The vast majority of the states recognize that just because something looks scary doesn’t actually mean that it is more dangerous. Unfortunately for those living in the state of California, as the state mantra goes “appearance is everything.” Hence their assault weapons ban, which restricts ownership of scary looking guns. Until now, the only way around this was an individual, non-transferable “permit” that would enable you as an individual to buy, own and sell these guns — a business could not apply for one to cover all their staff. Meaning thousands upon thousands of dollars in fees and paperwork to get the employees of a gun shop “on the level” with CA’s laws if they wanted to sell the most popular rifles in the United States. Until now…
From the CA-FFL:
As reported by Cal-FFL in April, the DOJ had held steadfast by its opinion that only “individuals” are able to obtain permits to sell “assault weapons” or “.50 BMG Rifles”. However, the express text of Penal Code section 16970 states that “any entity” within the definition of “persons” may obtain such permits. Franklin Armory argued that the DOJ policy conflicted with the express language of the Penal Code, which defines “person” for the purposes of the Assault Weapon Control Act as “an individual, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, association, or any other group or entity, regardless of how it was created.” In spite of the clear language of the Code, DOJ disagreed, arguing that the language does not permit corporations to obtain the requisite permits to manufacture and sell such firearms. OAL’s determination put the matter to rest.
In short, gun shops have legally been allowed to apply as an entity THIS WHOLE TIME, and it was just California’s anti-2A bureaucracy that was forcing them to spend more money than was legally required. We have a word for that here in Texas — we call that “extortion.”
I emailed Jay Jacobson at Franklin Armory, the plaintiff in this case (and makers of the legally fascinating XO-26b), for some clarification on the situation (as I have no idea what’s going on as an out-of-stater). Jay’s thoughts on the matter seem to be in line with the idea that the DOJ was just pumping the gun industry for money…
What is perhaps most disgusting about this situation is that it is my belief that the DOJ denied my initial request for them to revise the ap because they stood to lose as much as $500,000 per year in permit application fees by large companies such as Boeing, Lockheed, etc. that have to have multiple people apply/renew for a $1500 year permit. Now each corporation will only need to apply once, and every individual will be covered. So, in my mind at least, I find their motivations for not following the law to be outrageous and repugnant.
The biggest takeaway from this whole deal isn’t that gun shops can make more money, but that average Californians might be able to band together and form AWB trusts — turning a $1,500 annual expense into something far cheaper and distributed among many Californians. If done right, it could give Californians access to the same freedoms that we take for granted here in the freer states. Just imagine hundreds of Californians covered under a single trust, now able to exercise their right to a 50 BMG rifle and non-crippled AR-15s for only a couple dollars a year.
We may be witnessing the first chinks in the armor of the CA AWB. Keep watching — this could get interesting.