On Tuesday, February 6th, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 2 to move forward with 18 suggestions to reduce “gun violence.” The 18 suggestions came from a report produced after Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Terra Lawson-Remer forced the county to pay hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to hire a biased anti-gun firm to analyze what they described at the time as an epidemic of gun violence.
The study showed that San Diego trails many other similar cities and the state of California when it comes to deaths where a gun is involved. Around 70% of deaths where a gun was involved were suicides and around 30% were criminal homicides. Almost non-existent? Accidental deaths, school shootings, and mass shootings.
It is rare that someone in San Diego dies in an incident involving a gun, but if they do, they are likely an elderly white male in east county committing suicide or a career criminal in south-west San Diego County in a neighborhood already ravaged by career criminals. Even though the report clearly showed that “gun violence” is not the epidemic that the anti-gun groups like to claim it is, we can always do more to help our neighbors, friends, and co-workers.
The 18 recommendations in the report ranged from providing resources to prevent suicide and help people get out of a life of crime, to setting up an entire department responsible for helping to enact new ways to take away your guns. There was even a neutral suggestion that the County provide free gun locks. Enacting the suggestions that were focused on the actual stated problems, suicide and career criminals, were supported by everyone. The neutral suggestion of free gun locks was supported by everyone. The suggestions that fund an entire anti-gun department, including a full-time employee, and point the County in the direction of implementing and supporting even more restrictive gun laws that only the law-abiding follow, were strongly opposed by people who respect the Second Amendment and strongly supported by those who are anti-gun.
So, why not pass the portion where we have consensus and leave the divisive, expensive, overstepping measures out? At least for now.
Tuesday Supervisors Joel Anderson and Jim Desmond tried to split out the policies where there was consensus and leave out the divisive, overreaching anti-gun policies. Anderson made a motion and Desmond seconded the motion to only pass the suggestions that concentrate on suicide prevention, crime prevention, and free gun locks and leave out the anti-gun parts. Last year, Supervisors Terra Lawson-Remer and Nora Vargas already refused to pass these suggestions without the anti-gun measures, so it was no surprise that they would vote the same way again.
The vote hinged entirely on newly elected Supervisor Monica Montgomery-Steppe.
Montgomery-Steppe was on the San Diego City Council before she ran for County Supervisor to replace disgraced, failed, alleged sexual assaulter Nathan Fletcher after he was forced to leave office by concerned voters. Montgomery-Steppe had the huge advantage of running as a Democrat in a district that is overwhelmingly registered as Democrats and her city council district was a huge section of her supervisor district. Seeing that the math worked so well in Montgomery-Steppe’s favor, I met with her.
It was a friendly and interesting meeting that gave me an ounce of hope. She told me that she spent time in the south and saw that guns are nothing to fear. She expressed interest in obtaining a concealed carry permit. She told me that she didn’t follow the extremism on guns that Terra Lawson-Remer dogmatically sticks to and she agreed that the extremist gun laws in California are a clear example of what Democrats describe as institutional racism. Montgomery-Steppe promised me access to her once elected and said she was not interested in partisanship or extremism. I genuinely believed that she had a sincere interest in helping her community.
After Tuesday’s performance, I am not as sure.
I attempted multiple times to speak with Montgomery-Steppe about the proposal and the idea of bifurcating the measures that help prevent crime and suicide from the measures that are just anti-gun. Now in office, she wouldn’t talk to me. Instead, she communicated through a go-between that she would review the material I sent her. When it came time to vote, Montgomery-Steppe did not take the opportunity to stand against extremism and the institutional racism she claims to abhor. She made a point of saying she would vote for all of it.
To paraphrase her explanation from the dais, she expressed that each of the 18 suggestions needed the other 17 or they would not work. This claim is not accurate and even the firm that produced the report stated that the suggestions were each standalone. For example, you don’t have to hire an new anti-gun county employee for $150,000 in order to make gun locks available to the public for free nor do you need a new employee to fund programs that help San Diegans considering suicide.
I don’t know why Montgomery-Steppe made the decision she made to vote for extremism and institutional racism despite both being against the values she claims. The go-between who is close to her claims Montgomery-Steppe is afraid that Lawson-Remer’s father (who has a history of political consulting) will run someone against Montgomery-Steppe if she doesn’t toe the line on the anti-gun extremism that Lawson-Remer is known for.
It is not impossible, but I don’t have proof. Let us all hope, for the good of the County, that Montgomery-Steppe finds her way and finds a way to steer her votes away from extremism and away from hurting San Diegans.
In the meantime, vote for Kevin Faulconer for Supervisor District 3. See SDCGO’s voter guide here: www.SDCGO.org/voterguide
This article was originally posted on from San Diego County Gun Owners