In what turned out to foreshadow the talk that followed, a group of protestors greeted attendees to Grass Valley’s Chamber of Commerce luncheon with signs denouncing keynote speaker Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale, Butte County) for his pro-guns stance.
Inside the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building, LaMalfa told around 100 attendees that he cosponsored a bill with Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) aimed at boosting the supply of ammunition available to civilians by limiting how much federal agencies buy.
The bill comes on the heels of reports that the Department of Homeland Security bought up 2.1 billion rounds of ammunitions, LaMalfa said, noting the amount was equivalent to 24 times the ammunition used in the Iraq War.
“I think this is a little bit of a strong-armed government tactic here that is beyond the scope of what the founders intended 230 years ago,” LaMalfa said.
The freshman congressman said he has made inquiries if recent ammunition shortages have anything to do with Homeland Security’s purchase.
“We got these glossed-over answers (indicating that) by buying in volume, over time, they can save money,” LaMalfa said, also noting that increased demand for ammunition can be attributed to citizens’ fear that their legislators will restrict their Second Amendment rights.
“It has basically been rationed due to the fear of what is happening at the federal level,” he said.
After the luncheon, LaMalfa told The Union that the failed bipartisan Senate bill to expand background checks failed to address mental health issues associated with mass shootings and criminals who already circumvent existing laws to secure firearms.
However, gun control was not the main topic LaMalfa addressed at Monday’s luncheon. After expressing support for military funding, LaMalfa spent a good chunk of his time with the microphone expressing disdain for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
“The reality of this being an affordable care act is — I don’t know how affordable it will be,” LaMalfa told The Union.
The congressman also cited a disputed assertion by conservative publication Politico that indicated that Congress is attempting to exempt its members and their staff from Obamacare mandates.
“If (the Affordable Care Act) is so great, why is everyone getting exempted from it?” LaMalfa asked the chamber luncheon attendees.
LaMalfa’s position on Obamacare aligns with his overall stated preference of less government in everything from business regulations to environmental protections.
“I believe the economic recovery we want to happen will happen because of the people and not the government tweaking things,” he said later. “You don’t need a lot of our help in business. You don’t need us as your silent partner or maybe not-so silent. Let’s just open the doors and let you thrive at what you do best.”
The congressman also expressed condolences to representatives of Beale Air Force Base in attendance who lost two colleagues in an Afghanistan aircraft crash over the weekend. Col. Phil Stewart, commander of the Ninth Reconnaissance Wing at Beale, also spoke at Tuesday’s luncheon, which was co-sponsored by The Union.
At the beginning of his remarks, LaMalfa expressed his opposition to military funding cuts.
“Downsizing is the last thing we need to be doing in a world filled with peril,” he said.
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4236.