Why California Gun Laws Suck, Now More Than Ever

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You can get a gun in California—subject to a farrago of gun laws that proscribe certain firearms (I’m looking at you AR-10) and restrict which magazines a resident may purchase, carry or think about (CA mags must be 10 rounds or less). You can also get a concealed carry license—depending on who you are and where you live. But no matter how you slice it, it’s GD hard to tool-up in the Golden State. According to KTXL-TV, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones reckons that’s not good. Nor is he happy about the state government’s decision to save more than a billion bucks by “drastically reducing its prison population” and foisting felons on local prisons. Apparently, “citizens will pay through more property crimes committed by people who should be going to state prison.” In plain terms, “The crime rate at least in the near future will go up for certain.”

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

47 Responses to Why California Gun Laws Suck, Now More Than Ever

  1. avatarAharon says:

    The Baja Peninsula south of California can be turned into Felon Island. Helicopter gunships and armed drones can patrol the island and waterways.

  2. It’s okay. I’m confident that California has developed a detailed plan to utilize police forces more effectively to handle the increase in crime. California residents can sleep easy tonight.

  3. avatarTim Tritt says:

    Sheriff Jones is the one (along with a lawsuit by SAF against his predecessor) who instituted a more permissive “good cause” requirement (personal defense) CCW issuance in Sacramento County.

    • avatarSanchanim says:

      Tim are there any other counties which have gotten nailed with this as well. I mean it should be good cause, because I want too, but if it is a default line they can’t overlook then heck they need all counties to have it.

      • avatarTim Tritt says:

        I am not sure I understand your question, if it is one – not being snarky, just not sure.

        Most County Sheriffs have latitude (in theory) on what they determine to be “good cause”. With the exception of the major metro areas (SF, LA, SD, etc…), the Sheriff is the main issuing authority state-wide.

        So in essence, if you can get a pro-gun/pro-2A Sheriff elected (and the Sacramento election of 2010, the issue came up due to mainly the CalGuns lawsuit and a third person making it a main plank of his campaign) you may see CCW in your county.

        I never thought Sacramento, a fairly liberal enclave of CA, would ever have virtual shall-issue. Its not “easy”, but it is much better than before. A clean record, “history of good choices” (paraphrase from Sheriff Jones in a news article), and follow the CADOJ requirements, you will more than likely be able to legally carry – and about $400 in total costs (training, fingerprinting, application, and license).

        • avatarSanchanim says:

          Ok good to know.
          I am in the county south of Sacramento so I will need to do some checking. Actually if you look at numbers in 2007 there are almost 500 with CCW in my county so that is good news.
          I guess I was asking for more information on the law suite, and if it would have an affect state wide not just in Sacramento county.

        • avatarTim Tritt says:

          I believe it started off as Sykes v. Mcginess (sic)… it was actually two counties, Yolo and Sacramento – mcguiniss agreed to loosen the CCW issuance requirements to drop the suit. The other one continues on the other side of the river.

          http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/Sykes_v._McGinness

          After reading further, it looks like it was stayed pending a decision en banc from the 9th Circuit on Nordyke case – those oral arguments were held on March 19th…

        • avatarBlake says:

          I believe McGuiness was told by the county commissioners that he was going to lose the lawsuit and he was on his own if he didn’t change his ways.

          You can get a CCW in CA if you live in a CCW friendly county. Fortunately, I live in one such county.

        • avatarRalph says:

          You can get a CCW in CA if you live in a CCW friendly county.

          Same deal in MA. if the chief is cool with concealed carry, you get a license. If he’s a statist, you get dick.

          Is there anyone in the world who thinks that someone’s right to carry should depend on whether or not the chief is a prick?

        • avatarKendahl says:

          Iowa used to be that way. Where you lived determined whether you could get a permit. As of January, 2011, Iowa became a “shall issue” state. The sheriffs who had not been issuing permits kicked and screamed. The ones who were used to issuing them had no complaints.

  4. avatarSanchanim says:

    Let me be the first to say….
    I live in California. Just south of Sacramento to be exact.
    The fact is you can’t carry in CA! Good cause? think about it… Totally up to the person issuing the permit as to whether it is good cause. Saying I want to protect my self and my family in the case of an emergency isn’t good enough. I have even heard that rape victims, it isn’t good enough. In 2007 there were roughly 31,000 concealed carry in all of CA.
    In San Francisco there were 2, yup you got it right 2.
    I am utterly ashamed at the laws we have, and the inability for those of us who want to carry to do so. Police departments are having issues with being understaffed over worked, and no money.
    Yeah they are letting the criminals out of jail too! Isn’t that lovely..

    I am honestly looking at a Taurus 24/7 G2 in 45 ACP. Taurus has two models. One is a 10 +1 and the other… Wait for it…… Wait for it….. is a 12 +1
    OMG!!! two extra bullets! aaaahhh it is an assault weapon of mass destruction!!!
    Ok done with the sarcasm, but you get the point.
    Sure I might want to own a sport rifle. And if I had the funds a nice Barrett M107a1 but I don’t have that option according to the state.
    Someday I hope the SAF gets all the crap laws thrown out! It is ridiculous, and as I have stated before it is a 14th amendment issue.

    • avatarTim Tritt says:

      You CAN carry in CA, depending on your county Sheriff. Work to elect a new Sheriff…

      • avatarSanchanim says:

        Yeah I don’t know the current Sheriff, maybe I should invite him over for a BBQ or something..
        What I am saying is it isn’t as easy as I would like to see.
        To top it off the gun restrictions, yes AR-10 or what ever seem silly to me..

        • avatarTim Tritt says:

          I agree – but pick your battles in order of priority… by that I mean, work to loosen the CCW-issuance in each county first, then move towards the state-wide shall issue.

          As for some of the particulars on gun laws – we need to get a new legislature to fix those (bullet buttons, high capacity magazines, 10-day waiting periods, HSC to buy HG, etc…

          I think as more people CAN get a CCW, more will, and they will hopefully start rearranging their views on other laws surrounding guns.

        • avatarSanchanim says:

          Yeah I understand that.
          I guess, I am not getting any younger. I was hoping something could be done at the federal level similar to what they did with 1A and apply it directly to all 50 states thus nullifying any local laws.

    • avatarMashashin says:

      You can always move

  5. avatarKelly in GA says:

    Thank God my home state has a Brady score of 8. God bless the South!!!

    • avatarSanchanim says:

      I take it the higher the “Brady” score the worse you are in their eyes?
      CA must be like a 1!

    • avatarTotenglocke says:

      If I remember correctly, my state has a score of 5. I know state politicians are talking about changing the law, which would increase our score to a 3 (removing the duty to inform and requiring all businesses to allow guns kept in your car in a parking lot). I should probably look into state level gun organizations and see if we can organize a campaign to repeal our one and only stupid gun law….

    • avatarKelly in GA says:

      I like to keep track of my opponents, so I keep the Brady Campaign site linked on my phone browser. California in paraphrase, continues to lead the country in the fight against gun violence. They score an 81 out of 100.

  6. avatarRobert says:

    California’s plan to rule the world:

    1. Hamper right to self defense
    2. Release dangerous felons into the street
    3. …
    4. PROFIT!

  7. avatarRobert says:

    California’s plan to reduce the deficit:

    1. Hamper right to self defense
    2. Release dangerous felons into the street
    3. …
    4. PROFIT!

  8. avatarAaron says:

    Eh….it’s not as hard as you make it sound. Yes, we have annoying laws. Yes, we have hoops to jump through. However, through the efforts of people like SAF and the Calguns Foundation, you can mostly get what you want.

    For instance…

    1) Magazines that hold more than 10 rounds cannot be sold, given, imported or manufactured. If you owned them before the ban, you can still use them. Possession is not a crime.
    2) The AR10 is banned by name, just like the AR15, but that’s a small, fixed list of specific receivers. I can’t have a Colt AR15, but that doesn’t stop me from owning a JD Machine AR15, a Spike’s Tactical ST15, or a JD Machine AR308 (DPMS pattern).
    3) Your linked article about decertified handguns seemed to have completely misunderstood our annoying roster. It’s not a list of BANNED guns, it’s a list of guns certified for sale in CA…an annoying and pricey process. As long as the manufacturers do their part, a certified gun will never be decertified. The list of decertified guns is a list of guns whose manufacturers did not renew the paperwork.

    Off roster handguns can still be private party transferred through an FFL, and there are various exemptions to get an off roster handgun (google “Single Shot Exemption”).

    All in all, yes, it’s annoying to have to deal with bullet buttons v. featureless and 10rd magazines, but buying a gun in CA looks something like this.

    Step 1: Walk into gun store.
    Step 2: Point and say “I want that one”.
    Step 3: Fill out the Fed paperwork. Pay your FFL.
    Step 4: Leave, come back in 10 days.
    Step 5: You have a new gun.

    Annoying? Yes. Are we working on getting rid of them? Yup, CGF has lawsuits pending against the roster, on CCW issues, and against the assault weapons ban. But the fact remains that we’re doing ok, thanks.

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      Step 1: Walk into gun store.
      Step 2: Point and say “I want that one”.
      Step 3: Fill out the Fed paperwork. Pay your FFL.
      Step 4: Leave, come back in 10 days.
      Step 5: You have a new gun.

      Unless you want the bi-tone version of that new XD(M), and you can’t have it because it’s not on the list. Only the all black version is, and the law sees them as two completely different guns for which the manufacturer has to pay two completely separate fees to send them through the approval process. So I guess, as long as you want what they allow you to have, you’re golden.

    • avatarSanchanim says:

      I agree we are making headway, but one would hope eventually some of these laws get overturned for good. The hard part seems like if the states says one thing then the cities can say something else.
      Yes we can buy guns, yes you can pay $400 and jump through hoops and get a CCW, but having said that Dian Fienstien wants to not except CCW’s from other states. I don’t think Barbra Boxers does either.

      Also as far as high capacity magazines It isn’t a crime to bring a disassembled one into the state just not put it together! You can also “repair” a low capacity magazine into a high capacity magazine. Yeah really stupid laws.
      I grew up here all my life except a period in Israel but to this day I sometimes question what the heck they were thinking when they came up with this stuff! Were they taking advantage of the medical marijuana laws!
      i think I will go through the trouble of getting a CCW hopefully it will hep give us a voice later on. Just got to save up the $400…

  9. avataruncommon_sense says:

    Sanchanim might get his wish of a federal ruling helping Komifornia. For anyone that doesn’t already know, Judge Legg struck down Maryland’s “good cause” requirement for issuing concealed carry licenses. (Stunningly he cited the 2nd Amendment and said that right was all the reason a person needed!) Of course Maryland has appealed his ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. If the ruling stands — and lots of legal types believe it will — this precedent could be a deathblow to the likes of New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and California. About the only state that it wouldn’t affect is Illinois which has no provision whatsoever for concealed carry.

    • avatarSanchanim says:

      That is great news. We know if they push to SCOTUS they have sided on the 2A time and again. they may not like guns but they understand that the states are basically in violation. It is a lot of hard work, you would figure if you could go straight to SCOTUS and basically say, ok all 1000 of these laws for every city, and county in a given state are wrong and have all of them over turned at once it would seem like a better use of time.

  10. avatargirlswithguns says:

    Thanks to Calguns.net, CA is getting better. Calguns has been holding feet to the fire to make sure that the various counties actually follow the law. I believe it’s also Calguns that has been pushing the fight to make sure that CCW’s are issued consistently within a county. I.e, that if one person gets a CCW based on a certain GC, that others with that same GC who are also otherwise qualified also get one. A number of counties are now issuing far more than they used to.

    But overall, CA gun laws still suck.

  11. avatarfred says:

    Its county by county. Calgun and SAF and CRPA are working together to follow a building block by block legal strategy that’s working but requires patience to win. Donate $ if you want to help.

  12. avatarrrangel says:

    girlswithguns, there is a distinction between the calguns.net forum and the Calguns Foundation. They are not one and the same. The non-profit foundation is actually a separate entity that was spawned by members of the calguns.net forum community like Gene Hoffman. I would know since I’m the former forum owner. The foundation has board members like Bill Wiese and others.

    Yes, California gun laws do supremely suck. With the Heller decision, and now incorporation, things are changing. We could see shall issue and also restoration of rights taken away by the CA AWB. You can’t ban a whole class of firearms that are “in common use.”

    The state recently banned open carry. Now there is zero carry when we have an incorporated Second Amendment right. That means it’s going to be easier to get shall issue. That’s how dumb the antis and their laws are. They continually out dumb themselves.

    Recall that the District of Columbia, had to rid themselves of the California roster of “not unsafe handguns” list that they tried to copy, because they knew it was a loser in court. Dick Heller’s handgun is not California approved. That should tell you everything.

  13. avatar1freeman1951 says:

    Aaron says: Off roster handguns can still be private party transferred through an FFL

    This may be true now but the anti-2a bozos in sacramento have a bill introduced that would, if passed ban this ability.

  14. avatarTom says:

    “The crime rate at least in the near future will go up for certain.”
    Awww…they have all that good gun contol so that will never happen. Just ask the Brady Bunch.

  15. avatarJay says:

    In California you cannot buy unsafe handguns or modern long guns as they are reasonably regulated from procurement to promote public safety and the general welfare. In addition, any resident or visitor, who are not a authorized government employees or persons of great wealth, are not allowed to carry or transport any firearm, loaded or unloaded, that can be concealed, unless it is unloaded and in a locked container, is being transported directly to a gun range, gun shop, secondary residence or other permitted locations, for a lawful activity.

    To purchase a handgun one must first pay a fee and pass a test to prove that they are worthy of receiving the State of California’s permission to own a handgun. They must wait a period of time before they can take possession of a purchased handgun. You will not be allowed to purchase more than one handgun per month.

    If one believes they have a good cause to carry a firearm, they are required to write an essay outlining their excuse for such an action, to receive consideration for permission to temporarily carry a dangerous weapon.

    For all future firearms purchases, including firearms entering the state from new residents, will require registration with the state.

    The Great State of California respects every individuals right to keep and bear arms. California also understands, for the public safety and general welfare, it must reasonably regulate the use and ownership of firearms, including other weapons of mass destruction, as ruled by the Supreme Court of the United States.

    If you require any additional information please contact the wonderful, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, organization. They will happily aid any future or current gun owner with their questions.

    You are urged to join the NRA to protect your 2nd amendment rights.

  16. avatarbontai Joe says:

    Ok, just for my education, apparently you can get a concealed permit in some counties much easier than other counties. Is that permit valid in the “we chose not to issue” counties? Is it valid state wide? or do some cities void out any permits that they didn’t actually issue while inside their borders? I ask because in my state of PA, Philadelphia has been trying for years to make up their own firearms laws that void out state law and the past few mayors have gotten their knickers all twisted up every time they get told that they can’t violate state law.

    • avatarJay says:

      If I remember correctly, a permit is valid for the entire state, if you are bestowed one. This is why they passed another law that disallows a person from a different county to get a permit in another. If you live in LA county you will need LA counties’ permission. This was done to stop people from acquiring a permission slip (for their human rights) in counties that are more supportive.

      California argues that because they have no amendment that specifically states the right to keep and bear arms, the right does not exist. They do so while ignoring the Bill of Rights that they have agreed to follow when they became part of the US.

      So California (or any other state) believe if it isn’t in their constitution it isn’t a right. Yet at the same time they believe if something isn’t listed in their constitution they can do it as a government.

      With that logic you do not have a right to eat McDonalds, but they have a right to make a law banning it.

      With so many laws even breathing is a hard thing to do…

  17. avatarAnon says:

    Ah, California. Can’t even own a blowgun in this state, despite the fact that I can travel to any hardware store and make one in the amount if time it takes me to cut a piece of metal pipe.
    Our lawmakers are too busy looking like they are earning their pay than actually paying attention to the idiocy of some of the laws they pass.

  18. avatarBob says:

    Having a CCW in California is irrelevant. If you use a gun to defend yourself outside of your home (and usually inside as well) whether carried legally or illegally, you will be arrested, railroaded, convicted, and locked up for the rest of your useful life.
    Whether you are legally carrying or not, you are not allowed to protect your self or your family, so what’s the difference? Either way, your choice to protect your loved ones is a choice to give up your own life for them. That I think is a noble sacrifice; a sacrifice the state will surely punish you for.

  19. avatarBucky says:

    The gun rampages happen in other states and California is the state who makes strict gun laws.

  20. avatarTyler Pierce says:

    What exactly was the catalyst for all of this buffoonery in the first place? Did California always have super strict gun laws since its founding or is there something more?

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