The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

July 1, 2010
Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman react - sort of - to big gun ruling

Politicians tend to duck when questions turn to the volatile issue of guns, and they're diving for cover again in 2010.

We asked the candidates what they thought as we prepared a package of articles for this Sunday's Forum focusing on this week's landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling, McDonald vs. Chicago, expanding gun owners' rights.

Not much, apparently.

Attorney General Jerry Brown, the Democratic nominee for governor, declined through a spokesman to comment on the ruling.

But in a little noticed action last year, Brown filed a friend of the court brief urging that the justices take up the case. Unlike many states, Brown's said in the brief, California has no state constitutional equivalent of the U.S. constitutional right to bear arms.

"Unless the protections of the Second Amendment extend to citizens living in the states as well as to those living in federal enclaves, California citizens could be deprived of the constitutional right to possess handguns in their homes," he wrote.

Brown urged that the court "should extend to the states" the concept that government "cannot deny citizens the right to possess handguns in their homes, but also provide guidance on the scope of the state's ability to reasonable regulate firearms."

Brown's decision against commenting on the decision was in keeping with his past, at least according to those who remember dealing with him when he was governor the first time.

"Jerry Brown was exceptionally cautious about the gun issue," said veteran Republican consultant Bill Saracino, who formerly oversaw the conservative Gun Owners of California. "He was never vocal on the gun issue."

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman didn't exactly react to the high court decision, either.

Sarah Pompei, a spokeswoman for the candidate, said Whitman "has been entirely consistent in her support of the Second Amendment, and in her belief that there should be no new restrictions on the books."

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, offered a little more insight, saying the decision makes it "critical that California state and local government, law enforcement and the courts work diligently to preserve our gun laws in order to keep our communities safe."

"Getting illegal guns off our streets and protecting California's assault weapons ban have been among my highest priorities as District Attorney and will remain top priorities when I am Attorney General," Harris said in a statement.

Harris' Republican foe, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, said through a spokesman that the decision was a "logical extension" of a ruling issued two years ago.

The decision, Cooley's statement said, "will hopefully reconcile the confusion created by thousands of districts passing their own customized laws controlling the lawful possession of firearms by law-abiding citizens."

Of course, the campaign is young. We at The Bee will catch up to them and make an effort to pin them down on this important issue.

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Stuart Leavenworth on Twitter

Follow "SacBeeEditBoard" on Twitter