Sacramento, CA –-(Ammoland.com)- Apparently, Attorney General (AG) Kamala Harris has changed California State Department of Justice policy and is now limiting federal law enforcement agents' ability to acquire handguns.
The AG says the feds can only buy firearms listed on the Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale (like the rest of us).
Understandably, federal law enforcement officers aren't happy about it. Welcome feds, to the California disarmament festival.
California law restricts the types of handguns people can acquire through licensed firearm dealers (PC 32000). As backwards as it sounds, before most Californians can acquire a handgun, that firearm must not be considered “unsafe.” To not be considered “unsafe,” handguns must pass performance tests and have certain features that (in theory only) make the firearms allegedly safer (PC 31910). Most problematic for the California public is the recent development that before any semiautomatic pistol can be added to the Roster of guns approved for sale they must be equipped with “microstamping” technology (PC 31910(b)(7)). Starting a couple months ago, this easily circumvented engraving technology is now required on new semiautomatic pistols before they can be added to the approved roster (pistols submitted for safety testing when “microstamping” was certified, on May 17, 2013, can still be added to the Roster).
California citizens are just as frustrated as federal law enforcement officers with the situation. When the roster of available pistols they can purchase dwindles down to a limited few – because manufacturers are refusing to implement “microstamping” – federal law enforcement's objections will grow louder. And if pending legislation (SB 293) concerning “smart guns” passes and is signed by the Governor, federal law enforcement will also be forced to choose from an even more limited number of models … just like civilians.
Forgive us mere civilians if we aren't completely sympathetic to the plight of the feds.
The Feds predicament stems from a recent (and correct) change in the Attorney General's interpretation of existing California law. While California law restricts the sale of “unsafe handguns” by dealers, there are some exceptions to the restriction. The exception used by most law enforcement agencies and officers, and the one used until recently by federal law enforcement officers, was the following:
The sale or purchase of any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, if the pistol, revolver, or other firearm is sold to, or purchased by, the Department of Justice, any police department, any sheriff's official, any marshal's office, the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency, the California Highway Patrol, any district attorney's office, or the military or naval forces of this state or of the United States for use in the discharge of their official duties. Nor shall anything in this section prohibit the sale to, or purchase by, sworn members of these agencies of any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
Pen. Code, § 32000(b)(4)
You might notice, as did the California's Attorney General, that federal law enforcement officers are not mentioned in this exception! The “Department of Justice” referred to in this section is the California Department of Justice, not a federal agency. So the AG's analysis is correct: federal law enforcement is not exempt from the “unsafe handgun” restriction.
Welcome to the party guys!
Hey, maybe the feds can try to take advantage of a number of other exceptions to “unsafe handgun” sales restriction.The private party exception (PC 32110(a)) allows “unsafe handguns” to be transferred between two individuals who reside in California. That works sometimes. In fact, maybe federal law enforcement officers can convince their friends in the Sacramento Sheriff's Office or Los Angeles Police Department to purchase firearms on their behalf, as a few officers from those agencies have been doing. But oops, turns out that's illegal. (See the following links concerning the federal criminal case filed against members of the Sacramento Sheriff's Department, and articles concerning the LAPD illegal transfers).
Okay, if that won't work maybe the federal officers can take advantage of the “single shot pistol” exception (PC 32100). Some civilians have tried this, by finding a single shot version of “unsafe handguns” they want to acquire, then modifying it after purchase. This voids the warranty, but we do suggest that feds buy these before the legislature closes this exception as well (AB 169 is currently in the appropriations “suspense file” but may be brought back at any time).
No doubt this screwing of federal agents will be “fixed” by the legislature when and if federal law enforcement agencies find a state politician with a compassionate ear.
Despite the law's potential change, the question remains: why is law enforcement allowed special privileges to acquire firearms to defend themselves and their families when the general public can't acquire the same firearms? We are all at risk. So why limit anyone's right to access the best tools to defend themselves and their families? Why the double-standard?
Barring those few exceptions we, the self-defense civil rights activists of California, welcome federal law enforcement officers to the State of California disarmament festival. We thank them for their service. We look forward to them joining us in the limited exercise of our Second Amendment rights, or fighting for its expansion … for all of us!
The California Rifle and Pistol Association “CRPA,” founded in 1875, is dedicated to defending the rights of law-abiding citizens to responsibly use firearms for self-defense and the defense of their loved ones, for sport, and for all other legal activities. CRPA is the official state association of the National Rifle Association. A California non-profit association, CRPA is independently directed by its own Board of Directors. CRPA's members include law enforcement officers, prosecutors, professionals, firearm experts, the general public, and loving parents. CRPA has always worked to reduce the criminal misuse of firearms and firearms accidents, while actively promoting and organizing the competitive shooting sports and Olympic training programs in California. We are proud to say that many CRPA competitors are among the best in the world. Visit: www.crpa.org