Tag Archives: California Gun Laws

Gun retailers report a run on firearms ahead of new California restrictions

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Trump’s victory might have slowed guns sales overall, but in California people are scrambling to get into gun stores before January first, here’s why…


Source: Los Angeles Times


Governor Jerry Brown’s approval of sweeping gun control legislation in July has triggered a run on firearms in California, with some stores reporting that sales have doubled since that law passed.

Under this new law signed by the governor, starting January 1, the general public in California can no longer buy a semi-automatic rifle equipped with a “bullet-button” that allows for the quick removal and replacement of ammunition magazines. [Senate Bill 880 and Assembly Bill 1135]

 

Guns purchased before January 1 can be kept as long as the owner registers the gun with the state as an assault weapon. As a result, sales have at least doubled at many California gun stores, store owners report.

“When Governor Brown signed that bill, the first 30 days in July were just insane,” said Joshua Deaser, owner of Just Guns in Sacramento. “It died down for a while but now we are back with everyone trying to get what they can before the end of the year.”

Terry McGuire, owner of the Get Loaded gun store in the city of Grand Terrace in San Bernardino County, said people are clamoring to buy semi-automatic rifles before midmonth, given that the state background check process takes about 10 days. McGuire: “We have people lined up out the door and around the block.”

State officials confirm there has been a surge in gun sales. The number of semi-automatic rifles registered this year with the state has more than doubled over last year, according to the California state Department of Justice. In the less than six months since the July 1 signing of the legislation, 257,895 semi-automatic rifles have been purchased, eclipsing the 153,931 rifle purchases reported to the state in all of 2015, the state agency said.

Purchases of all firearms, including handguns, have jumped 40-percent over last year, to nearly 1 million in 2016 year, according to the state agency.

“We expected this,” said Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California. “Any time the government comes up with a ban on guns, the public rushes to buy them to make sure they have at least one.”

 

Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), a coauthor of the bill, said military-style weapons “enable shooters to take the most lives in the least amount of time” and there is no place for them on California’s streets.

“All of us should be able to go to work and send our kids to school free from the fear of becoming a mass shooting victim,” Ting said. “The bullet-button loophole undermined California’s assault weapons ban and the shocking loss of life in San Bernardino last year revealed the subsequent threat to public safety.”

Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), another coauthor of the bill, said the new law is important. “We raise our children in communities, not war zones,” he said. Levine downplayed the increase in gun sales currently being experienced by California stores. “Gun sales have trended up for a while now,” he said. “Anxiety and strife are being sowed throughout American society. The Legislature acted to limit bloodshed in our communities.”

In addition to the rifle ban, gun owners are anxious about a law by Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) that will require ammunition purchasers to undergo background checks in 2019, and the recently approved initiative by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom that included gun control measures such as a ban on possessing magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.

“It’s like Gavin Newsom, Kevin de León, and Jerry Brown are the biggest marketing and sales guys for AR-15 and AK-47-style rifles in the state of California,” Gun Owners of California’s Paredes said. “Because of their actions, people are buying them any way they can.”

Brown, Newsom, and De León did not respond to requests for comment on the run on guns.

 

Customers who are buying the guns are as upset as store owners, according to Pete Brown, the retail sales manager at American Gun Works in Glendale, where he said sales are “way up.” “People are angry,” Brown said. “They are angry with the Legislature because [the law] doesn’t address crime. Nothing in the law addresses criminals. It’s another way of cutting back on what’s available to law-abiding citizens, and that’s why they are angry.”

Alex Lopez, the owner of Western Firearms in Bell, confirmed that gun buyers don’t like the direction the new laws are taking the state. “They can’t figure out how this is going to affect criminals from getting access to firearms,” Lopez said.

In addition to the rifle ban, gun owners are anxious about a law by Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) that will require ammunition purchasers to undergo background checks in 2019, and the recently approved initiative by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom that included gun control measures such as a ban on possessing magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.

Background: A “bullet-button” is a device used to remove a magazine in a semi-automatic rifle, replacing the standard magazine release with a block which forces the user to remove the magazine by using a tool to depress a small plunger, as opposed to his or her finger. This allows rifles to comply with California’s firearms law. The name came about due to a 1999 California State law which said that a “bullet or ammunition cartridge is considered a tool.” The bullet button was invented and named by Darin Prince of California in January 2007. The 2012 court case Haynie v Pleasanton validated that a bullet-button is legal and rifles that have one installed are not considered assault weapons.


Folks, don’t rest easy… There’s an old and true saying: All politics is local… Laws exist at all levels of government, not just the Federal, and these laws most decidedly can have at least the same impact, and more, on American citizens as anything done across-the-board nationally.


bullet-button
Background: A “bullet-button” is a device used to remove a magazine in a semi-automatic rifle, replacing the standard magazine release with a block which forces the user to remove the magazine by using a tool to depress a small plunger, as opposed to his or her finger. This allows rifles to comply with California’s firearms law. The name came about due to a 1999 California State law which said that a “bullet or ammunition cartridge is considered a tool.” The bullet button was invented and named by Darin Prince of California in January 2007. The 2012 court case Haynie v Pleasanton validated that a bullet-button is legal and rifles that have one installed are not considered assault weapons.

NSSF, SAAMI Will Get Day in Court in Microstamping Suit

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A California Appellate Court has reversed the Fresno Superior Court’s dismissal of the NSSF and SAAMI lawsuit seeking an injunction to block enforcement of the state’s ammunition microstamping law and remanded the case back to the lower court to hear arguments. Keep reading…


Source: NSSF Government Relations Update


microstamping
Microstamping uses laser-engraved codes on a firing pin with the idea of being able to trace a spent casing back to the gun that fired it. Results are inconclusive, and some say unreliable.

Gun manufacturers have the right to present evidence supporting their claim that technology does not exist to comply with a California law requiring new models of semi-automatic handguns to stamp identifying information on bullet casings, a state appeals court said Thursday [Dec. 1].

The ruling by the 5th District Court of Appeals in Fresno overturned a lower court ruling rejecting a lawsuit by two firearms trade associations [NSSF and SAAMI] that challenged the law. The appeals court sent the case back to the lower court for further consideration. “It would be illogical to uphold a requirement that is currently impossible to accomplish,” Justice Herbert Levy wrote for the appeals court.

Larry Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel: “We are pleased by today’s ruling because it means we will now be able to prove in court that this ill-considered law must be enjoined, because it is literally impossible to comply with its requirements, and the law never requires the impossible. We have long maintained that this nascent, unproven, and unreliable technology should not have been mandated.”

Supporters of the law signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007 touted it as a help to law enforcement in soliving gun crimes by allowing them to link bullet casings to specific guns. Hannah Shearer, a staff attorney at the San Francisco-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said that the argument that gun manufacturers can’t comply with the law is bogus and will be rejected by the trial court. “California’s microstamping law gives law enforcement a strong tool to investigate and solve gun crimes and also combat gun trafficking,” she said.

The law requires new handgun models to have a microscopic array of characters in two spots that identify the gun’s make, model, and serial number and that are transferred by imprinting on each cartridge case when the gun is fired.

State officials said gun manufacturers could comply with the law by putting two stamps on the firing pin. But the appeals court said the Legislature required dual microstamping to prevent criminals from defeating the process by defacing or removing the firing pin. Allowing two stamps on the firing pin would not serve that purpose, Justice Levy wrote.

Gun rights groups say it is not possible to microstamp two areas of a gun. Only the tip of the firing pin can be microstamped, and current technology doesn’t allow the stamp to reliably, consistently, and legibly imprint on the cartridge primer from that part of the gun, they claim.

The law was supposed to take effect in 2010 but was delayed because of patents on the technology, including at least one that had been bought up by a gun rights group to delay the law’s implementation.

The law doesn’t impact guns already on the state’s official firearm roster. Only new or modified semi-automatic handguns sold in California must be equipped with the technology. NSSF Senior Vice President Larry Keane said no new models of pistols have been introduced in California since the law took effect, and hundreds of pistols have been taken off the state’s firearm roster because even slight changes render the gun a new model. “When we ultimately prevail in this case, law-abiding consumers in California will once again be able to purchase new models of pistols this law currently prevents our industry members from selling in the state,” Keane said.

A separate lawsuit challenging the law on constitutional grounds is pending before a federal appeals court in San Francisco.


LINKS

Fast Facts on Microstamping .PDF