Assemblymember Bill Quirk
wasn’t in the mood Tuesday
to debate concealed guns.

Republican gubernatorial candidate and Assemblymember Travis Allen confidently laid out a case Tuesday for reform of the state’s concealed carry permitting rules.

“Innocent Californians deserve a right to protect themselves and their loved ones,” Allen told the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

Just 179 concealed carry permits were issued in the sprawling Los Angeles County due in part to local sheriffs being pressured by liberal leaders and constituents, he added. Most importantly, there were zero instances of concealed carry permit holders committing crimes last year.

Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk, however, wasn’t buying.

“I have looked at the data,” said a stern-looking Quirk. “Concealed carry people in California may well not be committing violent crimes–outside the state they are–and I think that just says we have the right law now.”

Allen quickly attempted a response, but Quirk, who prefaced his statement by labeling it a comment, not question, cocked his head sideways and briefly glared before Allen relented.

Quirk’s comment in strong opposition to firearms is nothing new. In fact, he has spoken aggressively against guns and excessive amounts of ammunition in the past.

In 2013, for example, when a number of East Bay legislators met at a press conference in downtown Oakland to support a proposed package of gun control bills, it was Quirk who issued some of most forceful remarks. From May 2013:

“We know the best to get killed by a gun is to have a gun in your house for self-protection,” he said.

Quirk also applauded [then-Assemblymember Nancy] Skinner and Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s pending legislation to tax bullet sales. “You can’t shoot people if you don’t have ammunition,” Quirk said. 

The best way to promote safety, Quirk said, is to prohibit guns, except for sport. But, the East Bay is mostly an urban landscape, he says. “In the area we come from guns are for killing people.” 

Quirk’s comments Tuesday likely gain inspiration from earlier testimony in opposition of the bill by Amanda Wilcox, a representative for the California chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

This week is the anniversary of Wilcox’s daughter’s death via gun violence, she told the committee. “This bill, Assembly Bill 1394, has been tried many times in California, said Wilcox. “This bill has failed and I hope it will this year.”

Indeed, it did after failing to gain support in committee.