PDA

View Full Version : Tell me about the pioneers of OLL in CA


pfl101
01-31-2009, 7:17 PM
From reading on the Calguns Wiki, I have a general idea about the evolution of the OLL movement in CA. However, it would be interesting to know how many different people were examining the laws (both from within CA and outside) for noteworthy shortcomings that would lend themselves to the cause.

1. What was the first FFL in CA to import OLL? Which FFL(s) followed suit?

2. What FFLs served as the exporting dealer in the initial transactions?

3. Which major chains were involved early on, if any? (I recall reading that Turner's was involved in the DS Arms gun that SA Chinn evaluated). Of those who participated in the early period of OLL importation into CA, which ones abandoned that practice and was there any specific incident that caused it (aside from FUD propagated by certain entities?)

4. For those who were in from the beginning, did you already have registered AWs or was this your first foray into the general realm of the "black gun?"

5. Were there other types of firearms for which "clone" types were made aside from the AK/AR/HK/FAL families? For example, did anyone offer a MAC-10 or Uzi "clone?"

Thanks, I find this topic fascinating, although a bit depressing when one considers the amount of effort some go to so as to prevent Californians from enjoying the same rights as people in most other states.

hoffmang
01-31-2009, 7:33 PM
I'll just drop a couple of names.

Blackrazor, Artherd (Ben Cannon), Rob Blank (RMB Enterprises), TenPercentFirearms (Wes Morris), Bill Weise and a host of others. I'll let someone else draw the map that pulls it all together.

These were the first two letters. 1 and 2 (http://www.hoffmang.com/firearms/AR-AK-Approval-Letters/DOJ-JP_Rifles_CTR-02--Approval-2005-09-27.pdf).

Grammatron had a wiki posted somewhere that walked through the late 2005 - 1/1/2007 history.

I had one or two ideas after I noticed what was going on in February of 2006.

-Gene

chainsaw
01-31-2009, 7:48 PM
Gene forgot elmo, I think he was #2 after Blackrazor, or #3 after Ben.

My answer would be: The trailblazers are those who had an OLL DROS'ed before 12/31/2005. If that turns out to be hundreds of people, maybe a better deadline would be before 12/1/2005. And the FFLs who were willing to perform the DROS (there were very few). And the few people who performed the legal analysis, but never bought any of their own.

Also, to understand where the OLL came from, you have to look at the history of the CaliFAL. There were viable semi-auto .308 options rifles already (for example Benelli R1 and Browning BAR); there was absolutely nothing in semi-auto .223 rifles, other than the Keltec (generally considered a piece of junk), and the rumors about the upcoming Vq Evolution. Note that 3 of the 4 rifles mentioned are very much not black.

1. What was the first FFL in CA to import OLL? Which FFL(s) followed suit?
Ask Blackrazor, artherd, elmo where they did their transfers. RMB was definitely one of the earliest ones, as was another one in the bay area (name withheld, he has not been discussed publicly, and probably wishes to not have his name mentioned). Wes' stunt at the San Jose gun show was pretty early too, but definitely not the earliest one. Remember that the group buys came long after people had individually imported dozens of OLLs.

One thing that people forget: In addition to acting as the importing FFLs, Wes and Hector were also invaluable as central points for information distribution. Many OLL buyers in November and December never discussed where to buy lowers out of state and which FFL to use for importation publicly here, because we were sure the DoJ would find out and harass those dealers out of existence. I remember midnight phone calls to Wes trying to locate the small dealer in Delaware or Connecticut who was willing to ship into CA.

2. What FFLs served as the exporting dealer in the initial transactions?
A wide variety, mostly very small shops. In general, a few dealers in other states simply didn't care about the CA AWB, and correctly said that if the importing FFL and the buyer are OK with the lower, it's not their business to stop the deal. The notable exception is Fulton, although in their defense one has to state that they were severely rattled by the DoJ.

3. Which major chains were involved early on, if any?
AFAIK, none.

4. For those who were in from the beginning, did you already have registered AWs or was this your first foray into the general realm of the "black gun?"
My general impression is that many of the trailblazers had missed out on the registered AWs, which is why they were hot-to-trot to get OLLs. Many of the people who already had registered AWs seem to not have bought OLLs early on. You also have to remember that until about mid-January or February nearly everyone expected that the DoJ was going to list; so for many OLL buyers, this was a way to get a few registered AWs. It took quite a while for the transition into the regime where it became clear that the DoJ was not going to list, and even today, a few people make sensible arguments that listing would have been better (the majority thinkjs otherwire).

5. Were there other types of firearms for which "clone" types were made aside from the AK/AR/HK/FAL families? For example, did anyone offer a MAC-10 or Uzi "clone?"
Early on, it was ONLY the AR-series. The AK series followed a few weeks later. HK, Mac etc. was much later. The CaliFAL had predated the AR by at least half a year, but never made waves, and never became popular.

Hopi
01-31-2009, 7:59 PM
I had a Fulton in Nov. 2005, a Stag and MEGA in Dec 2005, then helped bring in over 150 Megas and Stags during Jan. and Feb. 2006.

I had a Nodak AK receiver in Jan. 2006.


Because of a lack of focus, and ignorance, I missed my opportunity to buy in 1999, so the OLL revolution was my second chance....

I was so excited I even ran a MEGA upper group buy in early 2006.

LOW2000
01-31-2009, 8:31 PM
I remember standing in the cold in the back yard of Pirate14's house in Redlands to DROS a couple $200 Lauer lowers back at the beginning of all of this. Even today, some of the lowers for sale seem like a bargain in comparison.

pfl101
01-31-2009, 8:35 PM
I can only imagine the trepidation one must have felt early on in the process, without the vaunted flowchart and the reams of correspondence from various DOJ personalities.

Regarding the MAC-types, I only recently learned that there are variants legally available in CA. What names do they go by and who sells them?

It would appear that if all that's needed to remain legal is to be an unlisted firearm (as well as remaining "CA compliant" with regard to features, of course), we "ought" to have a increasingly widening selection of firearms that mimic guns of yesteryear.

Zebra
01-31-2009, 8:43 PM
I used to walk by the SF Gun Exchange every morning, looking at ARs, thinking 'one of these days'..., then the ARs disappeared from the window and then the Gun Exchange was gone. 2005 rolled around and people here were talking about Stag, JP and ZM4 lower receivers and how it would be legal to buy and assemble them. Tried to get one from Wes, but he stopped selling them after the SJ show. Then the 1st official NorCal group buy was organized in Dec. 05 and I got three Fulton receivers - ironically the same batch that Wes ordered and Fulton demanded to be turned around. I do remember the excitement at RMB - and Rob sitting in his office having wads of 20.00 dollar bills sticking out of his pockets. :D

Frank

foxtrotuniformlima
01-31-2009, 8:52 PM
I remember 05.

Maybe Wes will tell the story of the confiscated lowers.

plm61
01-31-2009, 8:55 PM
This is great stuff.

The history of people willing to take risk in order to change the interpretation of unjust laws.

Those of you who took part in this should feel justifiable pride in what you accomplished. Everyone who bought an OLL since then (including me) owes you a debt of gratitude.

Ford8N
01-31-2009, 9:44 PM
FAL and G3 receiver clones were coming in around '02. Armory AK receivers were here by February '06. There are FFL's out there that were doing things very very early that are not mentioned on CGN.:31:

pfl101
01-31-2009, 10:18 PM
"There are FFL's out there that were doing things very very early that are not mentioned on CGN."

I'd be very interested in hearing about this, although I would surmise it's not something they'd want discussed.

"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is great stuff.

The history of people willing to take risk in order to change the interpretation of unjust laws.

Those of you who took part in this should feel justifiable pride in what you accomplished. Everyone who bought an OLL since then (including me) owes you a debt of gratitude."

I agree. I read the articles that Gene referenced above and wondered who Blackrazor is. It's also interesting to read the 20+ packet where Chuck Michel labored to get the DOJ to render a decision on the Zavasta gun with the grenade launcher issue. Between dealing with Nancy Palmieri's apparent misinterpretations of the Class I and II AWs per Roberti-Roos and the Kasler decision and the various opinions of Mr. Chinn, Chuck and his partners were significant trailblazers in the OL movement.

hoffmang
01-31-2009, 10:40 PM
Where you read Chuck or Jason think NRA.

-Gene

saber
01-31-2009, 11:14 PM
One of the things I remember from the early days of the OLL was spending every day looking at the DOJ website to see if they would "list" or tell us all the OLL were just expensive paperweights. I think that's where the "2 weeks" phrase comes from.

I really want to thank people at Cold War Shooters and FFL's like Chris at Bright Spot Pawn who were willing to bring the lowers in. I love my AR's and shoot them all the time.

Kestryll
01-31-2009, 11:23 PM
How many remember the 'Secret Forum'? :D

Turbinator
01-31-2009, 11:48 PM
Good times, good times. At exactly that time the lowers started coming in, I was on vacation for 2 weeks (hah hah) in Asia!! I was so pissed that I thought I was going to miss the window.. Well, I got back, and managed to get my lowers goin'... I was so relieved. Little did I know that 3 years later, we'd still be able to buy lowers. What a wonderful turn of events 2005 brought us.

Turby

Hopi
02-01-2009, 2:30 AM
How many remember the 'Secret Forum'? :D

Ha. What about the secret Yahoo site......

tommyid1
02-01-2009, 6:29 AM
AHHH STICKY???? THIS IS LIKE HEARING CAMPFIRE WAR SOTIES WITH GRANDPA!!!!!!!

Max-the-Silent
02-01-2009, 7:54 AM
All of you guys have me beat, but I believe that I was the first LEO to bring OLL AR receivers to the attention of a LEA, as well as being the first officer to assemble one to use as a training aid. It was not information well received or believed by certain individuals at the time, although that opinion has largely changed now. Our guys are familar with BB's and Prince 50's. and unless I've somehow missed someone, no officer in our department will be surprised at a legal OLL configuration.

You guys might appreciate this part of the story - I purchased the receiver in Jan. 06 (Stag) with my own funds, through an FFL friend who is OLL un-friendly, even to this day. I requested and received an authorization letter from my department at the request of the FFL in order for him to complete the transfer. He admitted to me later that one part of his mind thought that I was trying to set him up...

He's a good guy, just hopelessly confused by all the different regs wrt AW's, OLL's etc. Even after many sit-downs and explainations from me as to legality, he just doesn't want to dive in, his risk threshold won't accept it.

If it wasn't for the guys mentioned in earlier posts, the State and BOF would never been forced into accepting the facts as they are understood now, not just with OLL's but high cap feeding devices as well.

Thanks guys.

brassburnz
02-01-2009, 9:22 AM
Wow! Has it been that long? I remember paying big bucks for STAG lowers after the DOJ letter that said they would be listing them. I bought them from someone who had originally bought them from Wes. I had the money but didn't have the time to drive up to see Wes TWICE.

I can't remember how many times I'd click on the DOJ website looking for the announcement they would list. In retrospect I realize we inadvertently tipped off DOJ by the sheer number of hits they would receive during that time.

This whole thing has been a fun ride. Thanks to all the guys who got things started.

6172crew
02-01-2009, 9:39 AM
How many remember the 'Secret Forum'? :D

Like a speak easy it was:thumbsup:

I had lowers inbound from 4 different sources the second week(10%, Bens group buy, 2 more lowers from the pirate to different ffls..just in case), and drove to taft 10 days after the San Jose gun show that Iggy and 2 weeks became publicy known.

IIRC blackrazor was the first but didnt post any info on it and kept it to himself until Ben posted his pic of a JP rifle in a suit and tie(he was wearing the suit not the rifle.;)

Forgot to add, I spent alot of time over at ARFCOM making sure that we had safety in numbers, I was sure the brown shirts were going to kick in my front door so I was trying to get the word out any way possible, I started posting flyers at the local ranges and talked with a few ffls who said 10% was off his rocker and they were not going down that path. I spent 2 weeks making appointments at my ffl for calgunners and pretty much ignore my ex-wife during that period.


Who remembers the Dr. Pepper we were going to have to bring to the fictitious ffl in San Leandro? Who worked with Ben with those group buys? Who used the guy in Fremont who sold safes but had an ffl? That guy was great, he had me fill out his ffl book and had a dirty harry wheel gun in a belt made of rope. lol. Man that was fun!

Hopi
02-01-2009, 9:49 AM
I can't remember how many times I'd click on the DOJ website looking for the announcement they would list. In retrospect

Every Friday we thought the list would be dropped, trying to time shipping and DROS dates to beat Allison and her minions....:43:






Oh, and who can forget Lockyersguns.com :chris:

Here's an early reference: (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showpost.php?p=292728&postcount=5)

Sounds like lockyersguns.com needs an update describing how our honorable Mr. AG allowed Mr. Joe Nutjob to build his own AR15 and snipe at people from a clocktower....

6172crew
02-01-2009, 9:53 AM
Ha. What about the secret Yahoo site......

You and I were helping from the same angle but you took the South and I had the North IIRC.:chris: Good days were livin bros

Stormfeather
02-01-2009, 10:04 AM
so. . .what asinine gun law can we tear down next?

hoffmang
02-01-2009, 10:11 AM
so. . .what asinine gun law can we tear down next?

Coming soon to a Calguns near you: "Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale"

NRFing!

-Gene

chickenfried
02-01-2009, 10:15 AM
For some reason it was never a hassle to get FAL receievers even ffl's that were hesitant to transfer AR/AK OLL would transfer FAL's.

FAL and G3 receiver clones were coming in around '02. Armory AK receivers were here by February '06. There are FFL's out there that were doing things very very early that are not mentioned on CGN.:31:

CSACANNONEER
02-01-2009, 10:22 AM
I remember talking to Blackrazor before he got his first OLL. He was pretty secretive about it because he didn't want to ruin his chances of getting his lowers. I also remember standing in line in Pirate's backyard to pick up my first four lowers back in Jan of '05. Too bad I didn't do it a few weeks earlier. I could/would have registered all of them as 50BMGs. Oh well, at least I was able to register my old FAB10 along with my AR50.

pfl101
02-01-2009, 10:57 AM
Pirate solved the "exporting FLL" issue by doing it himself from the store in TX. Very creative (and legal) way to get around the problem of leery out-of-state FFLs.

The stories of DROSing in his backyard/living room are interesting. Now he's got one of the biggest inventories around and, at least to this newb, seems to have a large part of the So Cal market.

Gator Monroe
02-01-2009, 11:20 AM
Were their GUYS with unlisted:confused: AK's without PG (PG was Just taken off and rifle was used like SKS with detachable mags early on prior to MMgrips and the OLL SCENE ?

Gator Monroe
02-01-2009, 11:23 AM
so. . .what asinine gun law can we tear down next?

If we can survive (Without a Big Fight for our Fireram lovin lives nationally) til next Fall I will be shocked ../:chris:

hoffmang
02-01-2009, 12:12 PM
If we can survive (Without a Big Fight for our Fireram lovin lives nationally) til next Fall I will be shocked ../:chris:

You must get shocked all the time.

-Gene

Gator Monroe
02-01-2009, 12:19 PM
You must get shocked all the time.

-Gene

AZ 27 pIT 21

Gator Monroe
02-01-2009, 12:22 PM
You must get shocked all the time.

-Gene

Think Allison & 2 weeks ?

jdberger
02-01-2009, 1:32 PM
Didn't Wes do a little first person write-up on this a while back?

ldivinag
02-01-2009, 2:04 PM
IIRC, ben used traders to transfer his JP, right?

i FFLed my first one with wes when he was in san jose.

i picked it up a month later after my trip to vegas.

then MUD has his GB which we FFLed at that guys house who sells panic rooms.

i also bough a single completed lower from connecticut and FFLed at that same place too.


oh the joys of $100 stag lowers... lol...

pfl101
02-01-2009, 6:39 PM
"Didn't Wes do a little first person write-up on this a while back?"

+1 for the link

Zebra
02-01-2009, 6:47 PM
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=29636

jdberger
02-01-2009, 8:52 PM
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=29636

Bingo!

WokMaster1
02-01-2009, 9:03 PM
Like a speak easy it was:thumbsup:

I had lowers inbound from 4 different sources the second week(10%, Bens group buy, 2 more lowers from the pirate to different ffls..just in case), and drove to taft 10 days after the San Jose gun show that Iggy and 2 weeks became publicy known.

IIRC blackrazor was the first but didnt post any info on it and kept it to himself until Ben posted his pic of a JP rifle in a suit and tie(he was wearing the suit not the rifle.;)

Forgot to add, I spent alot of time over at ARFCOM making sure that we had safety in numbers, I was sure the brown shirts were going to kick in my front door so I was trying to get the word out any way possible, I started posting flyers at the local ranges and talked with a few ffls who said 10% was off his rocker and they were not going down that path. I spent 2 weeks making appointments at my ffl for calgunners and pretty much ignore my ex-wife during that period.


Who remembers the Dr. Pepper we were going to have to bring to the fictitious ffl in San Leandro? Who worked with Ben with those group buys? Who used the guy in Fremont who sold safes but had an ffl? That guy was great, he had me fill out his ffl book and had a dirty harry wheel gun in a belt made of rope. lol. Man that was fun!

I remembered coming across this forum from Arf.com & saw the for sale ad & sending a PM to you, telling you I want in & declaring that I'm not LEO & such. You told me where to go & I was so freaking nervous that it could be a trap that I actually had my attorney call me 5 minutes after I got into the FFL's place.:D Entering the FFL's office was like entering a warm, comforting place. I bought 2 Stags & called Michelle (Mrs Pirate) for 3 more the next week & it really hasn't stopped yet.

Oh, let's not forget Shopkeep for the funnies.:p

Charliegone
02-01-2009, 10:32 PM
I remember my first time getting an OLL (3stags from Chris to be precise.) After that, I went looking around the net for a ptr-91 receiver and kit. I bought two receivers from ORF who offered to send them to an ffl here in CA who was a bit reluctant to get them. After jumping through hoops and what not, the guy finally agreed to do the transfer (I still had not received the letter from the DOJ about the ptr-91 rifle legality, back then it was still in question.) That's how I got those two ptr-91's in CA. I'm not sure if they were the first, but I remember no one else had them!:D Since then I have sold both, haven't had much time to build them, so I said what the heck. Both are still in CA. It sure was scary though. I thought the DOJ would come break down my door and take me to some remote warehouse.:TFH:

pfl101
02-01-2009, 10:54 PM
"I still had not received the letter from the DOJ about the ptr-91 rifle legality, back then it was still in question."

There's a document out there by the DOJ giving their approval of the PTR-91?

Care to post it if you have it?

CapS
02-02-2009, 1:37 PM
This is an amazing thread for a newbie like me. I'm following all the links in the various posts, following all their links, etc. I'm not much of a rifleman, don't know if I'll ever build an AR-type (if I do, it'll be an AR-10 clone), but the account of the brave, meticulous, intelligent pioneers who began the undermining work is just inspiring.

Thank you all!

/Cap :thumbsup:

SgtDinosaur
02-02-2009, 4:12 PM
All I can say is thank you, gentlemen, for making a dream come true. I had been kicking myself for years for not buying one when they were legal. Never thought it would be legal again in this state.

artherd
02-02-2009, 5:09 PM
I did use traders for the first OLL, I don't have the date handy right now but I can dig it up if anyone cares (I don't.)

A tasty tidbit, I sat down with 7 separate FFLs. Bought them Lunch. Showed them folders of paperwork in hand to show how it was legal, and offered to pay for independent legal consul to verify as such. Yes, it took 7 tries (and 2 years of DOJ back and forth) to get where we are now. And that's just my small part in this.

If we can survive (Without a Big Fight for our Fireram lovin lives nationally) til next Fall I will be shocked ../:chris:

Just call me "The Shocker!"

zatoh
02-02-2009, 5:14 PM
You mean, I own a piece of history?:)
I remember my first time getting an OLL (3stags from Chris to be precise.) After that, I went looking around the net for a ptr-91 receiver and kit. I bought two receivers from ORF who offered to send them to an ffl here in CA who was a bit reluctant to get them. After jumping through hoops and what not, the guy finally agreed to do the transfer (I still had not received the letter from the DOJ about the ptr-91 rifle legality, back then it was still in question.) That's how I got those two ptr-91's in CA. I'm not sure if they were the first, but I remember no one else had them!:D Since then I have sold both, haven't had much time to build them, so I said what the heck. Both are still in CA. It sure was scary though. I thought the DOJ would come break down my door and take me to some remote warehouse.:TFH:

Sam
02-02-2009, 9:01 PM
10%'s original post was a fun read. It makes me proud to call Kern County my home! To think that the area is looked at as the worst place ever...I think not!

Charliegone
02-04-2009, 9:59 PM
You mean, I own a piece of history?:)

Yes, yes you do.:D How's it doing BTW.


As for the letter I believe it is included in the huge list of letters regarding legalities of certain firearms. I know Gene put it up somewhere. I have the letter, but I can't find the darn thing (I'm sort of a pack rat).

zatoh
02-05-2009, 8:14 AM
Yes, yes you do.:D How's it doing BTW.


As for the letter I believe it is included in the huge list of letters regarding legalities of certain firearms. I know Gene put it up somewhere. I have the letter, but I can't find the darn thing (I'm sort of a pack rat).

I'm still gathering parts. I was sort of lax because of other things going on but I figure I better get off my behind before (if) the laws change. My reading up on others who have assembled them tells me that I don't have the skills or tools to do it properly - especially the TIG welder. When I first bought the receiver ARS wanted something like $600 for a build. Now they want almost a grand. So I've been shopping around.

I think I have a copy of that letter as well...somewhere.

thatrogue
02-25-2009, 10:44 AM
Ya I guess you guys cornered them between listing and having all OLL's register as AW or just let it happen and keep them featureless or non detachable. Great job you guys are true Patriots.