Forcing Parents to Disclose Guns in the Home?  How ‘Bout Booze?

Senator Portantino Needs a Tutorial on the 4th Amendment

I’m pretty sure we can all agree that one of the most important principles of our U.S. Constitution is that we, as Americans, have a reasonable expectation of privacy.  Evidently, that has little to no meaning to Senator Anthony Portantino, who has authored a bill (SB 906) mandating that parents of public school children disclose to the school if they have guns and the specifics of how they are stored.

Enter the 4th Amendment.

The first ten amendments in our Constitution are known as the “Bill of Rights” because they were fully intended to safeguard our individual rights, freedoms and to place limits on the government’s authority.  The 4th Amendment not only protects, but also promotes the expectation of privacy, ensuring that we, as Americans, have a right to be free from intrusion in our homes – whether it’s a physical or electronic intrusion or from a stranger or the government.

The thought that an arm of the government – in other words your local school district – could be forced to question parents about what they have in the privacy of their homes – an item legal to own, no less – is shameful.  School districts have no more right to question parents about what guns they have than to ask how much beer is in their refrigerator.

The very same absurd nexus that Portantino thinks there is between guns in the home and school shootings can also be made with alcohol: why not compel parents to tell how much vodka is in the liquor cabinet, how much wine is in that pricey wine fridge, or how much beer is in that cooler on the patio?  Because let’s be honest here – we all know that kids get the majority of their booze for weekend parties from under their own roof.  

GOC wonders if the Southern California Democrat knows that according to the most recent data from the veritable CDC, nearly one million high school teens drink alcohol and get behind the wheel every year, and shockinglysurveyed high school students aged 16 years and older said they had driven a vehicle one or more times during the past 30 days when they had been drinking alcohol.  Figures from indicate that 1 in 10 high school students drink and drive, and that young drivers (ages 16-20) are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% than when they have not been drinking.

It might surprise the Senator that approximately 4,300 deaths are attributed to underage drinking every year and of these, around 1,600 are due to motor vehicle crashes.  These are tragic numbers.

GOC would like to issue a challenge to Senator Portantino – in the name of saving children – please introduce a bill that would require school districts to require parents inform them of what alcohol they have in their homes and how it is stored.  Isn’t this a perfectly tolerable request?

Gun Owners of California has been a strong and consistent advocate for firearm safety; by no means are we minimizing the extraordinary tragedy of school shootings.  It is incumbent upon us, however to shine the light on bad public policy that will do nothing to curb school tragedies.  Treating anyone as if they are potential “mass casualty threats” with zero evidence is an extraordinary violation of rights – privacy or otherwise – and will have no impact on the actions of law breakers.

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