The AR-15 is not legally a gun?

The gun related media has been set ablaze. No that’s not a bad pun about it being fire season in California. And oddly enough it has nothing to do with the tyrannical, unconstitutional laws signed by the governor this past week. Instead it was CNN of all sources that brought to light something that was going on in the deep dark recesses of the federal government that got everyone all spun up.

What I am referring to, is the the astonishing piece of journalism by CNN’s Scott Glover. You can read the original story here (and I STRONGLY encourage you to do so regardless of how you feel about firearms ownership). What Mr. Glover exposes to the American public is what the ATF and other federal agencies have been trying to keep secret for decades: they have been illegally re-writing the laws.

As the report explains, federal law regarding what is defined as a firearm requires the receiver to have among other things a bolt or breech lock. Based on the design of the AR platform (a split receiver design) neither half of the receiver group has all the features as defined by law to make it a firearm. This means that the requirements the ATF has been enforcing on anyone who manufactures/sells/buys an AR lower receiver by itself have been unjustly, and illegally enforced since the US Constitution clearly give the power to make/replace/change laws to the legislative branch, not the executive branch that the ATF falls under. So to recap, buying a complete AR15 is buying a firearm by law; buying a completed AR15 lower by itself is not.

What is perhaps more astonishing is the efforts that the ATF has gone to try and hide this clear overreach of constitutional authority. In order to hide the fact that the ATF was acting outside its authority, it not only once but twice decided to not prosecute a someone for violating their unlawful regulations. Of course what is more appalling is they did this after 2 different judges in 2 separate cases issued a preliminary ruling claiming the ATF had gotten the regulations for AR style firearms wrong. So to avoid creating legal precedence they instead decided to drop the charges, and try to hide their dirty deeds.

To be fair, I personally feel that firearm frames/receivers should be treated as the legal definition of a firearm. I have no issues with them being subject to background checks before transfer. I am however 1000% against a federal law enforcement agency ignoring the separation of powers clause in the Constitution to do whatever they want and make up new laws instead of simply enforcing the ones on the books. The AR15 has been around since the 1940’s. That means the ATF has been breaking the law since at least then. The law does need to be updated, but as of right now, AR15 lowers are not legally guns.

What I learned after a CA DoJ DROS delay

This is just a post for posterity sake, with hopes that it will help someone in the future avoid a similar experience to what I went through. if you don’t care about the why, and want to save the time reading through this whole post the bottom line is you may get delayed because:

  • the firearm(s) don’t show up in the DOJ database matching whats on the DROS forms
  • you need to ask if all firearms in the purchase are delayed, or just 1.
Knowing these 2 things will save you from panic, save you from wasting money on a livescan, save you from needing to submit multiple DROSes.

If you care about the why, here is the full story:

I bought a pair of handguns from a private citizen as a PPT purchase so the 1:30 exemption applied (in California you typically can’t buy more than 1 handgun within a 30 day period). He let me know up front that one of the handguns is older and not “in the system” so to speak, I decided to DROS it and keep things legit just in case.

The last firearm purchase I made in CA was April of this year and it went through no issues just like the numerous previous purchases. (I point this out only to say I am in the DOJ database as a gun owner and they know my info)

Last point I want to add is I have never been arrested in my life. This is very different than never being charged/convicted. If you have been arrested for something it appears it may still be on your record from what I am reading in other posts. and that can cause delays for firearms purchases.

Alright now as you can probably tell by the title the transaction was delayed. This is the 1st time it’s ever happened to me. Being a new experience I searched the internet high and low for info. I read horror stories about delays taking years to get resolved. I also read stories about being able to call the DOJ up and get it cleared up right then and there.

As of summer 2019 I can confirm this is the process:

  • you CAN NOT call the DOJ for any reason. they only have a voicemail box. no human being will pick up
  • sending them an email via their website gets you a reply back telling you they can’t give you an answer
  • you will get a letter that makes you think its something in your background that is the problem
  • the delay will either get resolved before the 30 day mark (approved/denied) or go undetermined on the 30 day mark from when the dealer submitted the DROS form
  • the dealer has every right legally to refuse to deliver the firearm if your DROS goes undetermined after 30 days. (I am not supporting this policy, just stating facts)
  • if a DROS is delayed then approved, you have 30 days from approval to pick it up
  • if the DROS is approved without a delay then you have 30 days from DROS submission (date of transaction) to pick it up
  • each firearm has it’s own DROS number and are treated separately from one another

I emphasize the last point for a reason. What happened to me was one handgun came back approved within the 10 days, and the other was delayed. Care to guess which one was delayed? Yeah it was the “not in the system” one. The problem I ran into was that by the time the one went undetermined, the 30 day mark was passed on the one that was approved. This means I had to redo the DROS for the 1 handgun that was originally approved which means another 10 day wait period and fee(s).

I did call the dealer about once a week during the delay and while I didn’t ask they definitely didn’t notice/tell me about the 1 being approved even though both DROS numbers showed up on the computer next to each other. They were just as surprised as I when I went to pick them up that there would be 2 separate decisions on the same transaction. Just goes to show you how messed up the DoJ has made the process and how little support the dealers get from the state. The dealer covered the 2nd DROS fee for me since it is their fault for not telling me, but I still have to wait the additional 10 days to pick up the 2nd handgun.

What I hope others will take away from my sharing of this experience is that if you have a multiple firearm purchase and you get delayed, make sure you ask the dealer if all DROS numbers are delayed, or just 1. Had I known to do this I would have been able to avoid a 2nd DROS.

The Buying Power of California’s Gun Owners

If there was ever any doubt about the market influence California has in the gun industry, it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt this past weekend. After the surprising ruling from Judge Benitiz in Duncan v. Becerra, not only did he reverse almost 2 decades of oppression by the CA state DoJ, but he was able to get the CA state Attorney General to admit that any magazine purchases made after the March 29, 2019 decision were legal! That however is not the point of this post.

The point here is how much influence the CA gun market can have. After the historic ruling was handed down, word spread like wildfire amongst the pro-2A community, not just in California, but across the USA. Soon retaliers across this great nation of ours were posting/announcing/emailing/etc. that there were accepting and shipping orders for 10+ round magazines to Cali. Overnight retailers sold out of inventory (which was in the thousands of units) and were calling their distributors for resupply to the tune of additional thousands of units. I was seeing posts on other websites telling stories of how distributors had sold out of 150k plus inventories overnight! That was one distributor!

Over a single weekend every magazine retailer large and small had seen sales volume like never before. Orders that are typically processed in a day had taken 2 or 3 to get shipped simply due to the sheer volume. While we may never know the exact count of magazines sold to California this past weekend, we can safely assume it is over the one million mark. I am going to go out on a limb and say that we as a single state in a single weekend have generated more business for the magazine industry than the past year combined for the rest of the country (gov’t contracts excluded). Now if we can only get as organized on election days, California could be made great again.

#MCGA

Does the NRA deserve your money?

I recently retweeted a story about a 2A business pulling their booth from the annual NRA conference.  They took this action as a sign of protest to the recent stance the NRA took on the bump-stock ban implemented by the US DoJ.  At the time I was being bombarded with letters and phone calls from the NRA warning me that my membership was about to expire and the cost was going to be increasing in a couple months.  I decided to follow suit and not renew my membership to the NRA.

At the time I too was unhappy with how the NRA was supposedly fighting for my (and your) 2nd Amendment rights.  I was befuddled by their seeming continuous stream of lawsuits arguing the exact same legal reasoning time and again, and each time being shot down (anyone know the definition of insanity?).  I too wondered how the largest organization of so called “supporters of gun rights” could say they agreed with the unconstitutional banning of a non-firearm item?  At that time I decided I couldn’t justify giving them my money.

But a few months later, I can’t help but wonder if refusing to give the NRA my money is the wisest decision in the grand scheme of things.  I mean lets face it, there is an all out war in the media over the 2nd Amendment.  And the NRA is the largest pro-gun lobby group.  The NRA has helped get 2 supreme court nominees confirmed in the past 2 years.  They also have very deep pockets to help fund some campaigns.  So there is some good the NRA has been doing for the gun rights community.

I feel my decision might have been a little brash back then.  Yeah I am still upset over what I perceive to be poor legal arguments and  somewhat spineless response to left-wing attacks on our constitutionally guaranteed rights.  But they are still a driving force in American politics with a lot of money to spend and there is value to them staying as mainstream as possible.  When you take the emotional (OK mostly anger) factor out of it and try to look at the NRA’s existence objectively I find that the NRA still does more good than harm for gun owners and still probably deserves my $35 a year membership due.