I live in California. The Democrats control the Assembly, the Senate and the Governorship. The party pulling the string are not comfortable with citizens pulling a trigger for self-defense, anywhere, for any reason. Unless, of course, it’s them. mercurynews.com reports that four Assembly members have asked for permission to take a gun to work: Democrat Tony Mendoza (fears of gang retribution) and Republicans Shannon Grove (self-defense for late night driving), Allan Mansoor (ex-cop) and David Valadao (to protect his rural dairy farm). Fair enough. But do these pols face the same hurdles as “average” Californians seeking to exercise their right to keep and bear arms? God I hope so. Here’s the drill . . .
1. Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC). $25
This is your first fence that you have to jump if you want to own a firearm in California. To get an HSC, you need to pass a written test based on official Handgun Safety Certificate Study Guide. You need a C grade (75 percent) or better to “earn” your right to own a handgun. You can take the test at a State-approved FFL dealer/firearms instructor. The qual also requires that handgun purchasers/recipients must . . .
execute a series of specific steps related to loading and unloading the handgun safely. The safe handling demonstration must be performed under the supervision of a DOJ Certified Instructor, and the purchaser must sign an affidavit attesting completion of the safe handling demonstration.
If you don’t point the gun at the examiner or drop the cartridges on the floor, he or she will fill out a Safe Handling Demonstration Affidavit. Your test and affidavit are shipped off to The Powers That Be (CA DOJ) for processing. It can take a week or more for the resulting HSC to hit your mailbox.
The Cert’s good for five years. There’s an exemption for Law Enforcement (Mr. Mansoor) and Active or Retired Military (Ms. Grove). But not just any Veterans; you have to have a retiree ID card. So, for example, a USMC expert marksman that was honorably discharged after four years spent hunting UBL or taking out the dead terrorist’s pals in the Sand Box is SOL.
If you fail the test, you get another free try. After that, it’s another $25. [ED: anyone remember the voter registration tests in the South used to keep African Americans from exercising their right to vote?]
2. NICS Background Check
The “instant” FBI criminal background check is mandatory because the system catches criminals when they try to legally purchase a handgun. If you get a “false positive,” you’ll have to untangle that knot first. Fast, easy or fun. Choose none.
3. Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) – $40
You can now buy a gun. But only the guns that the State, in its infinite wisdom, considers “safe” for self-defense (e.g., no semi-automatic firearms that hold over ten cartridges). California believes you should pay for forcing them to process the paperwork that “allows” you to exercise your Second Amendment right. Ch-ching.
4. 10-Day Waiting Period
Literally to the minute (they don’t even call it a cooling off period any more). If you need a gun sooner, you’re SOL.
5. Purchase a Cable Lock – $10 each
If the gun does not come with a cable-lock (and some don’t), you must buy one—even if you own a $2000 safe at home. I have four cable locks lying around looking for a use.
6. Another Safety Demo
When picking up a gun after waiting the requisite time, you must demonstrate to the DOJ-certified salesman that you can load, unload AND maintain muzzle control before walking out of the store with your new gun. Even if you have bought from the same guy your last three purchases over the last four months (see rule 7).
7. Wait Another 30 Days for Another Gun
No more than one handgun can be purchased every 30 days.
8. Observe All Local County and City Laws
There are too many to mention. OK, just one . . .
The only people who can purchase ammunition in Fresno without risking a visit from the Spanish Inquisition (with el flash bangs) are law enforcement Concealed Carry Weapons permit holder.
If you’re just a regular Joe looking for range ammo or bullets for home defense, the store must log the sale (caliber and quantity) and record the purchase (including a photocopy of your Driver’s License and a thumbprint). You can not buy ammo over the Internet. Period.
All of these laws were concocted to make The Golden State safer. In light of early prisoner releases, illegal drug-trafficking, many city PD and county sheriff cutbacks and our $25B deficit, I would submit that we are just a tad short on that “safer” feeling we were supposed to get.
I would also submit that the process makes us less safe. With every level of hindrance, you dissuade a certain percentage of otherwise law-abiding citizens from wanting to go through the steps to either purchase a handgun. In the long run, this makes society less safe. Criminals don’t have the same challenges to overcome.