors District 5: Jacqueline Arsivaud Benjamin, Michelle Gomez* (currently Bill Horn)
San Diego Superior Court: Matt Brower*, Tim Nader
Local elections for San Marcos City Council, San Marcos Unified School District, Palomar College and Palomar Health Boards do not occur until the November election.
Additionally five statewide ballot propositions all created by the legislature will appear on the June ballot. You can read up on the propositions here.
Gun Control Positions
Since the positions most pertinent to addressing gun safety issues are the federal and state positions, let’s take a brief look at a few of those candidates’ position on gun control.
While no candidate has been endorsed for US Senate, clearly Kevin DeLeon and Dianne Feinstein have the most name recognition. Sen. Feinstein’s gun control stance has long been well established. She was behind the now expired 1994 ban on assault weapons and in November, 2017 she and fellow Democrats introduced a new Assault Weapons Ban of 2017 that is stricter than the 1997 version. However it has little chance of success in a Republican controlled Congress. You can read details here but suffice it to say that she has had a strong gun control stance for decades.
Senator Feinstein’s key opponent is Kevin De Leon. He too takes a strong position on gun control. According to his position statement on the issue, “In 2016, he led the charge to enact the most stringent gun control policies in a generation, including his groundbreaking SB 1235 requiring background checks for anyone who buys or sells ammunition.” It is not clear how the two differentiate themselves on the issue as both have very strong positions on banning assault weapons and improving background checks among other suggestions.
Unlike current CD50 representative Duncan Hunter who favors arming school teachers with guns and opposes anything that would restrict “second amendment rights”, his leading opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar has a very different view. He supports sensible improvements to existing law such as lifting the ban on CDC research, addressing mental health issues, banning bump stocks and conversion kits, and mandatory universal background checks to name a few. He does caution that there can be unintended consequences with outright banning of assault weapons however, given the propensity for those types of purchases to shift underground and no longer be tracked.
At the state level, Alan Geraci supports the second amendment but also acknowledges that with that right comes great responsibility. He supports all that California has done to strengthen our gun safety laws. He says, “Assembly Bill 1135 and Senate Bill 880 now requires registration of assault weapons as defined in Penal Code section 30515. I would add the requirement of 8 hours of gun biannual safety training and proof of liability insurance to the California Bureau of Firearms. We require registration, insurance and trained/licensed citizens who own and drive motor vehicles in California. Firearms need to be treated with the same rigor and responsibility.” Suffice it to say that his opponent, incumbent Marie Waldron, has a 100% rating from the NRA.