Even if you’ve been closely following the Olympics on TV, you probably missed seeing Californian Kim Rhode win the bronze medal in skeet shooting. With that medal, Rhode became the first woman to win a medal in six consecutive Olympics.
Rhode’s story is one that would typically earn her a five-minute-long human-interest feature in the wall-to-wall coverage from NBC. Rhode won her first medal in 1996 at the age of 17 in double trap.
Now the mother of a 3-year-old son, Rhode competed at London (where she won the gold) in 2012 while pregnant. She was bedridden the final four months of her pregnancy and had a difficult recovery afterward — unable to lift anything weighing more than 5 pounds. To return for the Rio Games took a lot of hard work.
Instead, mostly silence.
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Don’t expect to see Rhode on a Wheaties box, or any other general consumer products. If you go into a gun store or sporting goods store, you might be lucky to find her picture on a box of shotgun ammunition.
She’s one of the most decorated female Olympians no one’s ever heard about.
But California legislators have thought long and hard about residents like Rhode, and they’ve decided that they don’t like them.
This summer, the Legislature passed, and Gov. Jerry Brown signed, a number of gun laws that would not have prevented a single mass shooting in the nation’s history. In fact, these new laws will not stop a single instance of “gun violence” that their proponents claim to care about.
One of the laws requires a background check to be run for every ammunition purchase, bans mail-order ammunition purchases and prohibits bringing even a moderate amount of ammunition into the state — even if you originally purchased it here.
For Rhode, who shoots between 500 and 1,000 rounds a day while training, the new law is sure to be a burden. It’s also unclear to her how her sponsor, ammo manufacturer Winchester, will be able to supply her with ammunition.
In an interview with radio talk show host Dana Loesch, Rhode also expressed concern that guns owned by her father will now classify as assault weapons, requiring them to be registered and preventing them from being passed down to her son. “Assault weapons” that have never killed anyone and are unlikely to kill anyone, even if her son took possession of them 30 years from now.
Another law prevents loaning guns to anyone other than immediate family members without background checks and their associated 10-day waits — both before the loan and again when the loaned firearm is returned to the owner.
These laws — and a similar one that’s part of a referendum being pushed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom on this fall’s ballot — have one thing in common: They’ll never affect a single murderer, drug dealer or gang banger.
Proponents believe ammunition background checks will somehow succeed where the gun background checks have failed. As if criminals who were able to acquire a firearm illegally won’t be able to get ammunition the same way.
The truth is that Democrats don’t care about the “gun” part of “gun control”; they care about the “control” part.
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama pardoned 214 federal prisoners. While nearly all had been convicted of drug crimes, a not-insignificant number of them had also been sentenced for gun crimes.
Just last year, a woman bought a gun for her boyfriend, a convicted felon barred from having a gun. He then used that gun to kill a police officer in Omaha, Nebraska, who was just hours from finishing her last shift before going on maternity leave.
The woman, guilty of what is called a “straw purchase” for a gun that ultimately killed a cop, was sentenced to probation.
There is a glimmer of hope for California gun owners.
Unlike Newsom’s “Safety for All” initiative backed by Hollywood liberals and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg (who has an armed private security detail), Veto Gunmageddon is a grass-roots effort to repeal the just-passed laws through the referendum process.
To get on the November ballot, 365,000 signatures are needed by Sept. 29. Petitions are available to sign at many local gun shops.
You can find out more at www.VetoGunmageddon.org.
The rejection of these new gun laws might give state legislators reason to rethink their unending assault on Californians’ Second Amendment rights. Maybe they can instead look into why aloe vera was deemed a carcinogen earlier this year by the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
Conservative columnist Matthew Hoy is a former reporter, editor and page designer. His column appears in The Tribune every other Sunday, in rotation with liberal columnist Tom Fulks. Read Hoy’s blog at Hoystory.com. Follow him on Twitter @Hoystory.