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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.

Check this link for the full text of the ruling.

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  1. Good news, no doubt. But this is CA we’re talking about. I imagine they’ll find a way to prevent this from happening. Or try their best.

  2. Do you mean the way that members of organizations called states in most of this country already have this right? How about the way members of the organization called the United States already have this right?

    I know, I know, a thousand mile journey is made up of one step at a time. We just shouldn’t be having to make this journey in the first place.

  3. The manufacturers and sellers should sue the state for reimbursement of all the excess funds paid for permits.

    Would this concept have any correlation to AWBs in other states, such as NJ where you cannot have a retractable butt stock, muzzle break, or an AK-47 (which has the same form, fit, and function as an AR-15 but larger caliber…so an AR-10) soley because it has a scary name (to a delusional few)?

    • “The manufacturers and sellers should sue the state for reimbursement of all the excess funds paid for permits.”

      I’d be really interested to see them take a swing at this. If I was a business owner in the PRK, I’d definitely be contacting my attorney to see if it was feasible.

  4. The only AWB I’m willing to compromise on is the federal one that bans fully automatic weapons. But even that I’m not against neccessarily, but acknowledge that there would be added scrutiny in the issuance and location of use of full auto firearms.

    I wish H&K would make semi-auto versions of the MP5, people would definately buy them. The same thing goes for a Thompson.

    • > I wish H&K would make semi-auto versions of the MP5,
      > people would definately buy them.

      They did. It was called the HK-94. Importation was banned in 1989 by Bush I.

      • Yeah.

        While all the “Because you suck, and we hate you” griping is kinda hilarious, it is important to remember that H&K (and several others) got screwed HARD by import bans back in the 80s.

        It would be nice to have those bans repealed. Functionally identical firearms of domestic production are available, and there is no obvious harm to public safety attributable to country of origin.

  5. Yeah, California is much about social appearances and scary feelings being more important than deep thinking and facts. I think I’ll move to Mars before that thinking takes over Oregon.

    • Let us get one thing straight here, the term “California” is being used generically to describe the Marxist-Leftists running the state of California for the last 42 years. As a whole the people of California are gun friendly. We have to be as our crime rates all over the state are high!

      Prior to that Californians were and still are very gun friendly. The number of legally held firearms in this state would blow most peoples minds. In 2000 when “California” required AR-15s to be registered, 16,000 out of an estimated 250,000 were registered. We do like our firearms here in the Golden State !

      • I’ll second that. CA is a huge gun market, even though the 10 round mag limit and bullet button laws suck. And it’s unnecessarily difficult / impossible to obtain a CCW, depending upon which county you are in. I’m glad to hear of Franklin Armory fighting that system.

    • Oh we Californians certainly do a great deal of deep thinking and fact searching (such as in empirical studies), just in our prestigious universities more so than in the legislative branches. The lawmakers can be a little nuts, but the majority of Cali folks is far more centrist and rational.

  6. small steps. that’s the way we roll in ca. you can cover a thousand miles in small steps. you just have to be patient and determined.

  7. So this DOJ “rule” was thrown out on procedural grounds, not substantive grounds. Which means that the DOJ will just comply with the state’s APA and enact the regulation all over again.

    • DOJ will have a hard time enacting a regulation that directly contradicts the Penal Code–which is wprobably why it was adopted as an “underground” regulation in the first place; prperly adopted regulations are subject to legal challenge.

      This decision though only effects sellers. It is still illegal to sell a .50 cal BMG in this state to anyone other than LEO. Something about them being used by terrorists to shoot down airplanes….

      • …and Ronnie Barret will not sell his rifles in CA. Absolutely refuses to until the civilian market is opened up!

        • Good for Ronnie Barrett – he has every right to do so. He is a private entity, and a businessman with some cojones.

  8. If it is done right they have a big point. If enough folks are involved then it could work. Of course LEO’s would go nuts! Not saying they are against it, but everyone would be a member of this corporation, and how do you approve your AR-15 with standard release is legal or that you really are an employee, or affiliated with said corporation? It would be enough that I think the LEO’s would simply start leaving people alone because the the backlash for wrongful arrest would make it not worth it. Unless they were committing a crime or something.

    In other words folks would be able to legally poses forbidden items. This could be as simple as taking your legal AR and putting a normal mag release on it. I don’t know if that applies to normal capacity magazines or not but would be way cool if it did!

    Hopefully an organization like Calguns or something along those lines would pick this up. Heck I would pay the $15 dollar a year fee or what ever and get my little card.

    • Well here’s an LEO that’s fine with it. We can’t outfit our personal rifles the same way we ride around with our patrol rifles. Ridiculous, but that’s California. I’d like to see an exemption for LEO’s, and I’ll be looking into working that angle soon. An exemption for everyone would be great. Hey Sanchanim, let me know if you get a corporation going, I’ll join up with you!

      • Even if LEO”s got an exemption from DOJ they still have to comply with department policy Having worked for the Riverside County Sheriff”s department I can tell the change is VERY SLOW

      • Can we just start calling our personal rifles “patrol rifles” so we can have all the extras that do not increase the lethality of the firearm but are just standard features?

      • It’s getting worse than that for LEOs. Under a law being considered now, that seems likely to pass, those off roster guns that LEOs are privileged to purchase will ahve to be sold at the time of separation from service (unless the officer moves out of state), and only to another LEO, not on the open PPT market. Further, it looks like officers who buy “assault weapons” through their agencies (with personal funds) will be required to turn in/ sell those weapons upon retirement or other loss of LEO status. Pretty soon you guys will have to suffer just like us reg’lar folk do.

      • I’d like to see an exemption for LEO’s, and I’ll be looking into working that angle soon.

        Because some people are more equal than others, and ought to be above the law…

  9. Sweet digs, man. Hopefully, this will bode well for Californian shooters. Everyone but the small minority of overzealous gun control dumbasses could care less for the current laws.

  10. Would a theoretical ‘gun trust’ make the transfer of registered pre-ban and by name rifles possible?

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