What California Teaches About “Assault” Weapon Bans – They Fail.

Owning guns in California is a challenge. Any kind of gun. Owning any effective gun is even more a challenge. Doing anything other than keeping it in a locked box is almost impossible, outside of a very limited set of exception.

The short form of this article is that California already has EVERY single proposed ban on “assault weapons” and they cover far more than you might think, yet we still had the San Bernardino shootings. The laws fail.

Yet the San Bernardino attack happened.

Now, in the nightly news, we have “San Bernardino” being held up as an example of WHY we need more “gun control” (meaning gun banning). As though there were not already such law on the books in California.

Hearing that, again and again, I realized that many folks do not realize the flat our lie it pushes.

The notion that “IF ONLY we had ‘assault weapon’ bans” it would not have happened… Completing missing the point that they are effectively banned in California.

With that in mind, I’m going to list here some of the banned things and some of the California law, just so it is VERY clear what the rest of the country has to look for in their future and so that everyone can see just how useless banning “assault weapons” really is. Also the lie of just what one is. The popular notion is that these are “military guns”, often implicitly to include full auto or burst mode. The reality is that full auto and burst mode are entirely illegal in California (and much of the rest of the nation) without very special licenses that are very hard to get.

So what IS an “assault weapon” as the gun banners choose to define them?

Mostly it is an “ugly gun” in their eyes. Essentially NONE of the features they used to define one has any practical impact on lethality. The only exception is limiting magazines to 10 rounds, but even then it just means carry of 2 x the number of magazines (or 3 x) of smaller size each and about a 1 SECOND magazine swap. So also nearly nothing. That lead to a ban on magazines that can be removed without a ‘tool’. The San Bernardino shooters just made illegal modifications and got around it. By breaking the law.

Do note: It includes pistols with two grips, or a 10+round magazine in any gun. It also includes shotguns.

Not what you thought? That is the point of the “assault weapon” lie in law.

California Law

From the wiki:


Here’s the intro, bold mine.

The gun laws of California are some of the most restrictive in the United States. A Firearm Safety Certificate, obtained by passing a written test, is required for gun purchases. Handguns sold by dealers must be “California legal” by being listed on the state’s Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale. This roster, which requires handgun manufacturers to pay a fee and submit specific models for safety testing, has become progressively more stringent over time and is currently the subject of a federal civil rights lawsuit on the basis that it is a de facto ban on new handgun models. Private sales of firearms must be done through a licensed dealer. All firearm sales are recorded by the state, and have a ten-day waiting period. Unlike most other states, California has no provision in its state constitution that explicitly guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. The California Supreme Court has maintained that most of California’s restrictive gun laws are constitutional, based on the fact that the state’s constitution does not explicitly guarantee private citizens the right to purchase, possess, or carry firearms. However, U.S. Supreme Court decisions of Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010) established that the Second Amendment applies to all states within the Union, and many of California’s gun laws are now being challenged in the federal courts.

California Penal Code §12031 defines what constitutes a loaded weapon.

Semi-automatic firearms that the state has classified as assault weapons; .50 BMG caliber rifles; and high-capacity magazines (magazines that can hold more than ten rounds of ammunition) may not be sold in California. Possession of automatic firearms, and of short-barreled shotguns and rifles, is generally prohibited.

California is a “may issue” state for permits to carry concealed guns. The willingness of issuing authorities in California ranges from No Issue in most urban areas to Shall Issue in rural counties. Additionally, the issuing authority can also impose restrictions on the CCW permit-holder, such as limiting concealed carry only to the purposes listed on the approved CCW permit application. However, concealed carry permits are valid statewide, regardless of where they were issued. This creates a situation where residents in presumptively No Issue locations such as Los Angeles and San Francisco cannot lawfully carry a concealed firearm, but residents from other counties with more permissive CCW issuance policies can lawfully carry within these same jurisdictions. California does not recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states, and non-residents are generally forbidden from obtaining a California concealed carry permit.

California has state preemption for many, but not all, firearms laws. Actual enforcement of California’s firearms laws also varies widely across the state. Urban areas, such as the San Francisco and Los Angeles metropolitan areas strictly enforce firearms laws, and some communities within these areas have passed local ordinances that make legally owning a firearm difficult. Meanwhile, some rural jurisdictions narrowly enforce the same firearms laws by prosecuting only those who demonstrate malicious intent, or not enforcing portions of the state’s firearms laws at all. The California Highway Patrol strictly enforces state firearms law anywhere in California.

So it is the “wet dream” of gun banners, er, “control” advocates…

ANY sale is only through a Federal Firearms License dealer, has a waiting period, and is forever engraved in Your Papers in Your Dossier at Central Authority. No “gun show loophole”. No difference either other than being a royal PITA and wasting a lot of money.

You MUST get a State Approved “certificate” to exercise your right under the constitution to buy a gun. ANY gun.

Anything the State chooses to call an “assault weapon” is illegal to buy. Anything with more than 10 rounds magazine too. Oh, and forget any actual machine guns even if you try to get the license. (Sometimes a movie studio can get an exemption / license). There is an exception made for tubular magazines on .22 LR Rifles as they are part of the gun and essentially all of them come in over 10 rounds.

So, with essentially EVERY POSSIBLE “assault weapon” banned at whim, we’re perfectly safe, right?

Ask the folks in San Bernardino…

Here are the details on what makes an “assault weapon”. I’ll interleave some comments, bold mine:

Assault weapons

Since 1989, it is illegal to sell a firearm that the state has defined as an assault weapon and that has been listed in the California Department of Justice (DOJ) roster of prohibited firearms. This includes many military look-alike semi-automatic rifles and .50 caliber BMG rifles.

So this isn’t something new. It has been around for 27 years now. All the “grandfathered” guns are getting worn out and / or moved out of the State. Anything new is under the ban. Oh, but you had to register them to be legal…

DOJ roster firearms may be legally possessed if registered with the state prior to January 2005. Military look-alike firearms that are not listed on the DOJ roster of prohibited firearms, known as “off-list lowers,” are legal* to own and possess as long as state laws concerning configuration are followed. It is illegal to import, sell, give, trade, or lend a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds of ammunition, except for fixed tubular magazines for lever-action rifles and .22 caliber rifles; however, the possession of such magazines is legal. *Technically these “off-list” lowers are Category 2 assault weapons under current California law. However, in the 2001 case Harrott v. County of Kings (25 P.3d 649 (Cal. 2001), the Category 2 assault weapon law was ruled unenforceable.
Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989

IF you have an old magazine from prior to 1989, you can keep it and be legal. No new ones though. So how’s that 10 round limit working out? Ask the folks in San Bernardino…

Main article: Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989

The Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 (AWCA), its augmentation in 1999, and the .50 Caliber BMG Regulation Act of 2004 have led to many restrictions on semi-automatic firearms. In addition to a list of specific firearms that are banned by name, the following firearms are banned by characteristic (from Penal Code §12276.1):

(1) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:

(A) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon.
(B) A thumbhole stock.
(C) A folding or telescoping stock.
(D) A grenade launcher or flare launcher.
(E) A flash suppressor.
(F) A forward pistol grip.

Now just how a fluted barrel end so you don’t go night blind on a pig hunt, or a pistol grip changes a rifle from “Good” to “Bad” is very opaque. But just be forewarned: IF you want a gun with a folding stock (so it fits in your boat better) or a pistol grip (as they are easier for some folks to hold – like arthritic wrists), or even a thumbhole stock like competition shooters use, well, give it up. Someone doesn’t like that as they think it looks mean. Never mind it has no practical impact on lethality.

But just let that sink in. A Deer Hunting Rifle with with a 4 round detachable box magazine and target grade thumbhole stock is an “assault weapon”. Register yourself at the politically incorrect counter, pay your fees, and be prepared for bans and raids.

(2) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.

ANY centerfire rifle over 10 rounds magazine, even if the magazine is fixed in place. This matters since The State effectively banned removable magazines in “ugly guns” by putting all of them on the banned list. The “work around” was something called the Bullet Button (ref below). You can’t eject the magazine by hand, but must use a “tool”. Via court case, a bullet was ruled a “tool”. (Hey, any chunk of metal would do, but the bullet is handy. Had the case been lost, then folks would just hang a hex key on a wrist band).

This matters because it is what the San Bernardino folks used. They did, however, modify the mechanism illegally to enable a finger push to work. (I surmise they figured out that a chunk of metal rod and superglue makes a non-finger button fingerable length…)

And that, in essence, is the problem. Folks willing to commit murder are not really concerned about following all the niceties of making their gun conform to stupidity.

So they had a friend buy a legal “semi-ugly” gun, illegally transfer it to them, then made illegal modifications, then transported it illegally after loading it, to commit illegal murders. I think I see a trend… Laws don’t stop them.

(3) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches [762 mm].
(4) A semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:

(A) A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip.
(B) A second handgrip.
(C) A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel that allows the bearer to fire the weapon without burning his or her hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel.
(D) The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip.

(5) A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
(6) A semiautomatic shotgun that has both of the following:

(A) A folding or telescoping stock.
(B) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, thumbhole stock, or vertical handgrip.

What difference does it make to have the magazine outside the pistol grip? None. What difference does it make to have a second hand grip? None. (Except maybe to the elderly and women with small hands who need a better grip on a gun). Essentially, this is an “ugly gun” spec, devoid of practical effect.

How about you folks with shotguns? Think you are exempt?

(7) A semiautomatic shotgun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine.
(8) Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder.

Nope. Now a revolving shotgun is not exactly a state of the art “assault weapon”, but they do look scary. Welcome to banning state of the art 1800’s technology. Also note that most semi-auto shotguns let you feed ammo into the loading gate any time you like. A bag on the hip is an unlimited magazine, but that’s OK, it isn’t a detachable box. Forget having two boxes, one with turkey loads and one with deer slugs, and swapping as whichever one presents to you. That would be using an “assault weapon”.

And that is the essential lie at the hear ot “assault weapons” bans. They do NOT ban Military Guns, they ban things like shotguns and pistols with the “wrong” grips.

In addition, (Penal Code §12001.5) bans, by definition, short-barreled shotguns and short-barreled rifles. Defined in Penal Code §12020; a short-barreled shotgun is defined as a firearm (designed, redesigned, or altered) to fire a fixed shotgun shell and has a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches or an overall length of less than 26 inches. A short-barreled rifle is defined as a semiautomatic, center fire rifle with a barrel length of less than 16 inches or an overall length of less than 26 inches.

Interesting note- While a Rossi Circuit Judge (18″ barrel) is considered a shotgun with a revolving cylinder (violation of #8 above), the CA DOJ claims it is legal because it has a rifled barreled. However, the Taurus Judge handgun is considered a “short-barreled shotgun” and therefore illegal in CA, even though it fires the same shot shell as the Circuit Judge, as well as has a rifled barrel. Conversely, there are many revolvers that fire shot shells made in different calibers (e.g. 22, 9mm, 38, etc.) mostly used to shoot birds or snakes. Even though these handguns, with less that 18″ barrels, fire shot shells, like the The Judge, they are legal in California.

Hopefully that helps make it clear why folks who DO know something about guns are so adamantly against “assault weapons bans”. First off, they are butt stupid. Second off, they just don’t work (see San Bernardino). Third, they are a royal PITA to us normal folks.

Bullet Button


A bullet button is a device used to fix a magazine in a semiautomatic rifle
that replaces the magazine release with a block which forces the user to remove the magazine by using a tool as opposed to his or her finger; this allows rifles to comply with California’s firearms law. The name came about due to a 1999 California State law which said that a “bullet or ammunition cartridge is considered a tool.”

After certain rifles with detachable magazines and certain other features were classified as assault weapons under California State law, gun owners and manufacturers sought various ways to obtain certain styles of rifles similar to those determined to be assault weapons. One of the most common modifications is the use of a part known as a bullet button, which modifies a rifle so that the magazine is not removable without the use of a tool (a bullet was defined as a tool per state law). The bullet button was invented and named by Darin Prince of California in January 2007. Prince also holds the US Trademark for Bullet Button USPTO trademark registration number 77663672

The bullet button recesses a small release within a block that replaces the magazine release. The recessed button to detach the magazine cannot be pressed by the shooter’s finger. Firearms with this feature no longer have a “detachable magazine” under California’s assault weapons definition
, and therefore may be exempt depending on the other requirements.

The 2012 court case Haynie v Pleasanton validated that a bullet button is legal and rifles that have one installed are not considered assault weapons.

Many tools have been devised to make it easier and faster to release a magazine from a rifle, as California law states that the user must use an external tool not attached to the rifle.
A popular tool, the “magnet button,” which sticks on the bullet button, has not been determined to be illegal. The use of illegal buttons may cause the rifle to be considered an assault weapon, which is a felony and could result in prosecution.

Gun-rights activist Jeff Knox wrote that banning guns with bullet buttons would be unconstitutional.

California Senator Leland Yee attempted to have the bullet button outlawed in California, as did U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein at the federal level; both attempts failed. On April 20, 2016, California state lawmakers gave initial approval of a bill that prohibited the sale of rifles with the bullet button. This followed a December 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, in which the perpetrators, Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, used rifles with the bullet button, which they modified to circumvent the device.

So after breaking a few dozen laws, including murder, the “fix” is to make it even harder for all the rest of us to change magazines when we DON’T illegally modify our firearms!?

“The Stupid Is Strong In Them, OB1″…

Odds and Odder Ends

Just Traveling through?

Get your butt out of town fast, don’t stop unless you can’t keep moving, and better have a lot of locked boxes.

Nonresidents transporting assault weapons through California

There are protections under the federal Firearm Owners Protection Act for nonresidents traveling through California with firearms that meet the state’s assault weapon criteria. First, the weapon must be legal for the traveler to own under federal law and under the laws of his or her home state and the state of destination. Additionally, the weapon in question must be unloaded with the firearm and ammunition locked in separate cases and placed in an area of the vehicle that is not easily accessible, such as the trunk of a car or bed of a truck. Finally, the traveler should traverse the state by the shortest route and make the minimum number of stops practicable.

Those of you with hatchback cars, station wagons, vans, and no trunk, well, hope the cop takes pity on you… Also, do note the 2 boxes. No sticking ammo into the gun case and calling it locked and done. Oh, and no stopping for lunch and a movie with family or friends along the way. That stop wasn’t needed and you violated the “minium” “practicable” provision. Welcome to jail…

Oh, and make SURE you have a map of EVERY school of any kind whatsoever.


When being transported, handguns must be unloaded and in a locked fully enclosed container other than the glove box or any console attached to the vehicle. The trunk of a car is considered to be a locked container but a glove box or “utility box” is specifically forbidden. If one believes he or she is within a “gun-free school zone” (area surrounding 1,000 feet from the edge of school grounds which teaches any grade from kindergarten to 12th grade) then the handgun must be locked in a fully enclosed container. Failure to lock up a handgun while in a school zone is a violation of federal (only if one does not possess a concealed weapons permit issued by California) and state law.

Long guns (rifles, shotguns) must be unloaded when transported in a vehicle. There is no requirement for a locked container with the exception of long guns considered to be “assault weapons”. Federal law requires locking containers when inside of a “gun-free school zone.” In U.S. v. Lopez the Supreme Court ruled the federal Gun-Free School Zone Act was an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s power under the commerce clause. However, in 1996 Congress passed an amendment to the law requiring the gun to have traveled in interstate commerce, thereby voiding the effect of the ruling.

Assault weapons, as defined by California law, must always be transported in locked containers and may only be transported under certain circumstances

So note that simply transporting their guns was a separate offense for the San Bernardino shooters.

The school zone of 1000 feet is about 5 blocks in my neighborhood. Mapping out the local schools, it is essentially impossible to leave my neighborhood and not be in one at some point. Lord help the person who doesn’t know the area and doesn’t know a school is 4 blocks off the freeway…

Oh, and don’t let your 17 year old be in the presence of a gun:

Child safety

Firearms must be kept locked up when children may be present
. The 2008 California Dangerous Weapons Control Law modified California Penal Code §12035 defining criminal storage of a firearm as keeping “any loaded firearm within any premises that are under his or her custody or control and he or she knows or reasonably should know that a child is likely to gain access to the firearm.” A person may be charged with a crime, if he or she keeps a loaded firearm, and the child takes the firearm to a public place or causes injury.

Note the “may”. They don’t have to actually BE there. Just “may” be there. Someday…

So the San Bernardino shooters also violated that law as they had a kid at home. (Infants count too).

Also, be sure you do not “transfer” or “loan” a 10+ rd magazine to anyone. That’s a crime. A bit unclear is if letting them shoot your gun at the range is “loan” snd a crime, or not.

Section 32310 of the Penal Code states: “commencing January 1, 2000, any person in this state who manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives, lends, buys, or receives any large-capacity magazine is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment”. Thus, the offenses listed can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor at the discretion of the prosecutor. The section continues further by explaining that: “‘manufacturing’ includes both fabricating a magazine and assembling a magazine from a combination of parts, including, but not limited to, the body, spring, follower, and floor plate or end plate, to be a fully functioning large-capacity magazine”. Until January 1, 2014, it was only a crime to “manufacture, import, keep for sale, offer or expose for sale, or give or lend any large-capacity magazine”. Assembly Bill 48 was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on October 11, 2013 and expanded previous prohibitions by making it illegal to buy or receive a large-capacity magazine or magazine rebuild kit. Peace officers (under Penal Code Section 830) and “person licensed pursuant to [CA Penal Code] Sections 26700 to 26915” are exempt this prohibition on the purchase and sale of large-capacity magazines for personal use. However, federal law enforcement officers are not exempt and must obtain large-capacity magazines through their agency.

Can’t be letting Federal Law Enforcement buy large capacity magazines… they might hurt somebody…

Also note, that despite a State Preemption law, local cities often pass their own tighter bans, so be careful what CITY you drive through.

It is noteworthy that mere possession of a large-capacity magazine is not, in and of itself, a violation of the California Penal Code. That said, the City of Sunnyvale (Chapter 9.44 of the Sunnyvale Municipal Code) and the City and County of San Francisco (Article 9, Section 619 of the San Francisco Police Code) have enacted ordinances that make mere possession of large-capacity magazines a misdemeanor offense within their respective city limits. The Los Angeles City Council has passed a resolution stating they want to draft an ordinance similar to those in Sunnyvale and San Francisco but no actual ordinance has been passed.

So be sure to plot your course carefully avoiding every local nutcase law fanatic…

So I own a perfectly legal pre-ban magazine for one of my guns, but I can’t drive through Sunnyvale to the shooting range with it. Nor can I drive to the North Coast via Hwy 101 as it goes through San Francisco. Routing inland adds a few hours and has no view, but works. Maybe. If there are no schools 1/5 of a mile either side of the freeway…

In Conclusion

This is just a SAMPLE of the crazy patchwork of gun laws in California. The intent is simple. Force ALL handguns and ANY gun “they” don’t like to be banned or locked up at all times. That use of “they” is not hyperbole. There is a commission that puts guns on the banned list. There really is a “they” and they really do ban what isn’t to their liking. Then layer on enough edge cases that just about anyone at just about any time can be arrested and then their guns confiscated.

Note that even in the boonies, you better have a hunting license to carry an UNLOADED gun. Say from your car to the shooting range.

Prior to January 1, 2012, it was legal to openly carry an unloaded handgun in public. In October 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that modifies the law on openly carrying an unloaded firearm to match the restrictions for openly carrying a loaded weapon.] Legislation was later signed by Governor Brown to expand these restrictions to long guns and shotguns, except while hunting.

Note that “shooting range” is not “hunting” nor is “taking to the cabin in case of bear attack” if you don’t have a hunting license. Gotta have that locked box…

California, busy protecting people from unloaded guns…

Bill 1014 that has passed the State Senate in September 2014 would allow the police to confiscate guns from high-risk individuals for a period of 21 days without a warrant or court order. On 30 September 2014, Governor Brown signed the law which is phased in through 1 January 2016. This makes California the fourth state (behind Connecticut, Indiana, and New York) to have a weapons seizure law.

It isn’t stated what makes someone “high-risk”. Perhaps not agreeing that “Global Warming” is real? Using “hate speech” like saying marriage ought to be between a man and a woman? Who knows… but at least they don’t need to get any messy due process or warrants or courts involved…

Yet despite the most draconian set of gun bans and laws around, San Bernardino still happened, and Oakland still has shootouts in the drug turfs.

Is there really any doubt that this same set of laws is “coming soon to a State (or Feds) near you”?

Or that they will be just as ineffective at stopping gun deaths?

Do not let the phrase “assault weapon” fool you.
It includes handguns, shotguns, anything with a big magazine, and more.
Just say no.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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14 Responses to What California Teaches About “Assault” Weapon Bans – They Fail.

  1. E.M.Smith says:

    Very strange… a day later, no comments… so I look and see that comments are shut off on this posting… Yet I never shut them off and the default has always been “allow”…

    One hopes it was a random glitch and not…

  2. Larry Ledwick says:

    That is why I was posting some related items in tips I thought comments were off intentionally based on title so did not raise the issue.

  3. Adrian Camp says:

    I am temporarily in Texas. Yesterday I went to Cabela’s, an outdoor sports warehouse store. There was a line at the counter that collects data for background checks. They are selling a gun every couple of minutes. Mostly handguns. Some AR-15s left, Plenty of AKs. All semi-auto. But the number of guns which don’t qualify (except maybe in CA) as assault rifles..Old-style Winchesters and Henrys, hand-cranked but capable of a decent rate of fire, M1 Carbine, a semi-auto Thompson with optional 50-round drum .50 BMG snlper rifles. If you have the will and intent to commit a massacre any of them will do. So will any number of handguns. There are 300 million guns in the US. Nothing some new regulation can do will keep them out of the hands of killers. Debating whether they should have a thumbhole is beyond reason irrelevant.

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    Since a year from now figuring out ‘which tips posting’ would be a challenge, I’m linking to your last one there so they can be found…

  5. E.M.Smith says:


    ANY “assault weapon” ban law will become a christmass tree over time upon which every gun but a 1776 musket will be hung… that has been the history in those States that have one. Chicago law reads like a copy of California, as does New York and D.C. I think…

  6. p.g.sharrow says:

    I guess you said it all., California politicians have been busy erasing provisions of the Constitutions. Both the Federal and state ones. Democratic Communism in action…pg.

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, not quite all… yet. I didn’t mention the assault on ammunition going on too.


    Basically banning lead bullets ( harder materials banned as “armor piercing”…)

    Phase 1 – Effective July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition will be required when taking Nelson bighorn sheep and all wildlife on CDFW lands.

    Phase 2 – Effective July 1, 2016, nonlead shot will be required when taking upland game birds with a shotgun, except for dove, quail, snipe, and any game birds taken on licensed game bird clubs. In addition, nonlead shot will be required when using a shotgun to take resident small game mammals, furbearing mammals, nongame mammals, nongame birds, and any wildlife for depredation purposes.

    Phase 3 – Effective July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition will be required when taking any wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California.

    Completely unclear is what will replace it. Especially in .22 rimfire, and at what price…

    Oh, and once all ammo is specialty boutique priced and made of exotics, then those solutions can be found to be “problematic” in some way… repeat until the emptyset…

    Oh, and do note that use of, say, your self defence gun with lead ammo to kill the mountain lion eating your child, will not exempt you from this law. You ought to have politely asked the lion to stop… or not been there in the first place… besides, it was hungry…

    Waterfowl shot is now available in Bismuth, at a price…

    BTW, local shooting ranges are being shut down for “toxic lead emmissions”, so don’t think that non-game shooters are getting a pass. The local Police even complained as it was becomming impossible to find places for mandated practice. One installed extensive lead filtering… so the rules were changed to tighter than that… Last I checked, they were going out of business.

  8. JP Miller says:

    Prodigious effort, EM. The 2nd Amendment is an interesting thing. I don’t think it was meant to prevent citizens from owning, say, artillery at the time, was it? Just curious.

    It seems to me that California law, and others with similar restrictions on weapons, are nothing more than a repeal of the 2nd Amendment, to a greater or lesser extent. If the 2nd Amendment were to be repealed, at least it would make control laws legitimate, which they do not seem to me to be now.

  9. Larry Ledwick says:

    At the time the second amendment was passed if you were rich enough to afford a cannon you could have one. Note the privateers who outfitted ships with guns to exercise Letters of Marque and Reprisal.

    The U.S. Constitution provides, Article I, Sec. 8 cl. 11:

    The Congress shall have Power … To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;


    It was as best I can determine the gun control act of 1934 that first blocked civilian ownership of such weapons under the destructive devices provisions:

    Devices such as grenades, bombs, explosive missiles, poison gas weapons, etc.
    Any firearm with a bore over 0.50 inch except for shotguns or shotgun shells which have been found to be generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes. (Many firearms with bores over 0.50″ inch, such as 20-gauge or 12-gauge shotguns, are exempted from the law because they have been determined to have a “legitimate sporting use”.)

    Note that this is also the source of the left’s constant droning about “sporting use”

    In 1934 they were trying to block use by organized crime of heavier weapons like the thompson submachine gun, the BAR (browning Automatic Rifle), Maxim Machine guns and hand grenades etc. which were being used in the gang wars of the period.

    The destructive devices legislation also would have outlawed such large bore weapons as Punt guns which were used for sporting use although shooting a 50 birds at one volley is not sporting it was a legitimate way of harvesting water foul at one time.

  10. E.M.Smith says:


    Up until banned by the Progressives, you could own cannon if you wanted. Many folks did. Oh, and dynamite. Used to buy it at the hardware store up until about 1960-ish. FWIW, you CAN still own a black powder cannon, and many Civil War Renactors do. I’ve been present at their firing ;-)

    Prior to and during the Civil War, many folks were “officers” by the expedient of buying a cannon. If you showed up with your cannon and crew, you were the officer… Typically taken home and parked near the porch after battle…

    Up until about 1970, you could buy “surplus” jet fighters… Then someone belly flopped one (engine flame out) into an ice cream parlor that an idiot built just off the end of the runway. Killed a birthday party party. Ban ice cream parlors in dangerous places like runways? Nope. Now 100% of military aircraft must be rendered permanently broken at end of service. Main spars cut, etc.

    Consequentially, you can buy great examples of U.S.S.R. history, and fly them, but U.S. History is on the scrap heap. Literally.

    So yes, at one time you could own all sorts of military goods. Heck, that’s why the occasional machine gun and hand grenades still show up in somebody’s attic. Lots of them were brought back to the U.S.A. as “war trophies”. (Wife’s dad brought back a German Lugar, for example.)

    So we have a very long history of massive arms availability with very low murder rates, turned into ever less available / accessible via arms banning; and constantly increasing death and crimes as the arms level drops.

    You would think someone might have noticed…

  11. Larry Ledwick says:

    Wow what a pile of steaming crap and many blatant errors in that courier piece.

    The sad fact? Assault-style weapons were outlawed in 1994 but were reintroduced into American culture after the ban expired in 2004 when Congress failed to renew it.

    They were not “outlawed”, new production and sales were prohibited and the definition was so ridiculous (definition was based on appearance) the same weapons continued to be sold with minor cosmetic changes, all the old weapons were grandfathered so they were never “outlawed” in the sense the article implies. The law expired due to a sunset provision (ie expired automatically if not renewed). It was not renewed because it had no provable effect on gun crime.

    It comes as shocking figures reveal that FIVE MILLION Americans own an AR-15, according to the National Shooting Sports Federation.

    Not shocking at all, that would mean AR-15’s account for almost 1.6% of all firearms in the hands of U.S. Citizens. Sources place the number of guns in civilian hands at in excess of 310 million as of 2009 (and rising rapidly thanks to the Obama administrations efforts to ban them) In the year 2000 there were 8.5 million background checks run for gun purchase. In 2015 there were 23,141,970 background checks and the numbers keep climbing every time the Democrats make a push for gun bans new records are set.

    (not all result in purchases but you can buy multiple guns on a single background check. ie want to buy a hand gun and a long gun for a bear hunting trip, one background check suffices for both purchases if made on the same day same store)

    With prices ranging from $350-$8000 a pop, the AR-15, an evolution of the US military’s M-16 rifle, is manufactured by dozens of gun makers, including Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger.

    Unlike its military relative, the AR-15, developed in 1958, is semiautomatic, but it’s enough to do a whole lot of damage. …

    The AR-15 is not a derivation of the military M-16 it is the other way around the AR-15 was the first design, and it became the M-16 on adoption by the Military. The M-16 entered service in 1965. The AR-15 is a derivative of the AR-10 design which was developed in 1955.

    “America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms,” American-born al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn said in 2011.

    “You can go down to a gun show at the local convention centre and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?”

    Even those on terrorist watch lists aren’t prohibited from purchasing a gun.

    Choosing to quote a known terrorist as an authority is a nice touch even if what he says is an absolute lie. Fully automatic weapons have been strictly controlled as Title II weapons (class 3 dealers only) since 1934, new manufacture for civilian use has been prohibited since 1986, and to buy one of the older legal weapons requires a long approval process from the BATF, the payment of a $200 transfer tax on purchase and the money to be able to afford a weapon that might cost $15,000 or more. With the 1986 prohibition they are now highly valued rare guns and not sold at your typical convention center gun shows. Even if they were, you would need to get a background check to purchase them from a dealer at such a show.

    The terrorist watch list is not “A” list there are several of them and there is no defined reason why people end up on those lists. They are simply a catch all list of people who might have at some time some where did or said something that some other random person thought was threatening or of concern. People on the lists don’t even know they are on the lists until that fact causes a problem for them like not being able to board a plane. In short they are grab bag of names thrown the list for who knows what reason and getting off the list is a major hassle with no “due process” if someone finds themselves on those lists. Totally inappropriate for a screening tool to block a constitutional right. This is the reason efforts to do so are being blocked by sensible people because if that were allowed, anyone’s right to own a fire arm could be denied by some random bureaucrat for some unknown reason — ie defacto ban, very quickly the lists would encompass most of the population of the US who were not on the “cool insider” team.

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve generally noticed that those who know anything about guns are in favor of access, while those against guns have astounding ignorance of them and of the existing laws. The more against, the deeper the ignorance.

    Sad, but true.

    Then you get to season their ‘arguments’ with blatant lies and political emotional gush… it rapidly becomes a stinking pile of poo… Attempts to clean it up usually resulting in piles of it thrown at you (with invective).

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    And another load of stupid gets layered on. “Hey, it didn’t work the first dozen times, so lets try more of it!” seems to be the thinking… Or maybe it’s just “Virtue Signalling”
    ( https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2016/07/02/virtue-signalling-what-where/ )


    SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a number of gun control measures into law Friday, including a bill banning high-capacity gun magazines and another outlawing the “bullet button” loophole that allows shooters to quickly change magazines.

    A third gun control measure signed by Brown requires that ammunition sellers be licensed, purchases screened and transactions recorded.

    Brown also vetoed other gun bills Friday, including one that would have required homemade firearms to be registered, and another that would have required the reporting of guns that were lost or stolen.

    SB 1446, authored by Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Oakland), prohibits the possession of any high-capacity magazine or ammunition-holding device for an assault-style weapon that holds more than 10 rounds.

    “These so-called ‘high-capacity magazines’ are not for target shooting or hunting. Their sole purpose is to kill people in the shortest period of time,” said Hancock in a prepared statement. “In a video from the recent Orlando massacre, you can clearly hear at least 22 rounds being fired in rapid succession from inside the building. If the shooter had to stop to reload, he might have been stopped and lives would have been saved.”

    Local ordinances in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Oakland already ban high-capacity magazines. The ordinances have so far been all upheld by the courts.

    The ban on the so-called “bullet button” closes a loophole in California’s assault weapon ban in which shooters could use the tip of a bullet or small tool to quickly change magazines.

    In a statement, the National Rifle Association called the gun control measures signed by the governor “draconian” and said they turn “California’s law-abiding gun owners into second-class citizens.”

    “The governor and legislature exploited a terrorist attack to push these measures through even though the state’s already restrictive laws did nothing to stop the attack in San Bernadino,” said spokeswoman Amy Hunter. “These bills make no one safer, they only add another layer of laws that criminals will continue to break. The National Rifle Association is prepared to pursue all options moving forward – legal, legislative and political.”

    No telling what is actually IN the laws, as what they claim often has no real relationship to the actual meaning the assign to the words in the laws.

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