By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
What struck me most about Reynolds’ convoluted logic was its similarity to that of his political allies — outgoing Republican Governor Pete Wilson and the state’s ultraconservative attorney general, Dan Lungren. Earlier this year, for example, Wilson vetoed bills to control Saturday-night specials and assault weapons, while Lungren, then running a losing one-issue gubernatorial campaign based on "three strikes" and "getting tough on crime," supported both vetoes. Lungren didn’t like the way assault weapons had been defined in the legislation, he said, zeroing in, like Rey nolds, on the issue of clip size. And he didn’t like the bill to make Saturday-night specials safer, because it didn’t make them safe enough, while the bill to amend the loophole-infested 1989 ban on assault weapons wasn’t "clean" enough. All this seemed to boil down to a rationale that no gun control is better than less-than-perfect gun control, and that there is always a reason why such legislation can’t be perfect. Democratic state Assemblyman Don Perata, the author of one of the gun-control bills recently vetoed by Wilson, called that line of logic "just-off-the-shelf NRA babble."
Clearly, Wilson and Lungren don’t want to alienate the National Rifle Association, a key Republican constituency, and neither does Reynolds. It was the NRA’s initial contribution of $40,000, after all, that kept Mike Reynolds’ "three strikes" campaign afloat in the early days before the Polly Klaas murder, when his legislation was clearly going nowhere.
The NRA certainly got its money’s worth. Mike Reynolds’ "three strikes" law — anticipating "10-20-Life" — began shifting the focus from the ready availability of the instruments of death to the culpability of those who wield them.
Earlier in the day, Reynolds and I visited the Daily Planet — the restaurant where his daughter was gunned down. Inside, Reynolds introduced me to the owner, a middle-aged woman who seemed not altogether pleased to see him. I went to the restroom, and when I returned, Mike Reynolds was fuming. The owner, he informed me on our way back to the van, had just reminded him that it was six years since Kimber’s death, that all this attention was hurting her business, that Reynolds should stop taking people like me on tours and get a life.
"Sure, it’s hurt her business," says Reynolds bitterly. "But it’s wrecked our lives. ‘When will this be over?’ she asked me. I told her it will be over when my daughter comes back."
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