California gun owners work around gun restrictions
A flurry of new gun control laws go into effect in California on January first, some more draconian than others, but all intended to restrict guns rights. So what are California gun owners doing in the face of the new laws? Finding ways around them:
Beginning Jan. 1, Californians can no longer order ammunition online and have it delivered to their home.
All ammunition has to be purchased through a state licensed firearms dealer, said Patrick Jones of Jones Fort gun shop in Redding.
While the end of online ammo purchasing begins in 2018, a second ammunition restriction kicks in beginning in 2019 when ammunition purchasers must pass a background check to buy bullets and shotgun shells.
While the new state law, passed by voters in 2016, forces people to purchase ammunition from local brick-and-mortar stores like his, Jones said he was still against it.
He predicted people will go out of state to purchase ammunition to get around the new laws.
“It’s a tyrannical law and they simply will not do it,” Jones said.
And that's not all they are doing:
Another law — referred to as the “bullet button ban” — also goes into effect this year. People who own assault rifles with magazines that detach with a bullet button are required to register their guns with the state Department of Justice by the end of June.
The bullet button is a device that requires a pointed tool, which can be the tip of a bullet, to release the rifle magazine. The state required assault weapon owners to register guns with bullet buttons or other other forms of detachable magazines.
However, owners can modify their guns to get around the registration requirement, said Rich Howell, general manager of Olde West Gun & Loan in Redding.
A semiautomatic rifle with such features as a collapsible stock, a pistol grip that extends below the trigger guard, a flash hider at the end of the barrel and a detachable magazine need to be registered in California, Howell said.
But manufacturers and gun shops have developed a workaround to make AR-15-type semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines legal under California law.
Remove the pistol grip, collapsible stock and flash hider and gun owners can keep the detachable magazine and no registration is needed, Howell said.
There are stock configurations that can be purchased that legally incorporate the pistol grip and stock, he said.
Gun owners can also have a different magazine release button — called a “patriot pin” — installed on the gun, he said. However, using a patriot pin enables the magazine to be released only after the action has been opened, slowing reloading time, Howell said.
The state Legislature may eventually outlaw the various ways manufacturers have found to get around gun restrictions, he said. If it does, they will develop new workarounds, he said.
“They can pass all the laws they want, and I can guarantee you we are going to find a way around them,” Howell said.
Finding a way around noxious restrictions is a hallmark of American life. California's gun restrictionists should have known this. But an understanding of the American character is often beyond the capabilities of an increasingly insular political class.