Somehow the People’s Republic of California manages to amaze me every year as they find ways to be even more anti-gun and oppressive. This past weekend gave me some downtime and I spoke to a friend of mine who is a longtime left coast resident and federal firearm licensee. Sam buys and sells guns as a federal licensee. He is also regulated by California’s Department of Justice as a firearm dealer.
We all know how California loves their gun control and how they love to enforce firearm laws and stick it to any firearm owner or related business whenever possible. But this time, it’s gone a little too far.
The pandemic caused a range of government offices close or suspend their operations and interactions with the public. California has been experiencing a massive surge of new cases across both rural and urbanized areas of the state and some of their hospitals are struggling to keep up.
Many states, counties and cities have rolled out extremely proactive, well-thought-out plans to handle the renewals or extensions of licenses that expire during these periods when government offices are closed down. Many states by virtue of a blanket executive order by the governor’s office mandate that a license holder is able to have extended/temporary privileges due to current events. They are not penalized for possessing an expired driver’s license, concealed carry license, or other similar state-issued permits.
That’s not the case in California.
The California Department of Justice, which regulates the state’s firearm dealers, is presently closed. They are not processing certificate of eligibility or magazine permit renewals. And instead of issuing a blanket extension to those who may be impacted by the state’s shutdown, California has basically given them the middle finger and told dealers that their renewal will sit until the state reopens.
My friend Sam is jammed up on is his high cap magazine and ammo vendor permit and the certificate of eligibility (COE) now that they’ve expired. Without the COE, there’s no ability to DROS guns. Users with expired permits are locked out. Without the magazine and ammo permit, that technically bars him from even possessing the magazines or having the ammo in his inventory.
These renewals are typically done online. But not during the shutdown. The renewals just sit in the DOJ’s queue. Maybe they don’t realize that by failing to process the renewals, they are turning otherwise honest business owners into violators of gun laws. Or maybe they do.
The DOJ isn’t responding to emails, either.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do to help small, medium-sized businesses, but the folks at the top, doing pretty damn well.” — Gov Newsom https://t.co/y4YxRgpVrC
— Jennifer Sey (@JenniferSey) January 11, 2021
With all the technology we have, would it be so hard to assign one state employee to log in and work from home to process temporary renewals so as not to criminalize lawful business owners? Apparently that’s too much to ask in the Golden State.
What does this mean for Sam? It means he’s out of business until they allow him to reopen. Adding insult to injury, he’s potentially in possession of illegal magazines and ammo to boot. Plus, he will continue to pay rent, electricity, and insurance for a business that isn’t legally allowed to operate until the government decides to reopen, cashes his check and issues him a new magazine and ammo permit plus a new COE.
All the while, Sam’s employees have nothing to do and no paychecks coming in. He can’t afford to pay people at a business that’s not legally allowed to open.
Every other type of license that has an expiration date during a window where the government is closed due to COVID19 has been extended or been given grace periods; driver’s licenses, licenses to practice law, medical licenses, civil engineering, etc. These folks all have the ability to operate with expired professional and business licenses through the shutdown.
But in California, the firearms business is different. There would be a full-scale march on Sacramento if marijuana dispensaries’ licenses expired and the state demanded they terminate operations until a new license was issued after the lockdown. Whenever that happens.
Sam, who a lifelong resident of the Golden State puts it like this . . .
They would extend a license for someone selling free range almonds, or some gluten free recyclable bags, but fuck gun people.
We have contacted the office of California Governor Gavin Newsom to see if they could explain why firearm dealers were being singled out and prevented from temporarily operating with an expired license. A dedicated public servant such as Governor Newsom should be concerned about small businesses failing during trying times such as these.
His press office has not returned our calls.