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View Full Version : DOJ's Goals, and Our Goals


the_quark
05-11-2006, 7:22 PM
All,

I was thinking a lot on this today (and rapping with hoffmang, whom I work with) . Obviously, I don't have any inside information on this, but, based on behavior and what I guess about their motivations (namely, to try to implement a vague law), I think the DOJ has three goals. Before I get to those, let me make a few definitional notes.

First, I think that, as the changes from "we will list" to "we will list but that doesn't mean you get to put a pistol grip on your detachable mag AR" to "we won't list" shows, they agree that, if a rifle is listed as an Assault Weapon, it may have any or all of the features listed.

Second, I think that, the assault weapons legislation has the pornography problem. As Justice Potter Stewart famously put it, ""I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be [pornography] . . . ut I know it when I see it . . . " The legislature tried to institute a "know it when we see it" doctrine into law, and left the hard parts of the definition up to the DOJ. So, below, when I say "apparrent assault weapon," I mean something that is not necessarily an assault weapon under law, but rather something that most people (especially most gun-fearing people) would describe as an assault weapon.

That said, I believe that the DOJ's goals are, in order:

1) Continue to have AB-23/PC 12276 the law of the land.
2) Do not list anything, EVER, as that will open new registration and allow new, legal pistol-gripped, detachable-magazined rifles, which was clearly not the intent of the legislature.
3) Minimize the number of apparent assault weapons.

I do think it's interesting to contemplate that what is now their second highest priority was [b]not a priority six months ago. Progress has been made, we are (finally!) starting to frame the terms of the debate, instead of always being on the defensive, ourselves.

I think this list of DOJ priorities is important to keep in mind when evaluating what they will do. If I'm correct, faced with choosing between invalidating AB-23 and listing, they'll list. Faced with choosing between listing and increasing the number of apparent assault weapons, they'll not list.

Obviously, I don't have any real deep insight into what they're going to do, next. But, I think this priority list can help us plan. I believe the only way to get them to list would be to come up with a meaningful threat to AB23 that could only be defused by listing.

Our goals, I believe, are, in order:

1) At a minimum continue to have the gun rights we did on 01/01/00: Semiautomatic, center-fire rifles that either look cool or have detachable magazines, but not both.
2) Have a legal path to "apparent assault weapons" that are not legally assault weapons (e.g., ARs with fixed mags; ARs with detachable mags and no pistol grips).
3) Have a legal path to legal, registered, AB23 assault weapons (e.g., ARs with detachable mags and pistol grips)
4) Overturn AB23.

The risk we face is that, if we accomplish goal 4, it may jeopardize goal 1. In fact, some on this board are already complaining that our efforts to accomplish goal 3 are jeopardizing goal 2 ("your attempts to have listed ARs are jeopardizing my pinned mag FALs").

The big risk we have to decide if we're willing to take is, if we accomplish 4 - overturning AB23 on anything short of 2nd amendment grounds, or even make significant progress on 2 - the legislature may pass something that jeopardizes goal 1. There's certainly an argument to made that this risk is acceptable - that, if we can overturn AB23 and force them to draft a broader law that pulls in a bunch of things most people wouldn't consider to be assault weapons, it might rally popular support from all sorts of gun owners who haven't paid attention. And, it's worth noting, gun control seems to be on the wane in the rest of the country, so perhaps its support here is waning, as well.

Anyway, that's my analysis of where we're both coming from. I'd be interested to hear everyone else's thoughts on these.

drclark
05-11-2006, 8:11 PM
I feel we just need to continue to try to chip away one bit at a time to regain our rights. Getting the DOJ to admit that off-list-lowers legally is a huge step.

Overturning AB23 in the courts is a lofty goal and if we do it too quickly it will likely trigger backlash legislation. One thing possibly working in our favor is the composition of the supreme court has change. They however have yet to rule on a 2A related case; we truly don't know where they stand until that happens.

I think that we need to continue "gently" pushing the limits of the law in all areas (CCW reform, etc) and be patient to wait for a good "test case" to present itself.

drc

xenophobe
05-11-2006, 8:56 PM
I think this list of DOJ priorities is important to keep in mind when evaluating what they will do. If I'm correct, faced with choosing between invalidating AB-23 and listing, they'll list. Faced with choosing between listing and increasing the number of apparent assault weapons, they'll not list.

This is what I have been stating their current position is. And it is reffered to as SB-23, not AB-23, as it originated in the State Senate authored by Don Perata.


1) At a minimum continue to have the gun rights we did on 01/01/00: Semiautomatic, center-fire rifles that either look cool or have detachable magazines, but not both.

It wasn't until June 2001 when the Judge ruled in Harrott vs County of Kings that AR and AK Series blanket definition was too confusing. It was not until late 2005 that AR receivers started pouring into the state. So there was a period of time after 01/01/00 that we gained some ground back.

hoffmang
05-11-2006, 8:57 PM
DRC,

I think the changed composition of SCOTUS is more of a backstop to us getting SB23 overturned here on non 2A grounds and seeing new legislation.

A perfect storm could be imagined where the Cato case Parker v. District of Columbia (http://www.alangura.com/parker/District_Court/PARKER_DCT_OPINION.pdf) gets a favorable SCOTUS decision at about the time that the legislature is trying to replace an overturned SB23.

That could leave the 9th Circuit in knots and that could be a very good thing (TM.)

taloft
05-11-2006, 8:57 PM
I keep seeing people complain that what we are doing will jeopardize other weapons. Well, guess what, they are already in jeopardy. They will keep trying to ban all weapons one at a time. Even if they lose two out of three, they still got one. The only thing that will result from us pushing this is that it might speed up the time table on some of the others. Putting it off til later won't change that fact. On the other hand, having pushed them into doing something rash might work in our favor. By having them move before they are ready, they may make a fatal mistake. One that we can capitalize on to our advantage. At this rate we are going to lose our right to these anyway. Sitting on the sidelines doing nothing avails us nothing.

The only way we are going to get a favorable ruling on the 2ND. Amendment is if we do it while all three branches are still in republican control. Do you hear that NRA!? Get off your collective butts and start pressuring the various branches. Once we lose control, it will be nearly impossible. The time is now, not after the elections. Of course, we could win a majority in the state assembly, thereby allowing us to toss these ridiculous laws.:rolleyes:

Well, I can dream.:p

Ten Rounder
05-11-2006, 9:17 PM
Salvation is in AB2131.

If the legislators were made awear of DOJ approving and accepting OLL and doing nothig about it, there may be a pressing need for the intended registration that is in the bill. I think we all don't mind registration. Maybe the legistators will come to rescue us all and take DOJ off the hot seat.

Registered AW's are not a threat, it is the unrestisteared AW's that are.

hoffmang
05-11-2006, 9:45 PM
One thing to keep in mind. Having to respond to all our calls, letters, legal arguments, opinions and such is a great time drain for DOJ. The more of their resources we keep fixed on the problems we're creating, the less time they have to respond to legislative technical inquiries about future bans. If they are so swamped with our stuff that the conversation they want to have with legislatures is technical fixes to the laws on the books to deal with this situation, that will slow down the other bad stuff that could be out there.

xenophobe
05-11-2006, 10:29 PM
One thing to keep in mind. Having to respond to all our calls, letters, legal arguments, opinions and such is a great time drain for DOJ. The more of their resources we keep fixed on the problems we're creating, the less time they have to respond to legislative technical inquiries about future bans. If they are so swamped with our stuff that the conversation they want to have with legislatures is technical fixes to the laws on the books to deal with this situation, that will slow down the other bad stuff that could be out there.

And they may just decide that it's easier to list than waiting for the Legislature all the while still dealing with all of the letters, calls and emails.

KenV
05-12-2006, 11:37 AM
One thing to keep in mind. Having to respond to all our calls, letters, legal arguments, opinions and such is a great time drain for DOJ. The more of their resources we keep fixed on the problems we're creating, the less time they have to respond to legislative technical inquiries about future bans. If they are so swamped with our stuff that the conversation they want to have with legislatures is technical fixes to the laws on the books to deal with this situation, that will slow down the other bad stuff that could be out there.

Well put. We're filibustering without having to take office :D

K

45Auto
05-12-2006, 12:02 PM
Registered AW's are not a threat, it is the unrestisteared AW's that are.
Eventually, the State of California knows that it will use the registration lists for a confiscation attempt. That's what registrations are for.

45Auto
05-12-2006, 12:12 PM
2) Do not list anything, EVER, as that will open new registration and allow new, legal pistol-gripped, detachable-magazined rifles, which was clearly not the intent of the legislature.
.
The DOJ continues to have an open registration period for LEO and former LEO as per:
"Effective January 1, 2002, allows specified law enforcement officers with the authorization of their employing agencies to retain and personally possess assault weapons that they have possessed or owned prior to January 1, 2002, provided they register those firearms as assault weapons with the DOJ on or before April 1, 2002. Also allows specified law enforcement officers with the authorization of their employing agencies to acquire assault weapons, providing they register them as assault weapons with the DOJ within 90 days of the date of acquisition." Note that there is no closing date on the latter. LEO's and former LEO's continue to acquire AW's for their personal use and registration continues for those weapons.

Jedi
05-12-2006, 1:06 PM
The DOJ continues to have an open registration period for LEO and former LEO as per:
"Effective January 1, 2002, allows specified law enforcement officers with the authorization of their employing agencies to retain and personally possess assault weapons that they have possessed or owned prior to January 1, 2002, provided they register those firearms as assault weapons with the DOJ on or before April 1, 2002. Also allows specified law enforcement officers with the authorization of their employing agencies to acquire assault weapons, providing they register them as assault weapons with the DOJ within 90 days of the date of acquisition." Note that there is no closing date on the latter. LEO's and former LEO's continue to acquire AW's for their personal use and registration continues for those weapons.

The key here is that it must be authorized by their employing agency. I don't think that there are too many Chiefs or Sheriffs who are signing on department letterhead that their officers can go buy an arsenal of assault weapons. This provision was put into place for small departments where tactical team members may be required to or may have the option of providing their own long guns. As for former police officers, I don't see anywhere in that section that it states a former police officer can register an assault weapon.

You are making a huge leap in stating that:

LEO's and former LEO's continue to acquire AW's for their personal use and registration continues for those weapons.

pc_city
05-12-2006, 1:29 PM
2) Do not list anything, EVER, as that will open new registration and allow new, legal pistol-gripped, detachable-magazined rifles, which was clearly not the intent of the legislature.

The intent of the legislature was to register all AWs in the state so that they knew who had possession of them and to ensure that they where not sold or traded within the state. By maintaining a list of banned AWs they could also prevent others of the same type from entering the state. Instead of keeping the list up to date (way too much work) the AG tried to keep AWs out of the state by relying on a generic description of cosmetic features. This policy allowed over 30,000 AW frames to enter the state. There are now numerous AWs in the state that cannot be tracked (because they are not registered) and many more entering the state every day because they have not been listed. If CA DOJ does not list they will never know who has possession of the lowers already in the state and will not be able to stop more from entering the state.

NRAhighpowershooter
05-12-2006, 1:50 PM
This policy allowed over 30,000 AW frames to enter the state. There are now numerous AWs in the state that cannot be tracked

WOAH!!!! wait a minute!! our 'off list' lowers are not AW platforms!! They are semi-automatic, fixed magazine rifles!

thisismyboomstick
05-12-2006, 4:14 PM
I seem to remember from another thread the suggestion that manufacturers of listed AW's might have a case against DOJ on equal protection grounds. I think this could be one of the best plans of attack to stay on the offensive. The tough part is finding a manufacturer willing to do it. I would think it would have to be a maker that has ALL of their currently produced models listed. It's too bad that Ronnie Barrett isn't in that boat as I am sure he would just LOVE to participate in some CA DOJ harrassment.

the_quark
05-12-2006, 9:46 PM
I seem to remember from another thread the suggestion that manufacturers of listed AW's might have a case against DOJ on equal protection grounds. I think this could be one of the best plans of attack to stay on the offensive. The tough part is finding a manufacturer willing to do it. I would think it would have to be a maker that has ALL of their currently produced models listed. It's too bad that Ronnie Barrett isn't in that boat as I am sure he would just LOVE to participate in some CA DOJ harrassment.

I don't think you have to get a manufacturer to sue, if you're willing to do the work and pay the legal costs, yourself.

Just go to, e.g., Colt, and say, "I'd like to purchase the right to make 500 licensed Colt AR-15 receivers from you." Then, YOU have legal standing, because you can't complete your duly executed contract. If you can find one of the Listed Manufacturers who has some enlightened self interest, you can point out that, if their name is used to overturn SB23, the pro-gun PR for them would be amazing - you could probably get your manufacturing right pretty cheaply, as it costs them next to nothing, but has a potentially huge upside.

Now, of course, you have to have the time and money to want to prosecute that case. But, I think your issue is "time and money" not "convincing some manufacturer." If you have time and money, the manufacturers are convincable.