Tag: CA

Federal district court Judge Roger Benitez has issued a preliminary injunction stopping enforcement of Prop. 63‘s ban on the possession of standard capacity magazines. The judge found that irreparable will be done to law abiding California gun owners should the ban be allowed to go into effect pending litigation.

The Court does not lightly enjoin a state statute, even on a preliminary basis.
However, just as the Court is mindful that a majority of California voters approved
Proposition 63 and that the government has a legitimate interest in protecting the public
from gun violence, it is equally mindful that the Constitution is a shield from the tyranny
of the majority. Plaintiffs’ entitlements to enjoy Second Amendment rights and just
compensation are not eliminated simply because they possess “unpopular” magazines
holding more than 10 rounds.

If this injunction does not issue, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of
otherwise law-abiding citizens will have an untenable choice: become an outlaw or
dispossess one’s self of lawfully acquired property. That is a choice they should not have
to make. Not on this record.

Accordingly, with good cause appearing for the reasons stated in this opinion,
Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction is GRANTED.

Judge Benitez found that while the new law arguably fails the simple 2nd Amendment tests suggested by the Supreme Court in the Heller case, the law also likely fails the more lenient tests favored by the Ninth Circuit. The judge, who is based in San Diego, is bound to use the Ninth’s screwball tests; tests that seem like they were concocted to uphold whatever gun law comes before that court! But even under that low bar, the judge thinks that the State would fail to make its case.

The judge extensively examines the arguments presented by Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office. The DOJ presented over 3100 pages of “evidence” supporting the law, but most of it can be summed up by the Dothraki phrase Me nem nesa; “It is known”. The “evidence”, which the court was apparently supposed to accept without question, is mostly anecdote, news clippings, and position papers. There’s also a curious reliance upon Mother Jones as an authority. (Some of you will recall that I’ve cited Mother Jones in these pages. But, I did it in the sense of “Look, if even Mother Jones says that    (Fill in the blank)    isn’t true, then it isn’t true.”) We were all just supposed to “know” that Prop. 63 is vital to public safety and that an injunction was thus unjustified. (For you GoT fans, the judge was expected to play the part of the Dothraki girls telling Daenerys Targaryen that “it is known” that dragons don’t exist anymore while there were all in the same tent with three dragon embryos!)

One a side note for those of you keeping score: Prop. 63 was also intended to be one of the jewels in Gavin Newsom’s gubernatorial crown. The whole thing wasn’t so much about keeping Californians safe as it was about getting the slimey, used car salesman into the Governor’s mansion.

Legal News

Readers of these pages don’t need to be told that California recently passed new “assault weapon” regulations into law. (Why the quotes? Because, as the new laws themselves demonstrate, the term “assault weapon” has no fixed meaning. It’s a legal chimera.) Those laws are the subject of legal action, but, pending lawsuits do not relieve the Department of Justice from from its obligation to issue the regulations that will actually guide enforcement of the laws. Care to take a guess at what Attorney General Xavier Becerra has been doing? If you guessed “dragging his feet“, then you got it in one.

Gun owners have four options for dealing with the new law:

  1. Surrender or otherwise dispose of their very expensive property
  2. Register their firearms with the State
  3. Remove the features that cause the guns to be called “assault weapons”
  4. Or just ignore the law entirely

(Yes, that last one is an option.)

Option 1 was the intended result. The anti-gun Left thought that passing a law would make all of the naughty, evil, wicked, naughty guns just go away. But as mentioned above, these guns cost money. Some are less expensive than others, but they’re not free either. Expecting people to just give up their property isn’t realistic. Option 2, even if most gun owners view it with suspicion, isn’t possible. Thanks to the glacial pace at which AG Becerra is working, there is no mechanism to register these guns as “assault weapons”. So option 2 is also a non-starter. Option 3 is where things start to get interesting.

The law defines an “assault weapon” mostly by a series of cosmetic features. These do not affect the way the gun functions. The one functional feature is the presence of a detachable magazine in combination with those cosmetic features. Removing the detachable magazine means that it can no longer be called an “assault weapon”. The intended result was that one would have to at least partially disassemble the gun to reload. But thanks to the new market that these laws created, products like this now exist…

This is just one of many reloading systems that now exist that allow a fixed magazine to be reloaded quickly.

The flip side to removing the detachable magazine is removing the cosmetic features. These are generally called “featureless builds”. Why would someone do this? Because a “featureless” gun can have a detachable magazine! If the entire point of the law was to get rid of detachable magazine guns, then it’s failed miserably. These guns and those with fixed magazines need not be registered.

Now back to option 4: do nothing and ignore the law. As long as there’s no way to register an “assault weapon” under the new law, one is by default ignoring the law. But once Becerra finally gets off his lazy backside and establishes a registration system, there is no obvious way to tell a registered gun from an unregistered gun. We’ve mentioned this problem before.

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Legal News

As if on cue, here’s another letter writer going on about his imagined right to feel safe from non-existent threats. This one is willing to admit to your right to keep and bear arms, but only a version of that right that ends at your front door. The “simple logic” he offers in support of his argument is that “The more loaded guns there are in public, the more bullets will fly.” This argument, however, is not borne out by the facts.

As we recently discussed, areas where gun ownership is at its highest are the areas of the country that are the safest. Homicides and other violent crimes occur in those areas where legal gun ownership is at its lowest. The letter writer’s “simple logic” falls apart in the face of real data. The very restrictions he calls for have, at best, no positive effect on violent crime rates. At worst, they make violent crime worse by making it safer to be a criminal. (Think of gun laws as workplace safety regulations for criminals!) The corollary to his argument would be that the fewer loaded guns there are in public, the fewer bullets will fly. But this is also false. Other factors, such as poverty and the presence of the illicit narcotics trade, decide how many bullets will fly; not the availability of loaded firearms.

(H/T: TheTruthAboutGuns.com)

News Self-defense

The firearm is the most versatile self-defense tool that Man has ever developed. It allows the physically weak to equal and potentially best the strong. A 98 pound grandmother can drop a 250 pound thug with one squeeze of the trigger. There’s a make and model that will suit any user or application. But, there are times when you are unable, or not allowed, to have access to a firearm when you really, REALLY need one.

As I write this, the L.A. County Sheriff’s office is conducting an active shooter drill at El Monte High School. A school is an example of a “non-permissive” environment. While it’s physically possible to carry and use a firearm there, it’s not legal to do so. (And the State is trying to make it impossible for even local school officials to allow guns on a campus!) So if the exercise at El Monte High wasn’t a drill, and you were there, what options would you have?

What got me thinking about this was a trip to Disneyland. Disney has really stepped up their game when it comes to security. They used to concentrate on purses and backpacks that guests were carrying into the park. This meant searching mostly women (Who generally aren’t a threat) and ignoring men (…and most violent perps are men!). I don’t know how many times I walked into the park with my knife and they didn’t notice because they were too busy looking in my wife’s purse. That’s no longer the case. Everyone gets looked at now! So now that the knife stays in the car, I started thinking about “what if” scenarios. (Yes, that’s the sort of thing I do while waiting in line at The Happiest Place On Earth. Doesn’t everyone?) I began to notice that there are potential weapons everywhere. These aren’t stand-off weapons like a gun, but neither is a knife.

A school or an office is no different. There are potential weapons all around you. You just have to start seeing things for what they can be made into rather than what they are now. A chair is a place to plant your butt; until you throw it at someone’s head.

Students (or office workers) are taught to lock doors and keep quiet during an active shooter attack. This is a good start. In a classroom, there are lots of heavy objects like tables and file cabinets. Use these to barricade the door. The chairs in the room make nice projectile weapons or clubs, should someone force the door open. (It’s not easy to aim a gun when there’s a chair flying at your face!) Pens and pencils make adequate stabbing instruments; especially when directed at an attacker’s eyes. Look around and think about how this or that can be used to inflict life threatening injuries. Work in teams. While one group of students is throwing things, others should be moving flank the attacker.

Sounds dangerous? It is. But at this point, what have you got to lose?! At the very least, you turn yourself into a moving target. Passivity won’t save your life. You may become someone else’s “meat shield”, but that’s about all sitting and cowering will do.

AB 424 Anti-gun Legislation News Self-defense State

At what point does a species go from endangered to extinct? Is it when the last individual dies? Or is it when the last individual of one gender dies leaving a lone survivor? This may not seem to be a gun related topic; but, here in California, it is. The State’s attempts to “save the condor” affect hunters in particular and gun owners in general. Laws on lead ammunition will ultimately determine the ammo choices, and costs, that even non-hunters will have when they seek ammunition for self-defense or other non-hunting applications.

The popular view of extinction is the latter of the two listed above. When the last male or the last female dies, breeding another generation becomes impossible. Or does it? Cloning might offer hope, some would argue. But recent studies suggest that it was all over for a particular species long before the last breeding pair was parted. This study of Woolly Mammoth populations shows how a species can pass the point of no return even while there may be hundreds of individuals still alive. (Here’s something of a Cliff Notes version from the NY Times.) The study documents the dramatic loss of genetic diversity in the last known mammoth population.

The last mammoths of Wrangel Island died out about 4000 years ago. The DNA of one individual that died about 300 years before that point was compared to the DNA of a mammoth from Siberia that lived 45,000 year ago. The genetic diversity was about 20% lower in the younger sample and showed signs of multiple, deleterious mutations that would have hindered the ability of the Wrangel Island population to survive changes to their environment. The estimate of the island’s mammoth population 4300 years ago is 300 breeding individuals. (There may have been more individuals present on the island, but only 300 or so were actively breeding.) This proved to be too small a population to sustain the species. Harmful mutations built up and natural selection couldn’t weed them out of so small a population.

In 1987, when the last wild California Condor was captured at the start of the State’s breeding program, there were 27 individuals left in the world. Out of that group, only 13 were breeding individuals. All California Condors alive today are descendants of those original 13. Making matters worse, there’s a very good possibility that all 13 were closely related. If that’s the case, then the entire population of California Condors in the world today is descended from less than 13 birds.

Current law regarding endangered species focuses on simplistic census numbers; how many animals exist. 300 large animals on a 2900 square mile island would seem, by this measure, to be a healthy population. It wasn’t. But laws such as the Endangered Species Act were written before science could accurately describe a species’ genome. It assumes that having more individuals in a population is automatically good. But, if all of these individuals are closely related, then even a large population isn’t healthy and isn’t sustainable. Merely counting heads won’t save a species from extinction.

The question to be asked about new or existing laws here in California isn’t “Will this save the condors?”, but rather “Is saving the condors even possible anymore?”. Arguably, the answer to that question is “no”. Gymnogyps californianus is already extinct when one considers their genome. But all of this goes further than condors. Recent studies have shown that some “endangered” wolf species aren’t wolves; they’re coyote hybrids. Under current law, this means that they’re not endangered at all.

It’s time for the law to catch up to science. More than nose counting must be done to determine which species need protection, which do not, and which are beyond hope; and thus, where we should spend our finite government resources. Attempting to save an already extinct species or a hybrid population isn’t a good way to spend the People’s money. Worse yet, we hurt species that can be preserved with these quixotic attempts to “save” extinct species and hybrid populations.

Condors Conservation Legal News

The California DOJ recently withdrew a proposed set of regulations to enforce the State’s new “bullet button” ban. This ban redefines an “assault weapon” to mean any detachable magazine centerfire rifle with two or more features from the naughty list; such as an adjustable stock or a pistol grip on the forearm. While the proposed regulation were an overreach of the law’s intent, they were still rules that could be followed.

The firearms manufacturing community has been introducing new products that would allow Californians to comply with the terms of the law without having to register their rifles as “assault weapons”. (Remember: Registration == Confiscation!) But, by delaying their new rules, the CA-DOJ makes it uncertain which of these new products would actually pass the department’s legal tests. Thus we cannot say with certainty that a “featureless” rifle configuration is really featureless under the law. Nor can we say that a particular magazine release system truly satisfies the requirement that the action of the gun be disassembled to remove the magazine.

One does have to wonder: Is this delay deliberate? Is its purpose to prevent manufacturers from introducing legal products for California gun owners ahead of the ban’s January 1, 2018 enforcement date? Without these products, Californians would be forced to register their legally owned firearms with the State to stay compliant. Or…

Legal News

If Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) has her way, shall issue CCW will be coming to California. Melendez has introduced AB 757 to put an end to California’s may issue system; a system that is rife with corruption. Under current California practice, CCW permits are issued at the discretion of local law enforcement. Many authorities who do issue these permits do so only to their more prominent campaign donors or close friends. Others do not issue permits at all by setting requirements that are impossible to meet.

Melendez said of her bill:

“It is our Constitutional right to defend ourselves… Californians should not be subjugated to the personal beliefs of one individual who doesn’t believe in the Second Amendment. If a citizen passes the background check and completes the necessary safety training requirements, there should be no reason to deny them a CCW.”

Of course, there’s little chance that her bill will make it out of whatever committee is assigned to kill it. But Democrat lawmakers really ought to consider it. The alternative is CCW in California where the issuing authority is another State such as Utah. As we’ve mentioned before, nationwide CCW reciprocity is on its way. California can either get out in front of Washington D.C. or get steamrollered.

AB 757 Legislation News Pro-gun Self-defense State

I guess increasing firearms sales to record levels wasn’t enough for the anti-gun, wingnut left. Now they’ve done the same thing for ammo sales in California. One online retailer is reporting that sales in the L.A. metro area (The State’s largest market) are up nearly 400%. To quote one particularly well known individual, that’s YUGE! Sales elsewhere across the state are…

  • Los Angeles Metro Area – 395%
  • San Francisco Metro Area – 417%
  • San Diego Metro Area – 161%
  • Sacramento Metro Area – 449%
  • Anaheim Metro Area – 264%
  • San Jose Metro Area – 233%

Of course, we’ve warned the wingnut left about this sort of thing before. We’ve also joked that perhaps people like the Clintons, the Obamas, or Gavin Newsom have “gone long” on firearms in the market; but, you really do have to wonder if that’s really just a joke. Perhaps they really are heavily invested in the civilian arms market. How else can you explain the way they’ve pumped up sales?

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It is being reported that the US Army has selected the Sig Sauer P320 as the basis for the new Modular Handgun System design. What remains to be seen is what the new sidearm for the California National Guard will be. The P320, to be designated the M17 by the Army, is considered an “unsafe” handgun by the State. This may change should the engineers at Sig figure out how to violate the laws of physics to add microstamping to the gun.

There are, however, unsubstantiated rumors that P320 may receive a waiver from the California DOJ.  An unidentified Bay Area State Senator has requested the waiver citing the gun’s favorable Feng Shui.

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