In his wide-ranging exclusive interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom invoked one of his more famous predecessors in Sacramento, saying he “aspires” to be like Republican Ronald Reagan in one particular way.
During a debate on California’s high-tax, regulation-heavy economic environment, Newsom said Reagan – who was governor from 1967 to 1975 – oversaw very high state tax rates, while later criticizing the 41st president’s embrace of “trickle-down economics.”
Hannity asked if Newsom was blaming Reagan in-part for California’s high taxation, and the governor disagreed.
“No, I’m not blaming Reagan for everything. A lot of Democrats do,” he said.
“In fact, I aspire – on gun policy – to be Ronald Reagan, who said AK-47s should not be used for defense. And he believed in background checks.”
In 1967, then-Gov. Reagan supported a bill authored by State Assemb. Don Mulford, R-Alameda, that banned public carrying of loaded guns without a permit.
Reagan, a bipartisan group of state legislators, and the National Rifle Association (NRA) all united in favor of the landmark bill which the future president ultimately signed.
Armed members of the Black Panthers notably protested at the California Capitol in opposition to the law, and some made it into the legislative chamber to voice opposition before being removed by law enforcement.
One local paper ran a headline declaring the “Capitol Is Invaded,” as the Black Panthers were irate about the bill essentially halting their ‘police patrol’ operations in the Bay Area geared toward preventing any purported law enforcement misconduct during arrests.
However, in a 1975 column for Guns & Ammo magazine, Reagan wrote that proposals to “outlaw or confiscate guns are simply unrealistic panacea,” and ran as a staunch Second Amendment advocate in the 1980 election.
He later supported the 1993 Brady Bill — named for his former press secretary who was paralyzed during John Hinckley Jr.’s 1981 assassination attempt – which mandated background checks for gun purchases.
On “Hannity,” Newsom said he is no stranger to firearms, telling Hannity he has shot a Gatling gun, an AK-47 and a musket among other weapons.
“These weapons of war don’t need a deer in their sights. They are weapons of war,” he said.
“Ronald Reagan opposed open carry laws – he was the first,” Newsom said, appearing to reference the Republican’s signing of the Mulford Act.
Hannity said the AR-15 and other purported “weapons of war” have few non-cosmetic differences from smaller guns of a similar caliber, adding he is a fervent proponent of gun safety as well.
Newsom said he is not the only one supporting some restrictive measures, pointing to wide approval of increased background check legislation.
“We don’t have it in terms of the gun-show-loophole-closures. We don’t have it at the extent where you can’t have it,” he said.