Kevin Neal built the AR he used in the Rancho Tehama mass murder (courtesy CBS News)

“The more restrictive the laws become for people to purchase firearms, we’re going to see those criminal elements build their own. That’s what they do.” – Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston in Shooting rampage in California highlights “ghost guns” and their dangers [via cbsnews.com]

80 COMMENTS

  1. How is any of that possible? I cannot believe that somebody that is evil and hell-bent on murder will not just follow the law. Didn’t the killer know that ghost guns are illegal in California and that he was not allowed to possess guns?

    It’s almost as though gun laws don’t work and criminals will not follow the law. But that can’t be true, as our Democratic totalitarian overlords tell us that these laws are for our own good and safety.

    #sarc

    • Not so, Sir. the 8th Amendment covers that. “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” One does, indeed, have a Constitutional right to bail.

        • Yeah, but most of that is grandstanding. Just after a judge says “NO BAIL!” or sets some princely sum in the millions of dollars, there’s a bail-review hearing scheduled almost immediately to set something realistic that isn’t a violation of due process.
          However, if the defendant decides to stand up in court and mouth off at the judge, and/or promises to go and kill all of the witnesses, their families, and their dogs when he gets out on bail, the threshold of what could be considered ‘excessive’ can go ‘WAY up.

        • Can someone please cite a SCotUS case on point where the denial of bail in a criminal trial was deemed unconstitutional? Because I can’t find one.

        • Do you actually rely upon SCOTUS to tell you what’s Constitutional and what isn’t? THEY think that there’s a Constitutional right to abortions, while claiming that strict state firearm restrictions are NOT infringements of the 2nd Amendment.
          Silly rabbit.
          Serioiusly, Stack v. Boyle is one such case. it determined that bail could not exceed what was required in other similar cases, nor could it be set higher than that necessary to ensure appearance at trial.

        • Which is only precedent as to punitive bail, not remand. I would like to see a single case where a pre-trial remand order was ruled unconstitutional.

          I’m a big fan of reading the CotUS in basic English.

          A ban on excessive bail is not a guarantee of bail.

        • @pwserge, excessive bail violates 8th Amendment, but denial of bail is not barred by the language of the 8th Amendment if the predicates exist, such as flight risk.

          Recently, SCOTUS denied cert in Arizona v. Martinez, where a voter-approved “no bond” restriction for certain sex offenders was struck down by the AZ Sup. Ct. on due process grounds.

          Whether the 8th Amendment has been incorporated is still a bit of a question mark.

        • The fact that is was struck down by the AZ supreme court means that it wasn’t even a case appealed to the federal level. Though I’m confused, I thought state case appeals had to hit the circuit court level before they could apply for cert?

        • pwrserge: Appeal from a state Supreme Court case is only to the U.S. Supreme Court, the only higher court.

    • Ever hear of the Eighth Amendment?

      It’s funny, even 2A “absolutists” will jump on the infringement bandwagon, so long as the government is targeting a less adored right or a more abhored defendant.

      Curious, that.

      • Sorry kiddo, the 8th amendment guarantees that bail is proportionate to the crime in question, not that it exists. The question of a constitutional right to bail has been settled law for years.

        • The truth is the government didn’t perceive him to be a high risk. It seems domestic violence is low risk in California????

        • Which is sorta my point. If you’re on trial for a crime that requires the victim to get a restraining order out on you, you should be remanded and the trial should be scheduled ASAP. The hilarious part is that this scumbag was out on bail for the better part of a year. What happened to the right to a speedy trial?

        • “What happened to the right to a speedy trial?”

          Did he request a bench decision?

          Or did he do the usual criminal defense game of waive his right for a speedy trial?

        • Sounds like a game that would be a lot less common if violent suspects were remanded rather than let out on bail to commit more crimes.

        • Wrong, again, pops.

          There are restrictions on the right to bail, but that doesn’t abolish the right any more than restrictions on the second amendment abolish it. Infringe it? Yes. Abolish? No.

          For example, the Court draws a distinction between charges where bail may be denied. However, even that presupposes a right to bail. Similarly, the prohibition against excessive bail presupposes the right to bail. To continue the constitutional comparisons, the permissibility of depriving life, liberty, or property upon due process, presupposes that you do indeed have a right to your life, liberty, and property as an initial condition, a first principle.

          Really, no constitutional right is absolute. If that’s your standard, that any restriction whatsoever amounts to an outright repudiation and obliteration of said right to the point of extinction, then that throws out everything. There is no Constitution, nor any rights, anymore. My point, which you’ve evaded responding to, is that you allow, even argue the existence of, restrictions as destroyers of right, except with the 2A.

          By the way, “settled for years” means what? 1987’s Salerno mafia case. Big whoop. Plenty of rulings with longer tenure have been overruled. Plessy v. Ferguson (separate but equal) was the law for 58 years. Pace v. Alabama (anti-miscegenation) was the law for 84 years.

          Roe v. Wade is, what, 45 years old now? Yet, everyone goes berserk whenever an abortion cases comes up, or even when a Court justice vacancy occurs, precisely because they’re concerned that “settled law” will be overturned. So don’t fool yourself into thinking you can play the “settled law” card with some wet behind the ears 30 year old ruling. Good grief.

        • Again, preventing excessive punitive bail is not the same thing as guaranteeing the right to bail. If you have
          federal case law to the contrary, I’d love to see it. Basic English will take you far in life. What you’re claiming is equivalent to saying that the 2nd amendment means the government has to hand out guns to every citizen. The “right” you claim just isn’t in the text.

        • Tehama County is a very small (population wise) county , and it has only four judges. Trial delays due to a lack of available court rooms is common.

    • There was a proposed bill a year ago that would have essentially banned blocks of aluminum to prevent the production of AR lowers. The bill was so bad (and so badly written) that not even the extremely liberal Public Safety Committee could stomach it.

      • Not good enough. We need to eradicate every last scrap of the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust. Jettison it all into outer space so that no child can ever be hurt again.

  2. Again proof positive that background checks are absolutely worthless. And yet I’m sure this author has no clue that is the logical conclusion from his article.

    • But the background checks are not without purpose. They serve to condition people’s minds. (Like machineguns registration. And then closing the machinegun registery for any new machineguns.)

      After just couple of decades they are considered to be a norm. Today even many pro 2A guys are so brainwashed, that they will tell you it’s O.K. for government to decide who can and can’t get arms useful in possible struggle against… government (if it slipped into tyranny).
      Another feature is that more and more classes of people can be added to the ‘prohibited possessor’ list. Remember the super secret No Fly List and Suspected Terrorist list? Next it might be Tea Party members or plumbers or readheads.

      Next step – Universal background checks. That requires a registration to have any chance to be enforced, of course.
      As soon as they know who has what, the road is open wide to confiscation.

      (Little sidenote: My grandma once told us that when in 1939 Germans occupied Czech part of Czechoslovakia and created Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren, they ordered civilian disarmament. Then they went straight to registration offices to pull the records. Groups of soldiers then visited every gun owner that failed to surrender any firearm registered in his name, requiring its immediate surrender. Surprisingly “lost”, “stolen”, “must be mistake in paperwork as I have never owned such gun” or “unfortunate boating accident” didn’t move them. If the gun was not found and surrendered by the owner right now, or was found by the troops as they ransacked the house, the family was divided in two parts. The females and small kids were sent to concentration camps and males executed on the spot. No courts, no lawyers. Well, they would even kill you for tuning your radio to wrong station. London, not Christian rock.)

      Final stage – total civilian disarmament and rule of peace and harmony. Or else!!!

      TL;DR: Background checks can’t work for their proclaimed purpose of lowering crime and they never were meant to. B.C.’s are just another step from freedom to control.

      • +1…. wholly agree with the social engineering aspect of background checks. Out here in the land of liberal freedom every transfer is background checked and every sale is kept on file (DROS) at the Ca DOJ. There is a misconception that the DROS is registration (it is defacto registration but it is only a file listing dealer records of sale and not a comprehensive listing of ownership or transfers)…. I have to tell people every day that their guns aren’t “registered to them”. They are either the legal owner of their firearms or they are not. The burden of proof is on the state to prove otherwise if California want to prosecute you. The only exception is “assault weapons” and .50 BMG rifles (not to be confused with .416 berret, or .510 dtc, or 12.7mm russian, etc….. ONLY .50 BMG) are the only weapons that get registered…… but, I digress,…. the DROS system has conditioned otherwise pro-2A Californians to be comfortable with the idea of government registration. Eventually, mandatory state registration will come along and they will be okay with it because they think it already exists.

  3. Well, we’d had bump stocks and incomplete NICS data. Just needed ghost guns to complete the gun banners’ trifecta. I’m surprised this hasn’t been headlined sooner and louder…wait for it!

    • Only thing I can think of for the delay in answering and publicising the “where did he get the guns????” question is that the answer in this case did not serve their purposes, i.e., gun bans are the solution. Also, though, that being an interesting angle, it only invites additional questions and their potentially embarrassing answers.

      For example, the Sheriff at first denied that the killer was a prohibited possessor
      However, in the same press conference, he was confronted with the matter of the restraining order, which rendered the killer a prohibited possessor. Then the Sheriff had to concede the point.

      He had no serious answer to the question of why deputies did not arrest this known prohibited possessor when neighbors reported him shooting gyns in the backyard. All that Fife could manage to push past his lips was a lame, defeatist, and desperate attempt to rationalize his failures by proclaiming “we don’t have a crystal ball.”

      Nobody is arguing that they should have known about the killing spree in advance. All they had to do was arrest him for the crime of firearms possession he was committing right then and there. The Sheriff doesn’t want to address those embarrassing questions, though, so he’s been fairly quiet about case details overall.

      • That right there should be the talking points that get hammered until progs heads explode. LE didn’t give a rats patootie and people are dead because of it. The only solution is increased gun ownership and education in the responsible use of same.

    • Crazy / neighbors warned / police powerless/ kills wife / shoots through schools / makes his own gun. Definitely full Bingo card. Definitely seems contrived.

      All of that dude’s F’d-upness they attribute to EVERY gun owner (at least as a potential) WHEN WE ALL KNOW THE PROBLEM IS THE GUN-GRABBER’S “CRAZY”.

      F CA

      • Just so you know, I’m stealing that “full Bingo card” bit. That’s pretty funny and I bet has wide applicability.

      • I love your rant Joe, full bingo card and all. But your “F Ca” conclusion could be extrapolated in to “F Tx” for what that idiot did in that church or what that guy did down at Fort Hood. Or “F USAF” for not submitting the paperwork to the FBI, or “F US Army” for making a nutjob Islamist a commissioned officer….. like this maniac out here though, I doubt addressing any of that would have stopped either of those guys in TX. The only “F” in this case belongs to the badguy and the people trying to shoe horn this in to a political narrative that takes away more of our freedoms.

    • Weird, I have been thinking the same thing. My bet is the next one will use a suppressor. And he should also wield a bayonet to finally justify the gun grabbers’ bayonet lug ban fixation.

      • Or “flare launcher”. When they come for the Spike’s Tactical 12″ launchers, people are going to start putting pelts on the sides of their barns.

  4. The sad thing is liberals will just take this to mean 80% lowers must be banned nationwide, as if that will somehow make the existing “ghostguns” disappear and no one will be able to make new ones.

    • They can ban 80% lowers and people will still continue to mill them for the black market. So they will then ban CNC mills from eBay.

      • . . . then there’ll be a CNC black market, which the gun-grabbers will shut down. Then the people will finally rise up and hunt them and there’s to (an albeit temporary) extinction.

        So, at least we don’t have to wait too much longer before we get a chance at some peace and quiet around here.

      • “They can ban 80% lowers and people will still continue to mill them for the black market.”

        No need for an illicit CNC milled lower, as I understand it, functional 3-d printed lowers can be printed in plastic with common off-the-shelf printers…

      • You don’t need an CNC mill to complete an 80% lower. they can be done with everything from cheap Asian manual bench top mills, to jigs designed for the router you got from home depot. In fact if you have machining skills and a good knee mill you can start with a bare block of aluminum. You can even buy mold kits and literally poor a polymer lower now.

    • Wait, is it not the way it works? Don’t those icky “ghostguns” disappear in puff of smoke when they are pronounced illegal? I mean, it worked so well with heroin and crack cocaine!

  5. I’m from this county. Deputy Johnston, like the rest of the sheriff’s office, is scrambling to obfuscate why they let this guy keep his guns when he was being prosecuted for stabbing someone in February. Or why they didn’t respond to neighbor’s complaints that he was shooting off hundreds of rounds from high capacity mags morning and evening when he wasn’t busy threatening his neighbors. One of the neighbors he killed had a restraining order against him. But yeah, guns are so hard to find that the real crime was him building a ‘ghost gun’….

    • Finally! The real story.

      Crazy neighbors that stab, shoot, do drugs, and threaten are all just fine upstanding Americans…until they aren’t. And when they aren’t, they tend to take a whole pile of people down with them leaving law enforcement no laws to enforce with no recourse but to publicly wander in circles sniffing their own butts.

        • Intentional impairment is . . . IMPAIRMENT.

          Don’t ask for support, don’t ask others to equate themselves with that.

        • Joe R. – Simply drinking to inebriation is not unethical and shouldn’t be illegal. The vast majority of people that drink to inebriation never hurt anyone. With the ones who do, it is the bad behavior and not consumption of the dis-inhibitor that is the crime. Impairment is not a crime.

        • It’s not a ‘judgment’ it’s discernment. Drug use (that causes intentional impairment [for the sake of impairment]) is not something I want to ‘get behind’, not what I want to equate myself with, nor with the people who do [regardless of any other need for a coalition I may have with them]. I’ve known too many who are no longer here (had a family member (heavy) OxyContin user turn up a corpse just last week [GOD Rest Your Soul, Sophie Lee xoxo] after having been missing in FL since the last major hurricane down there [~1.5 – 2 months ago?] what’s left of her is barely enough to cremate). I know way too many (friends / family) that are way too dangerous to associate with anymore, and it’s a must to keep them away from other younger / older family, and myself due to illicit and (illicit use of) prescription drugs. If you are dealing in illicit drugs [of the kind that are known to immediately enslave people (opiates, etc., and even some gateway drugs)] then I call you a MF, and would stand-the-fV<k-by while somebody skinned you alive. I would even prevent others from coming to your aid.

          I look at idiots pushing the "pot's not like that, man" shit, and I point to the others and say, "WHERE THE F DO YOU THING THAT STARTED ? ? ?"

          I don't hold alcohol in the same regard, but the use of it can easily fall upon the same plane. Like I said,

          "Intentional impairment is . . . IMPAIRMENT."

  6. Next on the California legislative plate: no 80% lowers can be sold in the state; or perhaps required serial number and registration of upper receivers.

    Or both.

  7. Universal background checks on ALL firearm transfers is the rally cry. Because Gang members, and criminals ALWAYS obey gun laws! Next it will be mandatory registration of all guns with the state. Except in NY or NJ they have that law for “assault rifles” and a very low % of citizens are complying. It’s almost like law abiding citizens don’t trust the government.

    • Except in NY or NJ they have that law for “assault rifles” and a very low % of citizens are complying. It’s almost like law abiding citizens don’t trust the government.

      Except if they’re not complying, they’re not really “law-abiding”, are they? Which is why I prefer to call them “honest” citizens – the ones who live in peace with their neighbors, pay their own way, and give due respect for the safety and property of others. It’s easy for gun-grabbing politicians to make “law-abiding citizens” extinct through obscure or obstructionist legislation, and they’re highly motivated to do so. This way I make it clear the basic nature of citizens is not dependent on the whims of the legislature.

      • Very good point. This is why I describe myself and fellow members of America’s gun culture as honest, peaceful people. Those are the attributes that matter — and although the law may arbitrarily redefine me as a de facto criminal, no law can ever be written to take away who we truly are.

    • California has had universal background checks for years. Handgun registration has been in effect for 17 years, long gun registration for the last three. A law has been passed that will require retroactive registration–including serialization of unserialized firearms–beginning in 2019. Ghost guns have been outlawed–to build an 80% lower into a firearm (hand gun or rifle) requires application to the CA DOJ for a serial number and a background check, with the serial number being engraved being the first step in the build process. Only balck powder arms are exempt.

  8. Banning 80% lowers will do nothing but inconvenience the law abiding.

    Look what enterprising Filipinos can do in a garden shed with a file and a hacksaw when they want to make M1911s.

  9. Well, you know the sheriff’s department is probably overworked and underpaid.
    With such a heavy workload of checking out unregistered vehicles in someones back-yard, or un-permitted water-heaters, It’s not like they can investigate EVERY ‘felon with a firearm’ complaint.
    Besides, locking up felons, costs more money and doesn’t generate revenue!

    As for law abiding citizens, how many of us actually fit that description?
    With all the federal, state and local laws and regulations on the books, constantly being expanded to criminalize the most mundane or innocent behavior, and enhance the government’s power, We’re all probably committing crimes everyday. There ouhta’ be a law!

    Happy Motoring, Mark

  10. More laws, more fees, more taxes, longer and longer waiting periods, lists of whats safe for the peasants, travel restrictions (papers please). Massive limits on all Freedoms and Liberty. MORE MORE MORE. Yup, that should stop the criminals and nut jobs. Ah, UTOPIA. We are all now, safe and secure. Oh shit, sounds like N Korea!

  11. When arsonist burned bunch of people in night club to death, nobody asked where he bought gasoline and lighter.
    When bunch of people gets stabbed, nobody is interested where and how the murderer obtained his knife.
    (Can you imagine – Did he buy it in Kohl’s? No, I heard it was Bed, bath and beyond. No, he forged it himself out of piece of old leaf spring!)
    But somehow when some fuckup shoots bunch of people, suddenly there is nothing more important then to find out where and how exactly he got his hands on his chosen tools. How does it matter?

    That old guy in England from yesterday’s post had 160 illegal guns and never hurt a fly. Because HE didn’t want to. Not long ago an asshole drove a truck through crowd, killing 86 people without as much as BB gun in his possession. Because HE wanted to.

    Guns and their origin don’t matter.
    Evil is not in guns, it’s in some people’s black hearts and twisted minds.

  12. Don’t worry. You will still be able to roll your own marijuana cigarette, at home in California. But you won’t be allowed to roll you’re own rifle barrels with groves, in you’re own home, in California.

    The three L’s Libertarians Liberals and the Left, And the socialist progressive homosexuals all want to tell you what you can and can’t do in every room in your home.

  13. there is this: Sexual harassment controversy threatens to ensnare Kevin de León

    http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/11/10/state-senate-staffers-fired-after-reporting-sexual-harassment-attorney-says/
    The controversy surrounding sexual harassment in the state Capitol deepened on Friday and threatened to ensnare one of the Legislature’s leading Democrats, Kevin de León, as questions swirled over when the Senate leader became aware of complaints against his weekday roommate.

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