One Gun is Never Enough
This past year has seen a bevy of attempts to change California’s firearm laws. Also, a tremendous legal victory has been converted into a significant real victory for gun enthusiasts. There are also big things on the horizon for California’s gun owners.
The biggest real improvement for firearm enthusiasts is that AR-15 and AK-47 clones are once again for sale in the state for the first time since SB-23 (California’s Assault Weapons ban) took effect on January 1, 2000. In Harrott v. Kings County, the California Supreme Court overturned the earlier Kasler v. Lockyer that expanded the 1989 Assault Weapons Control Act list of banned guns (the Kasler list.)
In a nutshell, the Supreme Court said that the list was too vague and that the average person couldn’t distinguish an AR-15 or AK-47 clone that was on the ban list and one that wasn’t. They said that they have to be listed by both make AND model to be banned. There are a whole bunch of rifles that are not on the list which are now once again for sale. It is perfectly legal to buy and own a detachable magazine AR-15 clone as long as the rifle doesn’t have any banned features. More than 35,000 AR-15 clones have entered the state since January.
The California Department of Justice has not taken this development lightly. They initially told buyers that the rifles would be added to the banned list within two weeks. They also lied to dealers and manufacturers, telling them that importing such weapons was against the law. On February 1, 2006, the Department of Justice posted a memo on their website that said that they intended to list the firearms and force people to register them but that they would have to comply with the SB-23 feature restrictions. Later, they realized that this wasn’t possible legally. They reversed course in a May 9, 2006 memo that said that the Department of Justice would not be adding the firearms to the list and reiterating that the rifles had to comply with SB-23. On June 27, 2006, they sent out a notice that they intended to change the California Code of Regulations to say that only rifles that have been permanently altered to not accept detachable magazines could have SB-23 banned features. As of press time, the Office of Administrative Law has not indicated whether it will accept the changes to the Code of Regulations.
As a side measure, the Department of Justice asked their Democratic stooge, Assemblyman Johan Klehs, to propose legislation in support of their efforts on making it difficult to buy or own AR-15 and AK-47 clones. He proposed AB 2728, which would eliminate the Attorney General’s ability to update the Kasler list to comply with the Harrott v. Kings County decision. It also, supports the Code of Regulations change by codifying that firearm receivers are legally considered the firearm. (This has been considered the true before this, just not explicitly in the penal code.)
The bottom line for AR-15 and AK-47 clones is that they are legal to buy and own in California. AK-47 clone receivers such as the NDS-3 and AR-15 clone receivers such as the Stag Arms STAG-15 are legal to buy from gun dealers such as http://www.coldwarshooters.net and at gun shows. Once a person owns the receiver, they can build a legal rifle with a kit. Someone can have a California legal AK clone for around $600 and a California legal AR clone for around $900. Potential owners are advised to stay away from permanently fixed magazine receivers such as the FAB-10 and the so-called “California Legal Bushmaster”. These are inferior to the non-permanently fixed receivers. For more information, interested people can check out http://www.calguns.net/, the website that has been coordinating the effort for legal AR-15 and AK-47 clones.The pinkos in the California state legislature have come up with four new laws that would negatively impact the lives of gun owners in this state. One such bill is AB 352, by Anti-American assemblyman Paul Koretz. This bill would require all new handguns sold to have a device that would imprint the serial number on the case of the bullet cartridge as the gun was fired. This technology doesn’t exist; this legislation would have the effect of banning all new handguns from being introduced and sold in this state. A practical problem with this law is that cartridges can be reloaded and reused so that there is no telling which gun was the last to use that cartridge.
Another ridiculous law dreamed up by the state assembly is AB 2714, by socialist Alberto Torrico. This bill would require that people who buy ammunition over the internet show their photo identification in order to receive the shipment. This is not required when buying ammo in person. This bill also conflicts with federal law. As of press time, it sits on the Governator’s desk awaiting a veto.
The third obscene law spawned by the California state senate is SB 59, from communist Alan Lowenthal. This mental misfire requires gun owners to notify the police within five working days of knowing or should have reasonably known that their firearms are stolen or irretrievably lost; failing to do so would be a crime. The main problem with this law, other than legislating what is common sense anyway, is that it doesn’t define “should have reasonably known”. This could mean anything and could make a person coming back from vacation who was a victim of a crime a criminal himself or herself. Like AB 2714, as of press time, it sits on the Governator’s desk awaiting a veto.
The fourth spewing pile of garbage from the state senate is SB 357, from Joseph “Stalin” Dunn. This law would have added a tax on ammo (the Democrats think people need more taxes) and would have required every bullet cartridge to have a serial number. This would have increased the price of ammo significantly.
The best hope for Californians’ in the future is the lawsuit Hunt v. State of California. Fresno County District Attorney Ed Hunt has filed a lawsuit against the state to overturn the state’s Assault Weapons ban. Hunt argues that the laws are so convoluted and impossible to enforce that they should be stricken. This is the best chance yet to repeal this law. The case is set for January 24, 2007.