Three Layer Idiocy Cake: The Sickly State of the 2nd Amendment in California - ITS Tactical
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Three Layer Idiocy Cake: The Sickly State of the 2nd Amendment in California

By Matthew Sharp

Chances are good that if you believe in the legitimacy of the Second Amendment, you’re already familiar with California’s blatant disregard for that pesky section of the Bill of Rights. You may not know, however, the degree to which the multiple layers of government routinely try to kick that amendment and the people who choose to exercise that right, in the metaphoric teeth. It borders on absurdity and for those of us who, for whatever reason, have to live here, it’s a consistent pain in the proverbial backside.

I’m a shooter and have lived in the belly of the beast, San Francisco, for almost two decades and I’m not alone in this regard. I know a sizable number of people who live here in the Bay Area and other areas of California, who believe firmly in the 2nd Amendment. Particularly that it describes a right that isn’t granted by the Constitution, but acknowledged by it and cannot be taken away from the law-abiding people of this country, regardless of the particular state in which they reside.

We’re gun owners and shooters; we train in the use of firearms whenever and wherever we can. We take firearms safety seriously, we don’t commit murders, we don’t escalate bar fights into gun battles and not one of us has ever gone on a shooting rampage, nor will we ever.

Yet at every turn, the State of California implies that it’s only a matter of time that we will do one, if not all of those things. They continue their effort to pass layer upon layer of restrictive legislation that makes our lives harder and more difficult to maintain an ability to defend ourselves from those who would deprive us of our lives. Regardless of the fact that if caught, they could be convicted both of murder and additional petty firearms charges, which apparently don’t serve as enough of a deterrent to prevent them from committing these crimes.

National-Level Idiocy

The top layer of Californian firearm-related idiocy is, of course, the national layer; which is to say the layer that has an effect on the world outside California. Between the constant stream of Californian Senators and Congresspeople pushing their gun control agenda, to the seemingly endless array of celebrities who happily shill for gun control causes (despite the irony that they often earn their livings portraying themselves as “people of the gun” – I’m looking at you, Matt Damon), California has made itself the butt of any number of jokes and has earned the ire of anyone who holds our Second Amendment as an important tenet worthy of defending.

Misery Loves Company

The list of anti-gun Californian legislators on the national stage is a lengthy and notorious one. Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and Henry Waxman have all received national media attention for their anti-Second Amendment voting and willingness to act against the oath they swore to defend; the U.S. Constitution.

Rather than spend much time detailing the antics of these legislators, we’ll assume you’re already familiar with some of their actions. Californian federal-level politicians are often times behind national efforts to destroy or diminish the 2nd Amendment and if they aren’t the instigators, they’re quick to line up to support those that are. If you feel that I’m being hyperbolic here, allow me to use the words of these politicians to illustrate exactly what I’m talking about:

“If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them; “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ‘em all in,” I would have done it.” – Dianne Feinstein

“Banning guns addresses a fundamental right of all Americans to feel safe.” – Feinstein

“The National Guard fulfills the militia mentioned in the Second amendment. Citizens no longer need to protect the states or themselves.” – Feinstein

“If I had my way, sporting guns would be strictly regulated, the rest would be confiscated.” – Nancy Pelosi

“The fact is, sensible gun laws work, we’ve proven it in California and we’re not going to give up.” – Barbara Boxer, in comments made the day after the San Bernardino shooting

We could go on, but you likely get the point by now and there’s plenty more to discuss in regard to the outright disdain California displays towards the Second Amendment.

Irresponsible Propaganda of Mass Media

We live, unfortunately, in an era of celebrity worship. While our 1776 revolution may have initially torn off the tyranny of monarchic rule, we’ve done everything in our power since that time to build our own version of royalty. Our culture jumps at every opportunity to ask what our “celebrities” think about the state of our nation and the issues that effect it and our “celebrities” rarely squander an opportunity to run their mouths on these subjects, often times despite the complete lack of understanding and experience they may have on these issues.

No subset of celebrities has been as vocal and visible as those who, for all intents and purposes, spend their professional careers pretending to be other people. Those people in mass media, television and movies are all too happy to offer their naive misunderstandings of the role guns play both in the history of this nation, as well as the role they shouldn’t play in modern society.

Hollywood is the center of much of this mass media production and it’s the absolute epicenter of celebrity gun control advocacy. Ironically, at the same time the individual practitioners of “culture creation” may offer their proclamations that we need to “get rid of all privately-owned guns,” they’ve made a sizable portion of their living using fake guns. Additionally, in the process they’ve propagated myths about how guns work and how people should use them.

Without those firearms, a large number of movies wouldn’t be compelling enough for people to watch them. Liam Neeson and Matt Damon tell us we shouldn’t own guns and at the same time make their living portraying gun-savvy secret agents on screen. Rosie O’Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg screech their views that no one needs firearms, all from the comfort of being protected by armed security, completely unaware of the hypocrisy of their positions.

State-Level Idiocy

Not content with spewing anti-gun vitriol in Federal legislation and inundating the public at large to non-stop agitprop through the synthesis of cultural bilge, California’s state-level politicians routinely make sure they’re getting their cut of the anti-gun crusade as well. Thus, we cut further into the second layer of idiocy that is Californian governance. Some of it makes the national news and some of it doesn’t, though all of it has an effect on firearms owners in the state.

Kevin Leon and the Battle Against Ghost Guns

Kevin Leon (generally known as “Kevin de León,” though that’s neither his birth name, nor has he legally changed it from “Kevin Alexander Leon”) is a state-level California politician who, in the course of pursuing the outlawing of “80% lowers,” made the following statement:

“This is a ghost gun. This right here has the ability with a 30-caliber clip to disperse with 30 bullets within half a second. 30 magazine clip within half a second.”

The multiple layers of wrongness are so dense, it’s difficult to dissect what he was even trying to say, much less what he actually said. Perhaps it’s part of a complex psychological obfuscation tactic, or perhaps it can safely be assumed that Mr. Leon has no idea what he’s talking about. Good thing he isn’t writing laws to outlaw things he doesn’t understand. Oh, wait…

“Assault Weapons”

In 1994, the United States Congress passed the “Assault Weapons Ban,” which later expired in 2004. California had already passed a similar piece of legislation called the “Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989,” which in effect, banned the sale, possession and transfer of the vast majority of semi-automatic rifles in California.

Anti-gun legislators, being generally unfamiliar with weapons they were so intent on legislating out of existence, made a number of tactical errors when penning their law. They banned specific makes and models of rifles, based entirely on cosmetic features, combined with the basic qualifications of what they defined as an “assault weapon,” which was semi-automatic center-fire rifles able to accept a detachable magazine.

In time and after the 2004 expiration of the federal AWB, Californian shooters found ways around the remaining Assault Weapons Control Act by inventing things like the “bullet button”. This device allows the rifle’s user to eject a magazine with one additional step. A “tool” (which often times could be as simple as a free round of ammunition), had to be used in order to use the magazine eject button that other free Americans will be familiar with.

There was also a ban on the import, manufacture and sale of anything larger than 10-round magazines. This saw growth of a vertical industry of disassembled 30 round magazines referred to as “replacement parts kits,” as well as 20 and 30 round magazines with a spring disallowing the addition of any more than 10 rounds into the magazine. So technically, Californians could own semi-automatic centerfire rifles, provided they were suitably neutered to match the legal requirements.

To describe the situation as “complex” would be to understate the actual situation. Determining the legality of particular weapon configurations was a legal minefield, though plenty of people ventured into that minefield and built or bought semi-automatic centerfire rifles in California and these rifles, unsurprisingly, were almost never used in crimes.

“Assault Weapons” 2, Semi-Automatic Boogaloo

In December of 2015, Syed Farook and his wife broke some laws. They broke the law that says you can’t murder people. They broke the federal law that says you can’t modify a semi-automatic rifle to make it capable of fully automatic firing. Their friend broke the law by making straw purchases for them. Possibly worst of all, they broke the California statute that says you can’t modify a California-compliant “assault weapon” to circumvent the requirement of using a secondary tool (in addition to your finger) in order to eject an empty magazine and replace it with a full magazine.

I’m being facetious here, but people who believe in that mistaken prioritization do exist and they immediately seized on the opportunity to push additional legislation. At first, they tried to push a law through the state legislature in order to outlaw “bullet buttons,” thus re-qualifying formerly legal semi-automatic centerfire rifles as banned “assault weapons”. This effort failed and upon that failure, they drafted and passed SB-880, thus expanding the definition of “assault weapons” to include everything they missed the first time, including specifically describing the “bullet button.”

As a result of SB-880, Californians who own rifles that were legal prior to passage, are faced with a choice. They can “register” the weapons as “assault rifles” with the State and give up ever modifying, selling or passing them down to a family member. Alternatively, they can modify the rifles to be “featureless” (meaning, specifically, getting rid of collapsible stocks, pistol grips, forward grips and “flash hiders”). Lastly, they can move them out of the state. By not following one of these three options, they risk becoming felons.

The Fifty Caliber Ban

In 2004, the State Legislature passed the .50 Caliber BMG Regulation Act of 2004, declaring that .50 caliber rifles posed a threat to the health and safety of the citizens of California. They enacted this in much the same way they’re enacting the second “assault weapon” ban. Owners of the rifles were given a year to register them with the Department of Justice and failure to do so by that deadline would mean that any unregistered .50 cal rifles would be illegal. This law was passed despite the complete lack of crimes committed in the state with .50 caliber rifles, thus solving yet another problem that didn’t actually exist.

…may have been committing a felony.

Though they carved out a Law Enforcement exemption in this law, Ronnie Barrett, of Barrett Firearms, wrote an open letter to the Los Angeles Police Department, letting him know that Barrett Firearms would refuse to sell any .50 caliber rifles to the LAPD.

“I personally attended the council meeting in Los Angeles regarding attempts to bar ownership of the .50 caliber rifle in your city. I was allowed to briefly address the council. The tone of the discussion was mostly emotionally based, so the facts that I attempted to provide were ineffective to the extent they were heard at all. The council voted to have the city attorney draft an ordinance to ban the .50 and further, to instruct the city’s representatives in Sacramento and in Washington D.C. to push for bans at their respective levels.

At that council meeting, I was very surprised to see an LAPD officer seated front and center with a Barrett 82A1 .50 cal rifle. It was the centerpiece of the discussion. As you know, there have been no crimes committed with these rifles and most importantly, current California law does not allow the sale of the M82AI in the state because of its detachable magazine and features that make it an “assault weapon.” This rifle was being deceptively used by your department. The officer portrayed it as a sample of a currently available .50 cal rifle, available for sale to the civilians of Los Angeles. One councilman even questioned how this rifle was available under current laws, but as I stated, facts were ineffective that day.

Your officer, speaking for the LAPD, endorsed the banning of this rifle and its ammunition. Then he used the rifle for photo ops with the Councilmen each of whom, in handling the firearm, may have been committing a felony. I was amazed.”

His letter went on to say that upon his return to office, he was surprised to find a different M82AI owned by LAPD was in the shop for repairs. He let them know, in no uncertain terms, that he would be dragging his feet getting that rifle repaired and would not be selling them any more rifles, as he never intended his rifles to be used as propaganda pieces towards civilian disarmament.

The Handgun Roster

California’s Department of Justice maintains what’s known as the “Handgun Roster,” which in essence, is a list of handguns the State has approved for sale and ownership inside California.

“Effective January 1, 2001, no handgun may be manufactured within California, imported into California for sale, lent, given, kept for sale, or offered/exposed for sale unless that handgun model has passed firing, safety and drop tests and is certified for sale in California by the Department of Justice. Private party transfers, curio/relic handguns, certain single-action revolvers and pawn/consignment returns are exempt from this requirement.”

The reality of this roster is that California gets to arbitrarily decide which handguns are approved and which ones aren’t. If manufacturers wish to sell their guns to residents of California, they must submit their firearms for “testing” in order to gain approval. Naturally, this costs the manufacturers money and even small revisions of firearms already on the existing roster requires submitting the requisite fees and samples for “testing” before approval is granted.

Say, for instance, Glock changes nothing on the G19 but the color of the polymer lower assembly between 2016 and 2017. Without submitting the additional fee and waiting for DOJ’s “testing” to result in approval (which, given the DOJ’s obvious goal of reducing the number of guns for sale in California, may or may not ever come), the new G19 will remain off-limits for Californians, while the old G19 will be available until such time as supply runs out.

One need only browse the “recent additions” to see the chilling effect this has had on available firearms within the state. The Hudson H9, HK VP9 and Glock 43 are prime examples of very popular new guns that will likely never be available for sale in California; short of a buyer finding someone who moved to the state with one of the off-roster firearms, who would be amenable to selling his or her gun to the purchaser.

Even then, the sale would require the “transformation” of the weapon into “single-shot” mode for the purchase, after which it could be reconfigured to its intended state. How many gang-related firearm crimes, committed by felons already disallowed from owning, or even touching, firearms do you suppose this has stopped? That number can roughly be ascertained to be “zero”.

Background Checks for Ammunition

In 2016, Proposition 63 was just one of many additional anti-gun pieces of legislation passed, with some far-reaching ramifications for those of us that shoot. One part of Proposition 63 was the requirement of background checks for ammunition purchases. As of January 1, 2018, anyone selling 500 rounds of ammunition in any given month will be required to obtain a license from the State of California in order to do so. Proposition 63 passed with 62.7% of the voters in California voting in favor of it and 37.3% against.

Sales of ammunition by someone without said license will have to take place through someone with a license, much the same as the requirement that individuals selling firearms must go through a vendor with an FFL. This includes the purchase of ammunition through online vendors. If you order ammunition from one of the plentiful places online, they’ll have to deliver the ammunition to a licensed vendor of ammunition in the state of California.

This also includes purchases made out of state by Californians, which would then have to be shipped to a licensed vendor in the state in order to remain legal. Additionally, every purchase of ammunition will require that a background check be performed through the CA Department of Justice.

Leland Freakin’ Yee

What discussion of California gun laws would be complete without mentioning Hypocrite Extraordinaire, Leland Yee? A child psychologist by trade, Yee started his political career on the San Francisco Unified School Board, during which time he was first arrested for stealing a bottle of tanning oil. He quickly moved onto San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors and while Supervisor for District 4, he was stopped by SFPD two times under suspicion of soliciting prostitutes. Obviously too big for San Francisco and its repressive restrictions, he moved on to the California House of Representatives and was elected to represent District 12.

When Yee wasn’t busy stealing tanning oil or soliciting prostitutes, he was focusing his legislative power on the dangers of video games. He then managed to get elected to the State Senate of California, where he turned his attention to passing gun control legislation.

Yee co-authored the bill that required all “new semiautomatic handguns” to be equipped with “micro-stamping” technology. Along with the aforementioned intellectual powerhouse Kevin “de” Leon, he proposed a bill to “close the loophole” that allowed for Californians to own AR-15 rifles, in spite of the “assault weapon” ban, by means of installing a “bullet button” which disallowed the normal dropping of a magazine by pressing a magazine release button, requiring them to use an additional tool to perform this perfectly normal task. On this subject, he said,

“It is extremely important that individuals in the state of California do not own assault weapons. I mean that is just so crystal clear, there is no debate, no discussion.”

In March of 2014, Yee was charged with, among a slew of other things, dealing firearms without a license, illegally importing firearms and accepting bribes in exchange for specific legislative favors. As expected (at least for those who might be called “cynical” with regard to California politicians and the expectation of equitable application of the law), these charges were reduced to racketeering, to which Yee pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years.

Despite this forcing his withdrawal from the race for California’s Secretary of State, he still managed to receive almost 10% of the vote in the primary. Also despite his crying about his sentencing being “too tough,” he actually got off very lightly, given that he stood accused of trying to buy $2.5 million dollars of weapons, including rocket launchers, from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in order to import them to the United States. The ITAR charges alone could have won him 2000 years in jail, given that each of the 100 Tavor rifles he was trying to import would carry a 20 year penalty.

Local-Level Idiocy

As if the federal California legislators and either-inane-or-outright-evil state legislators weren’t enough, if you’re unlucky enough to live in sizable coastal city in California (namely LA and SF), you’ll also have to deal with a third layer of anti-firearm bovine feces, as it is so lovingly distributed from the regional power-hungry local politicians.

Having lived in San Francisco for the better part of the last 17 years, I’m most familiar with their brand of tyranny, though it most definitely exists in other cities in California as well.

Black Talon Cop-Killer Magazine-Clip-Bullets!

In April of 2013, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a city ordinance (yes, that was intentional) specifically outlawing three types of ammunition:

• Federal Premium “Law Enforcement Ammunition Tactical”

• Hornady “TAP (Tactical Application Police) Law Enforcement Ammunition”

• Winchester Black Talon

Hilariously, Winchester Black Talon ammunition, first introduced in 1991, had already been discontinued in 2000. So one would think this legislation would be yet another example of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors wasting time passing laws that have no effect on anyone, were it not for the manner in which MPC 618 is actually worded.

Definition. For purposes of this Section, “Prohibited Ammunition” shall mean:

1. Ammunition sold under the brand name “Winchester Black Talon,” or that has physical properties resulting in ballistics performance identical to ammunition presently or formerly sold under the brand name Winchester Black Talon; or,

2. Ammunition designated by its manufacturer for purchase by law enforcement or military agencies only, unless other ammunition is available to the general public that has physical properties resulting in ballistics performance identical to such ammunition.

There’s a fine line between brilliant deviousness and excruciating ineptitude.

It’s important to pay close attention to the clause, “or that has physical properties resulting in ballistics performance identical to ammunition presently or formerly sold under the brand name Winchester Black Talon;” which is followed by the entire section two, wherein they make a completely arbitrary ban on ammunition that was “designated by its manufacturer for purchase by law enforcement or military agencies only”, or ammunition that has “physical properties resulting in ballistics performance identical to such ammunition.”

In effect, what they’ve done is allow the prosecuting attorneys the ability to perpetually re-define exactly what they’ve banned. Surprisingly enough, the Board of Supes did manage to carve out an active law enforcement/active duty military exemption for this particular masterpiece of legislative action, but they then topped it off with this gem:

d.) Police Database. The San Francisco Police Department shall prepare or cause to be prepared a public database of brands and product lines of ammunition meeting the definition of “Prohibited Ammunition” in subsection (a). Failure of the Police Department to create or maintain such a database, or the omission from the database of a particular brand or product line of ammunition otherwise qualifying as “Prohibited Ammunition,” under subsection (a), shall not be a defense to or otherwise excuse a violation of this Section.

In layman’s terms, this says that SFPD will build, or hire someone to build, a database of specific ammunitions that this ban shall apply to. However if they don’t, you can’t use the fact that they haven’t specifically banned a particular ammunition from charges against you for possessing an un-specifically banned ammunition. There’s a fine line between brilliant deviousness and excruciating ineptitude. San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors straddles that line magnificently.

High Bridge Arms

High Bridge Arms was the last remaining gun store in San Francisco until two years ago. They were an anomaly in the city and one that didn’t go unnoticed by local legislators, who repeatedly wrote law after law to force them out of the city. The final straw was a piece of legislation that would have required them to videotape every transaction in the store and generate monthly copies of that video to give to SFPD. Whether SFPD wanted that footage or not was largely irrelevant; the real goal of the legislation was to just make it more difficult for High Bridge Arms to stay in business in the city limits of San Francisco.

Chris Cheng, techie-turned-Top Shot competitive shooter, had this to say about that closing:

“San Francisco’s last gun shop, Highbridge Arms, has closed after years of anti-gun pressure from local and state politicians. The final straw that broke the camel’s back was proposed legislation by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors which would have required firearms and ammunition transactions and personal data be handed over to the San Francisco Police Department. The invasion of privacy and additional overhead costs became too much for the store to handle.”

No Delivery

Section 3601A of the San Francisco Police Code specifically prohibits the sale, distribution, transfer and manufacture of firearms and ammunition, as well as the possession of handguns, within the city and county of San Francisco. The handgun prohibition was stricken down (and the city had to pay the NRA’s legal fees), yet the rest of the code remains in force. For firearms owners in San Francisco, this means they have to leave the city in order to procure firearms and ammunition. This was further complicated by the closure of High Bridge Arms, which was the only San Francisco gun store and the only vendor of ammunition within the city and county limits.

Online sales, prior to the Prop 63 ban, weren’t allowed to make delivery to San Francisco either, so unless you knew someone who lived outside the city who was willing to take delivery for you (at which point you could pick the ammunition up from said person and take it back into San Francisco, all of which was legal), you were out of luck.

Strangely, no Law Enforcement exemption was carved out with this legislation. When I first became aware of this prohibition a number of years ago, I made a number of phone calls to SFPD, who eventually suggested I talk to the range master of SFPD’s range. The range master let me know that the San Francisco Police Department had to make a once-a-month trip to Oakland in order to pick up the ammunition issued to their officers and used in academy training and qualification evaluations.

London Breed, Gun Trafficker?

London Breed is the current president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, having first been elected to office in 2013. In an interview with “Hoodline,” in January 2013, she described having “quietly [operated] a gun buyback program,” in the following words.

“The things I would do as Supervisor are the things I’ve done as Director of the Center. When we had issues with guns, we basically quietly did a gun buyback program, where me and a couple of guys got some cash, went into public housing to the people we knew who had the guns and we basically gave them money to give us their guns and I took them to Northern Station and gave them to the Captain.”

While this information was obviously intended to show she’s a “Get Things Done” type of individual, willing to take the initiative in order to get results, it actually describes criminal behavior. In order to run a “gun buyback” program, one of the absolute legal musts is that an authoritative law enforcement agency has to not only approve, but actively be a part of the program. Without this authorization and participation, running a “gun buyback” program is basically serial firearm purchase transactions for which no California-mandated background checks are being performed.

In Breed’s case, naturally enough, SFPD upper management has no interest in pursuing prosecution for this crime, or series of crimes, depending on how many weapons she “and a couple guys” managed to buy with cash in public housing. She’s a sitting supervisor, capable of making their lives unnecessarily more difficult in a city that, despite a scarce examples of police brutality, is populated with a reflexive anti-police population.

As an aside on the subject of “gun buybacks” and inappropriate behavior of those associated with them in California, here’s a photograph of convicted felon, Rudy Corpuz, leader of a non-profit called “United Playaz,” which portends to try to be involved in reducing gang involvement and the gun violence that gangs bring, holding a gun at a “gun buyback.”

While his motivations for being involved in “gun buyback” programs may be something to be applauded, the laws about felons handling weapons are very clear; such behavior is completely illegal. You can also tell by the way he’s got his finger on the trigger that he’s a firearm expert.

The Unarmed Sheriff of San Francisco

Before London Breed took over District 5 and began her illegal arms trafficking efforts, Ross Mirkarimi held the position of Supervisor of that district. Mirkarimi somehow managed to be elected as Sheriff of the County of San Francisco and a little less than a month before he would be sworn in, SFPD visited his home to address a domestic disturbance claim.

As a result, Mirkarimi would be charged with domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness. He plead not guilty to the domestic violence, despite having left a visible mark on his wife’s arm after twisting her up, but plead guilty to false imprisonment charges.

Because of this, Mirkarimi, as acting sheriff, was stripped of his rights to own or carry firearms. His personally owned firearms (a Sig Sauer P229, a Beretta 92G and a Smith & Wesson Model 19 .357-caliber magnum revolver) were taken from him and for the duration of his trial, the elected Sheriff of San Francisco County was not allowed to carry (or own) a firearm. Mirkarimi took a plea agreement and regained this right, yet he lost it again by failing to qualify at the range.

Concealed Carry Buck-Passing Round-Robin

The vast majority of coastal Californian cities flat-out refuse to issue concealed carry permits. Certain rural counties are a little more accommodating, but if you live in San Francisco or Los Angeles and aren’t a retired judge, law enforcement official or anti-gun celebrity, you’re out of luck.

What could possibly go wrong?

San Francisco, in particular, engages in a frustrating buck-passing tennis match, wherein requests made to SFPD, if they get any response at all, get the response that one should apply with San Francisco’s Sheriff Department.

Applications to Sheriff’s Department get the opposite response; that one should apply with the Police Department. So, literally, the only people concealed carrying in San Francisco are criminals. What could possibly go wrong?

Fight or Flight

For those that don’t live in California, but enjoy shooting, carrying and training in the use of firearms for self-defense, it may seem that all of California has lost its collective mind. It can be easy to assume that, given the stream of anti-gun developments that form the news that leaves the state.

Yet, California has the second highest number of firearms owners in the country by percentage and the highest number of people who own guns, in total, largely due to its size. So how is it that these firearms owners get trampled on with such regularity? The answer to that is complicated, but one major aspect of it is that many of those who own firearms here don’t live in major metropolitan areas and the cities on the coast carry more legislative weight than the rural areas, so they trample at will.

Another factor is the supermajority in Californian politics and the plentitude of anti-gun politicians willing to forego the oath they all take when sworn into office. Really, that whole subject is deep enough to generate another 10,000 words and isn’t really the point of this article.

…for my family and for me, I’m moving to America.

I know a number of people who shoot here. They are, as they are almost everywhere in the United States I’ve lived or visited, well-trained, responsible and upstanding human beings.

In California, we’re routinely kicked in the teeth by three layers of stupidity, all so politicians can say they’re “doing something,” when they lack the guts to address the actual source of the gun crime in this state.

These same politicians engage in rhetoric and propagandizing in order to rile the support of a coastal anti-gun population and though we’re willing to fight in court for our rights, it’s both costly and often times painful. Those of us that live in these coastal cities in California often have to hide the fact that we shoot, or that we own guns at all, as we are routinely judged as neanderthals or sociopaths waiting to snap by those we live amongst.

For me, it’s just not worth staying here any more. I love the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Nevada mountains and the plains in between them. I love driving down “The One” to Big Sur, or north through the Redwoods and I love the fog that rolls in during the summer months where I live in San Francisco.

However, given the cost of living, the inanity of my federal, state and local politicians and the fact that I am treated as a second-class citizen for believing in the importance of the Amendment that allows for all the other Amendments to our Constitution, I’ve had it. For those of you that remain, I hope you fight for your rights and I hope you win. But for my family and for me, I’m moving to America.

Editor-in-Chief’s Note: Matthew Sharp is a Plank Owner and Life Member at ITS and goes by the username “viator.” He lives in The People’s Republic of Northern California (for now) and enjoys long range shooting, carrying heavy objects great distances and fuzzy little puppies.

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