With SB 249 still looming in the distance, (technically) at least until Saturday, I wanted to get ahead of the game and ordered a Spikes Tactical AR lower. I dutifully paid for it in full and filled out my forms. I figured great, I should get this bad boy in about ten days – yeah me! Then I received a call a couple of days later from my LGS to inform me I’d been denied. WTF? But I remained polite and he gave me the phone number for the California DOG to get the skinny on why I was blackballed . . .
Taking a quick personal inventory, I know I don’t have any warrants for felonies, no convictions, not even a restraining order. I’ve never been arrested or even detained. I hold a now inactive top secret clearance from the US government, so what could be the issue?
Then a moment of panic set in where I wondered if a SWAT team was going to show up at my house in the middle of the night. Besides being totally embarrassed by having to discuss the situation with my LGS rep, more than anything else I wanted to know what the hell the problem was.
So I rang up the California DOJ and against all odds the disembodied voice was actually very nice. After querying their UNIVAC, she told me the DMV had rejected my driver’s license. So they never actually performed the NICS check and simply denied the app at that point.
She was nice enough to give me the DMV phone number, which they are not required to do, so I punched their digits next. Naturally, the wait was so long that I had to leave my number, but at least I had a sense of relief in that the problem was a local DMV issue and not something that might lead to actual incarceration.
When I finally got a call back, the DMV drone said I had an unpaid speeding ticket with a failure to appear. I knew about that already and let them know I had moved so missed the first court date. But I’d contacted the court right away and scheduled a second appointment. I asked him if his system showed that, as I didn’t want to get into any, you know, trouble. After all, I need to – at a minimum – be able to legally drive myself to the court house.
He said that once I take care of the court date I can get my record cleared for $55.00 my friendly neighborhood DMV office, then resubmit the DROS. I asked him why, since I had responded to the court. I also asked him what their policy was and whether this applies to parking tickets in addition to moving violations.
He managed to mumble something like “yeah”, became quite rude and said I needed to contact the DOJ. I told him they’d referred me to him, and that’s when he sighed, repeated the direction to call the DOJ and hung up on me.
You cam probably imagine how (insert various loud expletives here) happy I was at that point, but I called my LSG and gave them the lowdown. He’s cool with holding the lower as long as I need to get this resolved. It is, after all, paid in full at this point.
In the mean time, I’ve done some research as to why, what and how all this came about. The fact is my record is clean, I am not under suspicion of any crime and I have not been recently released from a psychological hold at any facility. But there’s that speeding ticket. Not an accident or DUI, just a speed trap that I was caught in along with about five cars. I even checked the denial listing for the California DOJ, but suspended licenses and traffic infractions aren’t listed there.
But wait there is more!
It appears that from the standpoint of the DMV, any unpaid infraction – whether parking tickets, speeding tickets, whatever – is reason enough to deny your RKBA in the Golden State. Needless to say, I’m refusing to wait for the DMV to get their computers back online (their ENIAC was down yesterday, imagine that). But I had a stroke of genius – I’ll simply apply for a California state-issued ID card. It’s not illegal and will allow the processing of my NICS check which is all I really care about. I also have a valid US passport so I have that option in my back pocket, too.
Yes, it’s my fault for not getting to court on time for my speeding ticket. I admit that, but should that mean I have no right to make a firearms purchase? I’ve followed up with the court and will go before the judge to grovel and beg for mercy at the appointed time.
I’m not a criminal and haven’t been convicted or even charged with any prohibiting offense so why should it matter what my driving status is? They have my social security number, so there’s no reason why a NICS check can’t go forward. I have a bank card and a utility bill to prove I am who I say I am.
I don’t need a photo ID to vote in this country, but to exercise my inalienable right to purchase and own a firearm, I have to make sure all those tickets are paid off. Just one more hurdle we have to go through here on the left coast.