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Well, as many of you know the California Department of Justice last week released their “new and improved” proposed regulations for the registration of “Assault Weapons”.
Well… this is not entirely true. They “filed” their regulations with the Office of Administrative Law, but did so blindly. They did not want people to see what they actually were until they were approved. As it turned out, the regulations were leaked… so we at least now know what they are. For those of you that would like to take a look at the 60+ pages, click here
You may remember that last December 28th they issued their first proposed regulations for a legislatively mandated program that was to begin on Jan 1, 2017. Those were widely pilloried for engaging in executive overreach and being volitive of federal law. They were pulled and some of us (me included) naively believed that the DOJ would simply enact the simple directive of the Legislature when in came to SB 880.
Yeah, that didn’t happen.
Basically DOJ waited until mid year, well into the legislatively mandated time frame and then proposed substantially the same damn thing.
They also are potentially engaged in an indictable criminal enterprise.
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So, let’s review the whole concept here:
If you own a firearm that was acquired prior to Jan. 1. 2017 (as proved through DROS registration) then you have the opportunity… for a period of one year… to register that weapon as an “Assault Weapon”.
So… for those of you that are new to this whole thing let’s go through a basic primer about California rifle laws.
A centerfire rifle with a detachable magazine, and one or more “evil” features (such as a pistol grip, telescoping stock, flash suppressor, et. al) is considered an “assault weapon”.
The key here is “detachable magazine”.
This has been the case for many years. The work around to ensure that you had a fixed and yet removable magazine was the use of a bullet button. DOJ had clarified that a magazine that can only be removed with a tool was in fact a fixed magazine. Well a bullet button requires a “tool” to be activated and have the magazine release. Hence, for years a rifle with a bullet button on it was not considered an “assault weapon” since it did not pass the threshold of having a removable magazine.
Then SB 880 came around stating that a bullet button was not sufficient to allow a rifle with one affixed to it to be considered a “fixed magazine”.
So…. on January 1, 2017, ALL rifles with bullet buttons on them would now be construed to have “detachable magazines” and thus fall into the category of “assault weapon”.
If you are in possession of an “assault weapon” and it is not registered with the State of California as an “Assault Weapon” then YOU ARE COMMITTING A FELONY.
Now… the State cannot simply through legislative fiat engage in what is called a “taking”. They have to compensate you for your loss.
In an attempt to avoid considering this a “taking”, the legislature envisioned a scheme where someone who owned the rifle prior to the law taking effect would be able to continue to own it as a registered weapon even after the law’s effect. Basically a grandfather clause.
This is where things go a little sideways.
SB 880 articulates that there are two types of firearms out there: “Assault Weapons” and “Non-assault weapons. It is a binary universe. Either the AR-15 is an assault weapon or it is not. The DOJ proposed regulations decided to create a third category: “Bullet Button Assault Weapons.”. If you look through the California Penal Code for this special category of weapon… you will not find it. The legislation exists only at the executive halls in the Dept. Of Justice.
Please remember… the only governmental body allowed to craft “laws” are the legislature. The DOJ simply enacts regulations to allow them to effectively enforce the laws established by the legislature. They are not allowed to expand on laws to achieve an objective that the legislature was not able to garner enough political support for, during the legislative process.
They are also not allowed to mandate that a law abiding citizen commit a felony in order to ultimately be compliant with the law.
You see… according to the DOJ in § 5474 (b) you have to build out your rifle, make sure that there is a bullet button on it, and then go to work taking photographs of said rifle. Once those photos are uploaded onto your computer you need to send them (along with a payment of $15) to DOJ so that they can “inspect” the photos to determine if the firearm is one that is capable of being registered as an “assault weapon”. If it does fall into their category of an “assault weapon”, they will then perform a second level check to ensure that the weapon was acquired prior to January 1, 2017.
Here is the issue… on January 1, 2017, if you had your weapon rigged with a bullet button then you instantly became a felon, since you were in possession of a “non-registered” assault weapon. Moreover, if you did not have your weapon system completely assembled (stripped lower only), the only way for you to register the firearm as an “assault weapon” is to build it out, install a bullet button, and start taking pictures.
This is extremely problematic.
So… let’s think about this.
It is May 21 and you want to register your gun. Your gun is currently illegal. (Remember… the bullet button is no longer “enough”.) Yet DOJ wants to see pictures of your gun with a bullet button on it.
So now you are going to take evidence photos of you committing a felony and send it to Sacramento??
Sorry… the 5th Amendment mandates that you can not be compelled to testify against yourself.
Moreover… it states explicitly in the new proposed regs that you cannot register anything other than a fully built firearm. So… if you have a stripped lower you have to build it out…. and… put a bullet button on it, which as we mentioned above is (after Jan 1) illegal.
So, DOJ is now demanding that you perform an illegal act.
They are also economically benefitting from that illegal act (remember that pesky $15 filing fee)
That means they are engaged in a criminal conspiracy.
What we need now is a brave District Attorney that is willing to go prosecute employees of DOJ!
See… gun laws can be dangerous.
So this begs the next question…. what do you do?
Freedom lost is only one generation away. You... ALL of you... are sentinels standing watch protecting our liberty. Your sacred responsibilities do not end with shaking your head in frustration.
1 Well actually that is not entirely true. The legislature envisioned that the registration process would begin on Jan 1, 2017 and last through Dec. 31, 2017. As of the date of this writing (May 24th, 2017 the ability to register your weapon is still not available.
2 Actually this is one of the main problems with SB 880, since the firearm cannot be transferred to any third parties in the State of California they value of the property has effectively been reduced to zero. For a “taking” to be legal the property holder must be compensated for their economic loss.
And then there were five…
You might remember a few weeks back, we discussed the variants between Sheriffs in California regarding the number of firearms that a CCW can put on their certificates. There are no State mandated amounts, and there is wide disparity throughout the State. Some jurisdictions limit the number of weapons a CCW holder can have on their permit to three, while others use five or six, and some jurisdictions put the number so high, that a CCW holder can virtually put their entire armory on their permit.
Some jurisdictions even allow for the CCW holder to put rifles and shotguns on their permit, but this is usually only in rural jurisdictions where ranchers use long guns for varmint control and leave their long guns easily accessible in their trucks.
Up until last week, residents of Orange County were allowed to have three firearms on their CCW. Now, to be fair, the process for adding or replacing guns has been streamlined over the years, making it pretty darn convenient for a CCW holder to put an additional weapon on their permit. Unfortunately, with the limited space for weapons, this often caused a high degree of consternation on the part of the CCW holder.
“I really want to put this new Mega Blaster 3000 on my card… but what should I give up?”
A couple of years back, OCSD had made the decision to expand the number of allowed guns to five, then at the last minute tabled the idea. We have always wondered what sort of calculation went into the decision to remain with three guns since there is clearly no dispositive evidence to suggest that five guns creates any degree of potential liability on the part of the CCW holder or the issuing department.
Well… the gears of justice may turn slowly, but they do turn.
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Towards the end of last week, we began receiving calls and emails from clients that had read on blog posts that OCSD was changing their position on the three gun policy. On Friday, we received official news from the CCW licensing unit that as of Monday they would be changing the number of firearms that a CCW holder could list.
So now… OFFICIALLY… a CCW holder with a license from Orange County Sheriff can list up to five (5) guns.
This is a major step in the right direction.
Make no mistake, the rational behind limiting the number of firearms a CCW holder can list is inherently flawed. States like Arizona, Utah and Nevada license the individual… not the weapon. Some states require that a CCW holder show proficiency with the “type” of weapon that they are going to carry… not necessarily the specific serialized pistol. As such, a CCW holder can qualify on a revolver… and carry anything that is designated as a revolver. Likewise, they can qualify on a semi-automatic, and carry any semi-automatic. (Typically most CCW holders that live in these jurisdictions will qualify on both, thus allowing them to carry pretty much anything that is available.)
This scheme is clearly superior to the arbitrariness of three (3), five (5), six (6), or 19 that currently exists in California.
That being said, whenever freedom leaks out through the cracks of the Iron Door, we must both acknowledge the advancement, and take pleasure in the fact that those that would restrict our rights, lost at least one battle… if not the war itself.
We must also give credit to OCSD for changing its policy.
Frankly, they did not have to do anything.
Most people are quite content with a maximum of three guns, and there are a great many CCW holders who only have one or two registered on their card.
As members of Class 62 went through their CCW training this last weekend, a couple of them stated that they did have additional pistols at home, but that they were completely inappropriate for CCW carry, so they had little interest in qualifying them and putting them in the additional “slots” on their permit.
To counter this thinking, I explained that one of the first things that I was going to do was to put my Ruger Vaquero on my permit.
I went to my office and retrieved my Cowboy gun from my safe.
The students laughed when they saw it.
“You are going to put that on your CCW? How in the world would you conceal that?!”
“In my range bag.”
You see, I have no interest in actually “carrying” this weapon. To be sure, it is pretty sweet looking, and I’ve seen people conceal shotguns before, (usually bad guys unfortunately), so I know that from a literal standpoint it could be done… but why?
Especially when I could just as easily carry my 1911, my Sig, or my .38 revolver.
Yet, a weapon that is on my permit creates a legal exemption for me.
The only way that I can transport a weapon from my home (or in my case my office), to the range is unloaded in a locked container, outside of my control.
Weapons that are listed on my permit are exempted from the California Penal Codes specified methods of transportation. I can have my range bag on the passenger seat, unlocked and stuffed full of my CCW guns and be completely compliant with California laws. Not so, if they are not listed on my permit.
With the Ruger now available to be listed on my card, the chances of running afoul of the law has just been reduced. That is a good thing.
So is it a good idea to have your guns listed… absolutely.
Does it make that much of a difference that for some of your firearms that you may choose to list, you have no intention of actually carrying?… nope.
While this new change may give us a practical benefit, we must acknowledge a victory… albeit a small one… but a victory none-the-less.
This week our measure of freedom expanded.
That expansion might have only been limited to two firearms… but it is an expansion regardless.
“Well Dr. Franklin, have you given us a republic or a monarchy?”
“A Republic Madam… if you can keep it.”
"Yes… If we can keep it."
Sandy returned from the NRA and brought back the workbook that was used in the National Firearms Law Seminar for me to read.
One of the entries was an excellent article by Nelson Lund, JD, Ph.D of George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School. It was entitled “The Right to Arms and the American Philosophy of Freedom”.
Light reading for a Friday afternoon.
(The paper in its entirety, can be found at http://report.heritage.org/fp62)
Professor Lund does an exquisite job of articulating the true meaning behind the Second Amendment and the quintessential necessity of the Second Amendment in protecting classical liberalism.
For at its core, our country has been founded on the idea of empowerment of “the self”. We eschewed collectivism repeatedly throughout the history of our young nation, from the tensions in establishing the balance of federalism, to our codification of the ideas of limited government.
Freedom has always been our paradigm. When the State has the power to provide… the State has the power to also take away. Each establishment of State power creates a zero sum game. As the power of the State ratchets up… the power of the individual necessarily is reduced.
To a collectivist, this is perfectly acceptable… since they are, (regardless of their willingness to admit it) following the political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes.
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In case you have never been introduced to Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), he is often miss-identified as a forerunner of conservatism. Just as collectivist and statist despots (see Hitler, Pol Pot, Franco, et al) have been miss-identified as conservatives.
Quite the contrary, all of the despots above… and frankly many liberals today are in reality far closer to the Hobbesian view of the necessity of an all powerful state than their conservative and libertarian colleagues.
Basically Hobbes said, that when people exist in a “State of Nature” (Jus Naturale… or without the presence of a government authority), the law of self preservation dictates all morality. More to the point.. if the act enhances the survivability of the actor, then by definition: it is morally acceptable. Regardless of the effect on others, Hobbes considered this lifestyle to be “nasty, brutish and short.”
His answer: The Leviathan. A government run by a totalitarian benevolent dictator. One where the use of violence and coercion by the ruler was perfectly acceptable since the alternative was violence on the part of everyone else.
John Locke (1632-1704), the true philosophical inspiration of the Declaration of Independence saw a fundamental flaw in Hobbes’ view. Relegating power to a centralized State that used a monopoly on violence to secure an agenda was not only contrary to the intrinsic desire for human freedom, but was based on a premise that “…..men are so foolish that they take care to avoid what mischiefs may be done them by polecats or foxes, but are content, nay think it safety, to be devoured by lions.” (John Locke, Two Treatises on Government, “Second Treatise of Government,” ed. Peter Laslett (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988) ch.4 p.93
Governments are by design oriented towards the expansion of power. Empowerment comes from a single source: The People. Thus, if the power of the government were to expand, it would be at the direct expense of the people governed.
The Second Amendment, was the singular line that could not be crossed. The Second Amendment was not enacted to allow for sport, nor subsistence hunting. The Second Amendment was crafted to recognize the fundamental humanity that the Constitution was crafted to protect.
The Second Amendment acknowledges what the Declaration of Independence articulates. “We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” For without the Second Amendment, the right to our continued existence (ie: right to life) is jeopardized.
To be sure… not all “Conservatives” are antagonistic to collectivism. Some would use the power of the government to enshrine a social agenda that comports to their own world view.
The Founders saw this as a potential problem and sought to limit the influence of the government on the individual. Collectivists have moved away from this ideal since the early twentieth century, and as a result have established the architecture for the potential despot.
I encourage you to read the full article… “The Right to Arms and the American Philosophy of Freedom”. Understanding the philosophical underpinnings of the Second Amendment are crucial to defending it. Understanding the political philosophy that helped establish our Constitution is always essential for the true patriot.
HR 38, National Reciprocity and the Commerce Clause
One of President Trump’s campaign promises was to push through national reciprocity. The simple idea that a CCW should effectively have the same privileges, immunities and full faith and credit as a drivers license would when the owner of the permit travels between the various states.
For those that travel regularly, or even periodically this is not only beneficial, but frankly… well… expected.
If I have possession of virtually any document from the State of California, be it a drivers license a court decision, a marriage license or a tax document the governments of the various other states in the union are mandated to recognize the validity of that document.
Unless of course we are talking about a CCW. Then all bets are off.
Now gun rights advocates clearly have a concern when it comes to interstate travel, but frankly there are greater concerns when it comes to the Second Amendment.
The gem in a National Reciprocity bill is the issuance of non-resident CCWs. Specifically when it comes to our brothers and sisters that live in the certain totalitarian regimes in California, and New England.
Enter H.R. 38 introduced by Congressman Richard Hudson (R-SC)
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H.R. 38 is an interesting bit of legislation.
The bill specifies individuals that have a CCW in one state MUST be allowed to carry concealed in every other state (subject to local laws and restrictions of course). Actually, this last sentence is not entirely accurate. H.R. 38 explains that a state that has legal provisions for the issuance of a CCW must recognize the validity of the CCW that the carrier has from an other state.
So it would be wrong to call this a “National CCW”… since it merely regulates behavior between the States.
Basically, if you have a CCW in California, then Nevada must recognize it.
But what if you don’t have a CCW in California?
What if you live within the Peoples Republic of Los Angeles and your Sheriff does not feel that you are politically connected enough to have a permit to carry concealed? But, you do have a non-resident CCW from Arizona?
Well… H.R. 38 would appear to be your golden ticket.
H.R. 38 has four references to non-residents:
▪ In the preamble, it give its purpose as: “to provide a means by which nonresidents of a State whose residents may carry concealed firearms may also do so in the State.”
▪ In § (a), where it states that reciprocity applies to persons who reside in Constitutional Carry states without licenses.
▪ In § (a)(1), the bill says that it applies to States that have a concealed carry licensing regime for their own residents;
▪ In § (a)(2), stating that the bill applies to States that do not prohibit the carriage of concealed firearms by state residents for lawful purposes.
That is it.
Beyond that, there is no limiting language suggesting that the bill be narrowly interpreted to only be applicable to residents that have CCW’s from their home states.
Congressman Hudson has stated that it is the intent of the bill to allow residents of a states that have restrictive CCW issuance policies, to be given a mechanism to do an “end run” around that restrictive mechanism.
There is one little thing that gives me pause though…
Not a “deal breaker”, and frankly something that is easily correctable. But something that does need to be addressed: Congress’s authority to enact this statute.
H.R. 38 states quite clearly that the power to enact this legislation comes from the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.
Congress has the power to regulate commerce between the states. This power began to be recognized as having some serious regulatory gravitas during the New Deal era. Much of Roosevelt’s regulatory scheming used the commerce clause as justification for federal empowerment. Often the intellectual gymnastics necessary to follow the logic of federal regulatory power were herculean. Farmers that had one or two cows found themselves under federal regulatory guidelines when it came to milk production. Milk that they were producing not for customers, but for their own breakfast tables. The theory was that since they were milking their own cows, they would not go to the store and buy milk that had been potentially transported via interstate commerce. Thus, their activity “effected” interstate commerce.
Even civil rights cases have been justified under the commerce clause. A hotel in Georgia that refused to rent rooms to African Americans was held to be in violation of Federal Law. They were subjected to Federal Law because a hypothetical African American traveling from Florida through Georgia might get tired and need to rent a room. Since he could not rent a room at this particular hotel it “effected” interstate commerce, inasmuch as said traveler might decide to to go on the trip in the first place.
Over the last few years, the court has begun to back away from the Commerce Clause for jurisdictional justification of federal regulation.
This would put a challenge to H.R. 38 in somewhat of a precarious position.
Would SCOTUS be more antagonistic to State laws that prohibit the exercise of the Second Amendment or another expansion of the Commerce Clause?
I’m not particularly thrilled about the intellectual justification of Interstate Commerce either.
§ 926D. (a)(b) states: …… may possess or carry a concealed handgun (other than a machine gun or destructive device) that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce…..
So… this would seem to suggest that once a firearm travels between state lines, it is “infected” forever with potential Federal Regulatory control. David Engdahl of Seattle University has called this the “‘herpes’ theory” of interstate commerce, whereby “some lingering federal power infects whatever has passed through the federal dominion.” D. Engdahl, The Necessary and Proper Clause as an Intrinsic Restraint on Federal Lawmaking Power, 22 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 107, 120 (1998).
It would be far better (in my opinion, and as I mentioned at the beginning of this blog), if this bill… which I have to tell you, I like… were amended to find its authority based on the Full Faith and Credit, or Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Constitution.
This would provide a good solid intellectual justification for Federal jurisdiction, and set this up for a less King Solomon like decision by the Supremes. They would not have to rule in favor of an expansive Commerce Clause justification to support the Second Amendment, nor would they have to sacrifice the Second to protect us from Federal overreach later on down the road based on a reinvigorated Commerce Clause.
For now H.R. 38 patiently waits in the House. If it passes, it will be quite some time before it becomes law.
Regardless… H.R. 38 may very well be the proverbial light at the end of a long dark tunnel for the residents of places like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.
The Golden State’s law-makers that serve in the Public Safety Committee met to discuss AB-306 or as it has been labeled the Public Property Protection Act. This bill, introduced by Assemblymen Ivan Gomez-Lipshitz (D- Reseda) makes it a crime (Felony) to use deadly force, or the threat of deadly force in defense of oneself or others. The philosophical underpinnings of the bill are based on the belief that people within the borders of California are in fact property of the State. Since property can be regulated, the State has chosen to regulate the interactions between peoples.
“Our people are our resources!” stated Assemblyman Gomez-Lipshitz during his opening presentation. “Too many individuals have taken it upon themselves to act as individuals.” “This needs to stop now! I cannot tell you how many times my office has informed me that one of my constituents tried to rob someone… an act that itself is nothing more than a cry for help… and the person they were trying to rob did the unthinkable… they shot my constituent! This needs to stop now!”
Heidi Washington “Aurora” Francis Snodgrass, a sociology professor at Cal State Van Nuys summed up the prevailing sentiment among the pro-306 action committee:
“There is systemic racism, sexism, economic subjugation and generally bad behavior from privileged men and womyn. (Ms. Francis insisted that the use of the “y” in “womyn” be used in her quote. We explained that our spell checker would probably auto correct and she threatened us with a law suit. Under advice of counsel we deactivated our auto-correct for this paragraph).
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“Allowing people to defend themselves means that their dependence on the State is negligible. This is antithetical to California’s Progressive Values. If everyone is property of the State, we kill two birds with one stone. We move closer to Marxist ideology while at the same time allowing the state to further a progressive agenda.”
(We pointed out that her use of the idiom “killing two birds with one stone” was a patriarchal stereotype and evoked both violent imagery as well as being “speciest”. She responded by ending the interview claiming that our push back was a “triggering event”. She has threatened us with legal action for the emotional devastation she now is claiming.”
Lauren “Snooky” Gomez, the spokesperson for Gang Protection Now, an advocacy group for minority gangs that claim unfair persecution from privileged society, and an outspoken supporter for AB-306 had this to say:
“We love this bill! Love it! With all of these doctors, lawyers, and other rich people now packing heat, the playing field is starting to level. We used to be able to feel pretty comfortable that we could do the things we needed to do to get the stuff we needed to get with little to no resistance coming from the people we needed to take them from. Now when we go about our work… there is the real possibility that we might get killed! This S@#$T has got to stop! If people are told they can’t fight back, then it makes out job a lot easier, and a lot safer. We know that the legislature is going to support this… we told them too.”
When pressed about the comment regarding the legislature Mr. Gomez explained:
“Look, we own those guys. We are their constituents, not the people that live in their districts. We provide the money, the man power, and when necessary the muscle to make sure that they stay there in their nice air conditioned halls. We might not vote… but we make sure that the people that do vote, vote the right way.”
AB-306 is expected to pass the public safety committee and head to the full Assembly for approval. Governor Brown has already signaled his willingness to sign it.
"This story is for all intents parody… all characters are fictional…. if you read this and lost your mind and spent hours googling the people in the story or the legislation then you clearly did not read to the end!"
Last Thursday, we had a visit from the California Dept. of Justice Firearms Bureau, field representative.
This is in some circles referred to as an “audit”.
It was non-adversarial to say the least. She looked at a smattering of our files, made some recommendations on how we can improve, and showed us where we were flat out “not in compliance” with new laws… rest assure, that has been rectified. In fact, now when you come in to Artemis, you can see a copy of our FFL, our Certificate of Eligibility, and a copy of my FSC examiners card. If you are also the type of person who stays up at night concerned about safety warning signs not being present at the time of a firearm pick up… well, be assured… they have been ordered and will arrive sometime this week.
Of course, we had a conversation about the Assault Weapons registration process…. and she had no information. Which I pointed out was kind of funny… she was at our place to make sure that we were legally compliant with California Regulations… at the same time that her agency was breaking the law that California Legislature passed.
We then got into the question of the Straw Purchase.
Tongue and cheek ribbing about over regulation aside… this one is important and frankly I agree with her on it.
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Both State and Federal Law prohibit the sale of a firearm to what is referred to as a “Straw Purchaser”. This is someone who acts essentially as the agent of another individual that cannot legally purchase a firearm.
Now, at the Federal level this makes perfect sense. There are certain people that are prohibited from buying firearms as a condition of their mental health or their status as a felon. They have lost their rights for a variety of things from their Fourth Amendment protections to their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
The thing is, that for them to reach this status… (for rights to have been taken away) they had to be subjected to judicial proceedings first.
If they are able to coerce or persuade an individual (that still has the right to purchase a firearm) to do so on their behalf, then a crime has been committed. I think we can all understand that.
California has a different problem.
Without any judicial proceeding taking place, each citizen of the State of California has had a portion of their rights taken away by the Legislature. Under the guise of health, safety and welfare, the State of California has determined that a variety of handguns that are perfectly legal everywhere else in the Union, are not legal here because they are “dangerous”… well actually, they are deemed “unsafe” since they have not been blessed by the State.
This would be perfectly acceptable…. under normal circumstances except for one fundamental ILLOGICAL flaw:
There are still classes of people that can own them legally in the State.
Chief among them: Law Enforcement Officers.
As a Law Enforcement officer they retain the right to buy whatever they want. Literally, the State of California allows police officers to buy for their personal inventories, weapons that the State by definition considers to be “unsafe”.
What is more problematic is that the same officer that buys an “off roster” gun is then legally allowed to sell that gun to any non-prohibited person that resides in the Sate of California.
So… if a cop buys a Gen 4 Glock (a weapon that is sold throughout the entire country) and then decides he does not want it anymore, he can sell it to his neighbor who could not legally purchase it new from the gun store.
Here is the thing… everyone wants a Gen 4 Glock. Why? Well… perhaps it might be the sheer fact that it is newer, it might also be the fact that it has better design features then the Gen 3 which is available.
So, a gun that normally would cost about $500 in Arizona, can command a “used” price of upwards of $1000 in California, because the supply is so limited. Primarily limited to… you guessed it… law enforcement officers that are willing to sell theirs.
The ATF recently sent a letter to California Police Chiefs warning them that some of their officers are getting dangerously close to running side businesses of selling “off roster” guns. This is problematic as far as the ATF is concerned because the only way to legally trade firearms without an FFL is to not generally be in the business of doing so. A cop that has bought and sold 100+ off roster guns in the course of a year (yeah… that is a real example)… kinda sounds like an unlicensed firearms dealer.
The market can work in reverse too.
Bob decides he wants to get a Gen 4 Glock. Problem is Bob is not a cop. So Bob orders a Gen 4 Glock for his buddy Frank who is a cop. Frank does the paper work to get the gun then turns around and “sells” it to Bob.
Yeah.. that is a Straw Purchase. For the simple reason that when Frank fills out the ATF paperwork, he purposefully states that he is the “actual buyer” of the firearm. In the hypothetical, I just posited, Frank really is not the “actual buyer”, Bob is. Frank is “the legal middleman”… and quite possibly a “Straw Purchaser”.
Here is the question. The law prohibits someone from buying a firearm on behalf of someone they know is a “prohibited person”. But Bob is not really a “prohibited person” is he? It is perfectly legal for Bob to purchase a firearm, the State of California simply does not want him to purchase THAT particular firearm… at least not “new”.
There is a very very simple way to solve this problem.
It is elegant, removes the temptation for Law Enforcement Officers to engage in what could be seen as a dubious side business that runs afoul of Federal Law. It also allows individuals in the State of California to simply and easily buy new weapons that are available to law abiding citizens throughout the country.
It will save thousands of hours a year in the processing of DROS applications and will allow DOJ Field Representatives quicker compliance checks. (This will become even more important in the near future when ammunition sales become just as regulated as gun sales.)
Simply end the legislative tyranny of that silly roster!
Last Friday, I lectured at the California Rifle and Pistol Association’s headquarters in Fullerton. We have been invited to offer our Pre-CCW lecture at the CRPA headquarters once a month.
As is always the case when I lecture, I end up learning something interesting in the process. The nugget that I got from this class involved the number of weapons that we can have on our CCW permit.
There has never been a standardized position statewide regarding the number of firearms that a CCW holder can have on their permit, and that is seriously unfortunate. To make matters even more… shall we say “dynamic”… the possibility of national reciprocity complicates this issue even more.
In Utah, for example there is no requirement regarding limiting the number of firearms that a CCW holder carries. So… imagine a world where we now have national reciprocity, I know… the feeling makes me giddy too but I digress… regardless, we have two individuals. One lives in Ventura County and is licensed to carry three specifically listed pistols concealed. His friend lives in Utah, and has a license to carry from there. The two are visiting in Lake Tahoe. The Ventura resident is limited to the guns he can carry. The Utah resident can carry anything he wants. Literally under this scenario the Utah resident has more rights, (read less potential liability) in California then the citizen of California does.
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So during this class the question was asked “how many guns can I have on a permit?”
I told them that for Orange County the number is pretty much set at three. A couple of years ago there had been some discussion of extending the number to five, but at the last minute they decided to pull that off the table.
Rick Travis, the Executive Director of CRPA was in attendance. I asked him if he knew if it were confirmed that the Sacramento Sheriff had authorized five weapons on a CCW holder’s card.
He nodded in affirmation, and went on to tell me that there were counties (albeit rural ones) that have no limit. (a cursory search of our surrounding neighbors turned up that Riverside allows six guns on a permit!)
Even the mandate to have the firearm registered to you as a specific individual has fluctuated over time.
All of the guns that Sandy and I own were accumulated during our marriage… which by definition means that they are community property. Community property true… but registered either individually to me or to Sandy. (Why registration cannot be done in a corporate form for businesses, or husbands and wives is completely beyond me.)
That means that since our CCW permits require specific firearms be registered to us as individuals, I can’t carry Sandy’s gun. Well, actually that is not an accurate statement… I cannot carry my joint ownership firearm that happens to be registered in Sandy’s name. The reverse is also true… she cannot carry a gun that she owns but is registered to me.
So, that brings us to the concept of rationalism.
What is the rational behind this rationing concept?
There is none.
A couple of years ago the Orange County Sheriffs dept. was all set to increase the number of guns from three to five. (A step in the right direction,… even if it is still somewhat arbitrary).
In the eleventh hour they nixed it.
We have no idea. Someone thought that by increasing the number of guns on a permit there would be a commensurate increase in liability. How they came to this conclusion is beyond me.
Regardless… that is where we are. A system of rationing with no rational basis behind it.
Six guns… three guns… five guns… unfortunately the entire system misses the point. It’s not about the number of guns… it’s about the responsibility of the gun owner to train. The gun is just a tool. A very efficient tool to be sure, but a tool none-the-less.
When the focus turns from the law abiding citizen, to the specific tool that they happen to employ a false sense of security arises. One that can potentially have tragic consequences.
The Pinnacle of Multi Tasking
During our CCW class this past weekend, we had the pleasure of hosting a returning client from out of State…. she just so happens to be the daughter of Bret, our instructor.
Sara went and got herself married a couple of years ago to a fine sailor in the US Navy. After a stint in Guantanamo Bay, the two have moved to Virginia for her husband’s duty assignment.
She had come home to visit her family, and in furtherance of getting her CCW in Virginia, decided to take our class, which (we learned) evidentially satisfies the training requirement there as well.
Not wanting to miss out on the fun of watching his daughter, Bret decided to audit the class as well.
For those of you who have been through our program before, you know one of the consistent themes throughout the class is the development of “Mastery of Skill at Arms”. This is a poetic way of saying, developing muscle memory.
(If you have arrived here from our newsletter, continue reading here:)
Bret chimed in on the first instance of “muscle memory” and related a story to the class that had happened to him.
For those of you who don’t know Bret, he is a recently retired Lt. with the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Dept.
He spent his entire career working in various capacities with the Sheriff from the jails, to the courts, to Patrol and ultimately as he reached the upper ranks, management. Fairly early on in our business Bret came in as a student.
He had access to various elective and mandatory training through the Sheriff, but he also sought out training opportunities on his own. He became a regular client, and after his retirement from the Sheriffs dept. became one of our instructors.
Bret shoots a lot.
In addition to demonstrating shooting techniques on our systems, he also is a regular competitor at various shooting competitions throughout the state. (He has also recruited one or two Artemis students to join him on the circuit!)
The story he told was interesting.
Remember… Bret spends a lot of time demonstrating techniques to our clients. Repetition after repetition takes place in the Lab showing our students the proper methodology for doing either the simplest administrative reload, to the the most complex malfunction clearance.
So, there he was at a live fire competition. He had a specific shooting string that needed to be completed under time, with the requisite amount of accurate hits. He was also limited in the amount of ammunition he had available to equalize the field between the semi-auto crowd (which he was one of) and the revolver guys.
After his first shot went down range, he saw that his slide had not completely gone forward into battery.
He instantly began an intellectual process of how he would need to proceed to get his gun back into battery, and not eject one of the precious rounds he had in his firearm. (One miss, or one shot not fired would detract from his over all score. If he simply racked the slide, he would eject an unused round and make him ineligible to win this string.)
As he thought about what he was going to do, he saw his gun rotate back into his workspace. He watched as his support hand slapped the magazine into place, and then instantly go to the slide and power stroke the action.
With the action set his sites were back on target and without thinking about it, he was shooting again.
He had trained to instantly go into an immediate action drill and clear a malfunction when one presented itself. He had done this so many times, that when he perceived a malfunction… while thinking about something else… he cleared it quickly, efficiently, and dynamically “returned to the fight”.
This was not the best course of action for Bret the “competitive shooter”.
But Bret is not a “competitive shooter” first and foremost.
He is a gunfighter.
While that round that he intellectually wanted to save ended up being thrown clear of the injection port, and his score was diminished… he realized something far more important: If this had been a life and death event, he would have had the Mastery of Skill at Arms to get his gun back into battery and back into the fight.
There exists two worlds in the gun community. The world of the recreational shooter, and the world of the gunfighter. Gunfighters, certainly can shoot recreationally… but the purpose of their shooting is the overall development of Mastery of Skill at Arms. While Bret may have lost that competition, his realization of the development of his own skill set was far more rewarding.
We train every day. We train with purpose.
Neil Gorsuch is in the process of becoming confirmed as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, filling the seat of my hero Justice Scalia after his untimely death last year.
The hearings showed that Gorsuch shares a judicial temperament similar to Scalia which would ultimately maintain the balance that has developed on the court over the last few years between conservative and activist oriented justices.
Essentially, nothing new and exciting is going to take place in the direction of the Court as a result of a Gorsuch appointment… but, that does not mean that politics does not play a role in the confirmation process… SIGH!
There were some anger and resentment from the Democrats regarding President Obama’s attempt to fill Scalia’s seat with Merrick Garland in the last few months of his presidency. An attempt that the Republicans met with resistance and ultimately prevented from happening. This still seems to be a source of consternation among the Democrats.
Hand wringing aside, the purpose of the confirmation hearing is to allow for the Senate to play a role in the nomination process…. specific to the individual nominated… not to air grievances arising from unrelated political dramas.
Regardless, during the confirmation process, we saw some examples of an attorney with a complete and utter lack of understanding of basic Constitutional principles, zero regard for the rule of law, and frankly a juvenile idea of established jurisprudence.
Fortunately, these displays did not come from Neil Gorsuch…
They came from California’s two Senators.
(Begin here, if you came from the blog)
In an exchange between Senator Diane Feinstein and Gorsuch, she asked him about the Second Amendment. Specifically, she wanted to know his thoughts on “assault rifles” as well as his understanding of Heller v. District of Columbia… and, if that ruling recognizes a “fundamental right” of citizens to keep and bear arms.
Gorsuch correctly demurred on the question of “assault rifles” (The nominated cannot comment on, nor give future litigants a statement that would indicate a pre determined outcome to future litigation). He did say that he would follow the law as established under the Heller ruling.
This seemed to really bother Senator Feinstein.
She wanted to know what Gorsuch thought of the law and whether by extension, it should be followed. Gorsuch's response was incredulity. “Senator, it does not make any difference what my thoughts are, it is the law.”
The fact that she would press him on this issue is problematic in two respects: First, as he has articulated, (and she must know)… it is the “law”, and arbitrarily not following it because of a personal belief cheapens all law, and ultimately leads to lack of predictability. How can a society function if knowledge of what is right and wrong is outcome based, dependent exclusively on a set of facts of a particular case, rather than on legal principles.
Second, if a judicial nominee were to signal his antagonism towards the underlying principle of existing law, that would clearly telegraph to future litigants how the outcome of a case challenging that law would go… in least, as far as this particular jurist is concerned.
The second round of insanity came from a tweet issued by Senator Kamela Harris. California’s Junior Senator.
She announced that she would not support Gorsuch since he placed “legalisms” over the rights of average citizens.
Again… she is looking for outcome based judicial principles. A jurist that will uphold Constitutional principles over the desired policy outcome of a case simply cannot be tolerated.
(ALSO… what the hell does she mean by “legalisms”? Is she referring to… um.. you know…”the law?!?!”)
Remember, until recently Ms. Harris was the highest ranking law enforcement official in the State of California, serving as Attorney General. It is no wonder that we have the problems in California that we do from the legislature, to the enforcement of laws, to the expansion of administrative regulations… clearly in defiance of Constitutional principles.
Senator Harris gave us a peek behind the curtain as it relates to leftist jurisprudence. The Constitution (read “legalisms”) is an irritant to her. A road block that prevents legislative as well as case law from allowing unconstitutional laws and programs from being enacted.
Senator Harris, Senator Feinstein,… the purpose of the Constitution is not to expand the role of Government, it is to RESTRICT the government from encroaching on the rights of the individual. The judiciary is to interpret the laws crafted by the legislature and ensure that they comport with Constitutional principles.
I would suggest that during the Congressional recess you consider taking a basic civics course.
Ladies of the night….
No wait! That’s wrong!
Yes… that is better.
Last Thursday, we had Ladies’ Night at Artemis. Typically during Ladies Night… I set myself up at the front desk and stay put until our clients go into the lab. Each month, we have a different themed lecture and different speakers. I usually stay out of the mix.
March was different. Stacie, who runs our Ladies Night program had asked me to be the “guest” lecturer for this month with a focus on Situational Awareness… The dynamics of the threat cycle and… if I wanted, a little law and philosophy, because… hey… its me.
My impressions (of Ladies’ Night) were not what I expected them to be. Many of the women that come to this program are regulars, and as such, I already had a fair amount of knowledge of their personalities. There were a number of newcomers though… Some had husbands that train at Artemis… or are wives and daughters of law enforcement officers… others, like the mother and daughter duo… found us on the internet and thought “Ladies Night” would be a good way to introduce themselves to us.
Of the women that I know in the program, I would consider them all to be strong and independent. Those that train with us regularly have a high level of gun handling skills and understand the basic fundamentals of use of force philosophy. Some of them… are CCW holders and as such feel a deep responsibility to continuously train.
I hope that my audience found my lecture interesting and intellectually stimulating. They did ask some very pertinent questions and I am proud to report no one fell asleep during the presentation.
In the lab however, we all became students.
If you have arrived from the newsletter, continue reading from here.
Those that had little to no gun handling experience started at square one and progressed nicely. They had drilled into them the importance of gun safety, muzzle discipline and began the process of becoming defensive shooters.
Towards the end of the night, our new guests made their way over to the 300 where I was putting clients through use of force scenarios and doing fairly extensive debriefs.
Two of the women and their actions stood out.
Both of these women, I would consider to be “strong”.
They have a good sense of self and are naturally protective of others. Under a high stress event though, they did the unthinkable…. they failed to act. They did absolutely nothing… they FROZE.
All agreed… that had these women been protecting their children… their actions would have probably been different… but since they alone were the potential victims, they were far more submissive.
Understandable… but unacceptable!
Each of these women have loved ones that absolutely depend on their continuous existence. Emotional, spiritual, psychological, and sometimes economic support are provided by the presence of these women…. were they to suddenly leave this world, the psychological trauma left by their passing would be for many of their loved ones, insurmountable.
Moreover, we as creatures inherently understand that in a world of uncertainties… sometimes, tragedy occurs. We hurt… but we can deal with falling trees and hurricanes. Monsters that attack our loved ones… well that is something entirely different.
A child will never recover from the fact that their mother was murdered. The psychic scar will alter forever the course of their life.
We all must be prepared to act. There are loved ones that count on us coming home. If we fail to act we are most assuredly putting them in harms way.
You have value.
That value is transcendent. That value must be defended against tyranny. There are simply too many people who desperately need you to survive. Forsaking their needs for the benefit of the attacker is, in my opinion an immoral decision.
You must train… know your strengths… know your weaknesses… and most of all develop the willingness to survive.
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