Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- Last month, April, 2018, the California Department of Justice raided prominent Kern County Farmer, Jeffrey Scott Kirschenmann. The justification for the raid was pictures the farmer had sent to the Department of Justice in an attempt to register a rifle. The DOJ claimed the rifle was an illegally modified “Assault weapon”. During the raid, the DOJ confiscated 230 rounds of ammunition, a dozen guns, two objects claimed to be “silencers”, and some sort of trigger activator.
There is reason to be wary of the accuracy of the claims of what was found during the raid. California law is very complex. California law enforcement officers have been known to make mistakes about what is an “assault weapon” and what is not. “Silencers” can only be determined with a test to see if the devices actually reduce the sound signature of a firearm. There are many fake look alike simulated “silencers” on the market. From kget.com:
Retired KCSO Commander Joe Pilkington is a court recognized firearms expert. He could not speak directly to Kirschenmann's case but says the laws are changing so frequently, it's often hard to keep up with the latest regulations.
“Just in the last few years, there have been lots of changes in gun laws,” he said. “Making an effort, a good faith effort to comply with these really complicated laws, should count for something.”
A new state law requires assault-style weapons be registered by the end of June.
Pilkington recommends anyone who isn't sure about the process go through a federally licensed firearms dealer.
For years, those who wish a disarmed population have told Second Amendment supporters that registration does not lead to confiscation. Second Amendment supporters have been repeatedly told “no one wants to confiscate your guns”.
In this case, an attempt to register a gun led to confiscation of several guns and a dozen felony charges against the owner of the gun who had made the attempt.
The raid was counterproductive if the purpose was to actually have guns registered.
Comments among gun owner ran to these lines:
- Don't ever register anything. It cannot lead to anything good.
- Guy was probably trying to do the right thing. He has money, now he will be bankrupted by the state.
- Can't possibly know what is legal and illegal anymore, without a law degree.
- Too bad he wasn't an illegal alien. They would go easy on him.
California gun laws are extremely complex. They are difficult to follow. And the California State Attorney's office has a reputation for pursuing extremely strict, even bizarre, interpretations of the law. A federal judge had this to say about California gun law, in 2017. From sandiegouniontribune.com:
The judge eviscerated the attorney general’s arguments and said while the lawyer was well-prepared in her presentation, she was not able to describe certain intricacies of the law.
“Who could blame her? The California matrix of gun control laws is among the harshest in the nation and are filled with criminal law traps for people of common intelligence who desire to obey the law,” Benitez said. “Statutes must be sufficiently well-defined so that reasonably intelligent citizens can know what conduct is against the law.”
California's monopoly on power by far-left Democrats has not helped. The legislature seems to be in a race to pass complicated and severe laws. Several laws have been upheld by the Ninth Circuit. The Supreme Court does not seem interested in hearing appeals.
It is too early to know exactly what happened with Jeffrey Scott Kirschenmann's case. No one was harmed by his activity. The drug war has created ample precedent to impose big penalties in cases where there is no clear victim.
The California legislature is creating a reputation as the state most infringing on the Second Amendment rights. Currently, New Jersey and Hawaii can logically be claimed to infringe more, because they effectively issue no permits to carry guns outside of the home. Many counties in California issue substantial numbers of carry permits. That does not happen in New Jersey or Hawaii.
California is one of only six states that does not have a protection of the right to keep and bear arms in its state constitution.
Many have questioned whether the California legislature wants people to actually follow the law, or whether they wish to create more felons among gun owners, to signal virtue, and to discourage gun ownership. The famous quote from Ayn Rand comes to mind:
“Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against… We're after power and we mean it… There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.”
Jeffrey Scott Kirschenmann has means to fight the legal battle. We cannot rely on the California DOJ to give unbiased information in the case. They are prosecuting the case, and modern prosecutors have become focused on getting convictions instead of pursuing justice. Jeffrey Scott Kirschenmann has rationally lawyered up and is not releasing information to the public.
It may be years before we know all the details, if we ever do.
The message from the California DOJ seems clear: Contact with us risks a full blown swat raid on your home. It is not a message that encourages trust in the system and the rule of law.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.