First Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Mazza speaks during a news conference Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, in San Diego. Federal agents have arrested former San Diego County Sheriff's Captain Marco Garmo under charges of operating an illegal firearms trafficking business. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
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This Week in Gun Rights is TTAG’s weekly roundup of legal, legislative and other news affecting guns, the gun business and gun owners’ rights. For another look at the topics discussed here, check out this week in gun rights at FPC.

Ex-San Diego Sheriff’s captain pleads guilty to illegal gun sales

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Mazza speaks during a news conference Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, in San Diego. Federal agents have arrested former San Diego County Sheriff’s Captain Marco Garmo under charges of operating an illegal firearms trafficking business. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

On Wednesday, Marco Garmo, a former captain for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office pled guilty to selling “off roster” guns in the state of California. The roster to which I’m referring is a list of handguns that the state has been so gracious as to permit dealers to sell to the general public, you know, after they’ve bested the other hurdles that the California legislature has put in place to prevent them from exercising their right to buy a gun. As part of Garmo’s deal, he’ll plead guilty to one count of selling guns without a license, receiving a sentence of no more than five years in federal prison.

It’s kind of a rough situation. There’s little reason to have such stringent licensing requirements, especially in the case of private sales. Second, the California gun roster is plainly unconstitutional and prevents people from buying common handguns available in the other 49 states.

It’s basically impossible to add handguns to the roster because the state requires them to have magical nonexistent technology, as well as requiring constant re-certification of older models. This has caused scores of common firearms to fall off the approved roster.

Not only that, but the roster affords a special privilege to police officers, which allows them to resell non-roster guns, which is how Garmo was sidestepping the state law. Just because you work for the government in a certain capacity doesn’t mean that you should be subject to fewer legal restrictions. The right to own the firearm of your choice and the right to self-defense are natural rights, and they belong to everyone.

That said, the law clearly sets an incentive that Garmo was responding to. People obviously want these guns, and they’re going to do whatever they can to get them. This incident just goes to show that the California legislature should repeal the registry altogether. It’s an embarrassment to the state that Garmo was punished for simply responding to incentives and trying to give people what they clearly desire.

Police raid home in search for toy guns

Police officers red flag confiscation order
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Back in June, a school principal in Rosedale, Maryland called the police on a 5th grader because he had some toy guns hanging on the wall in the background of his “virtual classroom.” Recently, the family of the student obtained a copy of the principal’s 911 call.

According to the 911 transcript, someone spotted what they believed to be a firearm in the background and, according to principal Jason Feiler, even if it was fake, the schools had to “follow whatever rules [they] would have in the building.” Police responded to Feiler’s 911 call and upon entering the student’s bedroom, almost immediately recognized that the “firearms” on the wall were toys.

It would be an understatement to say that this incident is alarming, but with students continuing to attend classes online, it will likely become more common. By calling 911 and having the police “check in” on the property contained in the homes of students, schools are trying to circumvent Fourth Amendment protections that traditionally apply to the home.

Not only is this an invasion of privacy, it puts the welfare of students and their families at risk, and for what reason? A student can’t shoot up a Zoom meeting. If education will continue to be delivered online against the will of the people, schools and inevitably, courts, will have to set ground rules to ensure that the right of privacy is honored until things get back to normal.

Former Atlanta CFO Jim Beard indicted on fraud, weapons charges

Full Auto Selector Switch

Jim Beard was the CFO for Atlanta Georgia under the city’s last mayor, Kasim Reed. Reed was unsurprisingly an anti-gun politician. In fact, in 2014 Reed countermanded orders from Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, declaring that all of the city’s facilities would be “gun-free.” I guess he forgot to tell Beard, who was recently indicted for using city funds to purchase two machine guns.

In addition to being charged with unlawful possession of machine guns, Beard is being charged with wire fraud, theft from the government, making false statements, and obstructing federal tax laws. Although the probability is small, it would be a fit of irony if Beard ends up using Leland Yee’s old cell to serve his time.

While it’s always fun to see government officials held to account for the nonsense crimes they enforce against the rest of us, let’s not forget that anyone should be able to buy any kind of gun they like. That said, they should buy them using their own money.

Second Amendment Knife Case in Hawaii

The right to keep and bear arms isn’t just about guns. It covers defensive wear like body armor, helmets and the like, as well as other types of lethal and “less lethal” weapons. It is for this reason that I was disappointed to hear about the Hawaii federal district court’s decision in Teter v. Connors, where the court acknowledged that knives are covered under the Second Amendment right before it declared that the state’s law categorically banning butterfly knives is “constitutional.”

I respectfully disagree, and I have to say that it’s glaringly obvious that they overlooked the portion of the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller where it explained that categorical bans on the purchase and possession of certain arms—in that case, handguns—is in fact unconstitutional.

Gun group files new petition to rehear case on New Jersey magazine capacity law

high large capacity magazines

On Monday of this week the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs filed its petition for rehearing of its challenge to New Jersey’s magazine capacity ban. The argument from the ANJRPC is simple. When the appeals court last heard its case, it said in its decision that the magazines in question were typically possessed for lawful purposes.

According to the Supreme Court’s three most recent Second Amendment decisions, arms protected by the Second Amendment that are typically possessed for lawful purposes like self-defense cannot be banned, so New Jersey’s ban on high-capacity magazines is unconstitutional. With COVID causing the wheels of justice to grind more slowly than usual, it may take a while for ANJRPC’s petition to be heard.

Return of guns in Virginia case demonstrates how red flag laws can be abused

red flag law confiscation due process

In Frederick County, Virginia earlier this month, a man’s guns were seized after he was accused of drawing down on his son. This happened after a substantial risk hearing was conducted, for which neither the man’s father or the man’s son—the accusers—were present.

According to the man subjected to the seizure order, he and his son had been at odds for some years after the man allegedly discovered that his son was having drugs delivered to his home. After the man’s father failed to renew his red flag petition, the man’s guns were returned to him.

Disappointed with the result, the prosecutor involved in the seizure said that the result was “discouraging for the commonwealth,” but that  he understood the verdict given the lack of testimony. 

Do you see the problem with this situation? There wasn’t enough evidence to show that the man whose property was seized even pointed a firearm at someone. But thanks to the state’s anti-gun legislation, he was deprived of his property nonetheless.

“Better safe than sorry,” right? Of course, we may never know the truth of the accusations, but we do know that red flag laws provide an opportunity for people with vendettas and personal grudges — where there’s bad blood between family members, for instance — to weaponize the state against firearms owners. At least nobody got shot this time


Matt Larosiere is the Director of Legal Policy for the Firearms Policy Coalition. 

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  1. Wait whut?!? Narcing on your son your son and he lives(lived?)with you? I have 4 son’s. One has been in “trouble” with the law…I would NEVER narc on him or send the law to wreck his life. Bad blood indeed.

    • If he involves me in it by sending drugs to my house he will be disowned. The cops track that stuff and I am not having them think its my drugs.

      • I’ll be blunt, it’s pretty much one of the top rules to never bring drugs or paraphernalia into someone else’s place without their permission. People doing this are disrespectful and should be booted.

        NARCing / snitching on your kid is far worse than just booting him out of the house before it becomes a problem. We live in a world where policing for profit is common place and I would implore people to lay down the law. Legalization is literally right around the corner, he can either use at his own place or wait for the drug war to end.

        I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, and this is not legal advice.

        Usually internet orders / drug busts are controlled deliveries; don’t sign for other peoples mail. Anything that requires a signature is undoubtedly a controlled delivery and should be marked “RETURN TO SENDER”. UPS and FedEx don’t require warrants since they aren’t US Mail, but the signature rule still applies.

        If causing legal problems for someone was as simple as ordering drugs to their address, it would be a commonly used tactic to harass people by proxy. Knowledge need to be proven, otherwise anyone with an anonymous payment method would be able to cause legal problems for other people.

        Police love the war on drugs, it keeps their budgets pumped up, prisons full, and is an excuse to expand their power and buy military toys; criminals / gangs / cartels love it as well because it keeps prices high. The drug war and all of the problems it causes is bad for everyone’s freedom.

      • What if the laws broken are unconstitutional? Unjust?

        Blood before dishonor. I don’t care if my children “murdered” someone, the last thing I’d do is snitch. I’d rather go down for helping my own blood than EVER sell them out.

    • In California, and probably under federal law as well, the presence of narcotics on YOUR property, whether or not they are YOUR drugs, is grounds for the seizure of YOUR ENTIRE property as contraband.

  2. As the 2 nd. prohibits government from any and all gun laws by default it would also prohibit alphabet government agencies.

  3. The former captain for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office was used to not having to follow the laws the rest of the state has to deal with.

    Why are butterfly knives bad? I had one when I was a kid just because I thought it was cool. I don’t remember if I bought it at a store or from a friend. I do remember buying other knives and throwing stars from stores when I was about 11.

    • Butterfly knives are supposed to be faster than switch blades, in the hands of an expert user. And, of course switch blades are “scary”, almost as scary as one of those black military style machineguns. Scarier than numchucks, even.

      Lawmakers are often quick to pass laws against things they can’t understand.

    • For the same reason switchblades and certain scary looking ‘assault weapons’ were banned while fixed knives, assist-open folders and M1As were not. Because the people who make laws don’t know or care about reality and instead focus on feelings.

      I would love to hear a case where someone’s life was saved because a mugger had to flick the blade of a folding knife out with his thumb instead of activating a button or manipulating a butterfly knife.

    • This is racist. Butterfly knives or Balisong (the correct name for the knife) is a cultural artifact/icon/ implement for Filipinos. Denying the possession or use of them is culturally insensitive and politically incorrect.

      See, we can play that game too!

  4. Depends.
    Pot? Is the boy motivated, or a lazy stoner?
    Pills? Record and report the seller.
    Meth? Death to meth! Brrrrrrr….

  5. Isn’t it something how sicko Gun Control Zealots can just sit around and concoct labels to demonize knives, firearms and those who possess such items for self defense? Do not allow Gun Control Zealots to call your Armalite Rifle an Assault Rifle. All discussions end until respect is shown for law abiding citizens and the firearms they have a Constitutional Right to possess and are proud to possess.

    Actually you do not have to explain a damned thing to Gun Control Zealots simply because their Gun Control Agenda is rooted in racism and genocide. Gun Control Zealots have the explaining to do. They need to explain why they insist on keeping a demonic agenda on life support when their Gun Control Agenda has a well documented history of unspeakable fear, torture and horror?

    Rest assured Gun Control Zealots have no problem whatsoever labeling “citizens who own firearms” as racists and nazis. And, they do it without one shred of evidence. Such slander has been allowed to go on for far too long. It is past time to hang the racist and nazi label permanently around the necks of Gun Control Zealots. The evidence to do so without flinching is overwhelming.

    TRUMP/PENCE 2020.

      • Southern Cross, why do you get all the good news down there?
        I was looking for something else and this popped up. Took a look and its nowhere to be found over in our news, but is widely reported in the rest of the world.
        If real that is scary. New version of Lenin’s saying instead of us selling them the rope used to hang us we will give them all the data needed to find potential compromisable targets.

        • The reason that you don’t see this type of information in the news is because all information is controlled by Democratic propagandists. Go to out of country news sources and you will find out all sorts of information that our local sources refuse to inform us about. MSN etc. want to keep everyone ignorant and dumb about what is really happening on this planet.

  6. “On Monday of this week the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs filed its petition for rehearing of its challenge to New Jersey’s magazine capacity ban.”

    Now that there’s an opening on SCOTUS to be (hopefully) soon filled, what cases are on-deck to potentially be heard?

    Ralph? Mark N? Sam I Am? Anyone? Bueller?

      • There’s precedent for a lame duck president appointing a SC Justice, so they should just go ahead and start the process. The bonus is, people will be reminded how nasty democrat pols are, just like in the Kavanaugh hearings.

        • I’ve heard something about that possibility, a temporary recess appointment?

          A SCOTUS seat could be temp filled that way?

  7. The butterfly knife is cringe, was waiting for him to slice a finger. Seriously people, if you want to practice this, get a practice knife or dull up a butterfly knife before attempting.

  8. Who gives a shit? I may have violated a firearms law or two. So what? I never arrested or charged a citizen with a firearm violation unless the firearm was part and parcel to the underlying crime. Armed robbery, homicide, rape, etc. Otherwise, I corrected them so they wouldn’t be arrested in the future and sent them on their way.

  9. No but by golly the cops hustled right on over to that house to bring down the hammer of Thor. Play gunms or real, my house, my kid. He wasn’t IN school so fck off.

    • possum, they had to. I answered thousands of bullshit calls. Knew they were bullshit before I touched my mike. Still had to go. Mom didn’t have to let them in, but she did. They recognized it was bullshit and congratulated the boy on his safe storage of his toys. Kid gets an attaboy from LEO (positive contact) and government lackey looks like the fool she is. I’m waiting for the downside on this one.

      • No downside here. But the downside is when it happens to the wrong house.

        Reminds of when I see cute stories about the police stopping people for “driving the speed limit” and give them lottery tickets or something. Nice PR until you pull over the wrong person for no reason.

  10. “I respectfully disagree, and I have to say that it’s glaringly obvious that they overlooked the portion of the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller where it explained that categorical bans on the purchase and possession of certain arms—in that case, handguns—is in fact unconstitutional…”

    Heller is a lot more complicated than that. It wasn’t happenstance that handguns were the focal point of Heller. The state was not allowed to ban them because they are in common use. The case said nothing of weapons that are unusual, say, grenades or autos. Similarly, if we take knives under the umbrella of Heller, a pocket folder is obviously protected as it is common. A butterfly knife is not.

    Still a stupid law, though.

    • Not common? You haven’t been to a gun show or a flea market in a while, have you?

      When I was a kid, before I knew much about knives/metallurgy/design/manufacturing, I had a good solid dozen various $5 POS butterfly knives. Probably still have one or two in a box somewhere (the ones that didn’t fall apart).

      • The fact that you had some as a kid and you can find them at flea markets does not make them common.

        When people walk down the street almost every guy has a folder clipped to his pocket. That is common.

        And if one makes to try and convince the judges otherwise, ok, but you have to actually make the argument… as was done with handguns in Heller.

        • So, how many is common? What percentage of the population must own something before it is common? Only about 3 or 4% of the registered vehicles in the US are motorcycles, are motorcycles common?

  11. Not a very accurate summary of California law on th3e subject of the Roster. At the time of his arrest, the law allowed officers to buy anything, and then they could resell those guns, as long as they were not “in the business” of selling guns. That is where this officer went astray. He was buying not for his own use but for resale, and he was selling a lot of guns; that is where he fell afoul of the FEDERAL law. That “loophole” is now closed. Officers can still buy off Roster guns, but they cannot sell them to non-LEOs.

    Second, guns on the roster do not need to be “recertified,” but they do have to be relisted annually–for a fee of course. But they do not have to go through the testing regimen required for new guns, nor are they required to comply with changes in the law since they were first certified. There are two main reasons guns fall off the roster: manufacturers stop producing a particular model and thus do not recertify it, or they make a “material” change in the manufacture of the firearm causing it to be considered a “new” firearm. New firearms must meet the requirements of any law in effect at the time certification is sought. For example, Colt changed its machinery over to CNC milling–and all of its 1911s were thus dumped off the roster. The only guns Colt can sell here now are revolvers, which do not have to meet the stringent requirements for semiautos.

    The microstampoing law has also been changed. The law AS WRITTEN required that a case be stamped in two places with a distinct identifier. the existing tech stamps a single identifier on the primer (which did not stop Kamala Hasrris from certifying that the technology required to meet the requirements of the law existed and was generally available). Not one manufacturer has produced a firearm that complies with the law. Under the new law, microstamping will be required to appear in only a single location–but throwing out the baby with the bath water, if a manufacturer certifies a new semiauto handgun, three older guns must be removed. Cute huh? The law does not specify if the guns to be removed are simply the oldest on the roster, or any three guns by the same manufacturer. Pretty big disincentive to coply with the law, unles sthe manufacturer is will ing to change over its entire product line.

  12. “On Wednesday, Marco Garmo, a former captain for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office pled guilty to selling “off roster” guns in the state of California.:

    The past tense of “plead” is “PLEADED” NOT “pled”


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