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View Full Version : Why do gun shops not know the law?


bernieb90
03-03-2012, 10:26 PM
I went to the Glendale gun show today. While at the ASI Arms booth the subject of "high capacity" magazines came up. The guys all insisted that it was illegal to possess a high cap mag in California. I went on to explain that the law only prohibited manufacturing, importation, sale, etc, but not simple possession. I said if you found a 30 round AR mag on the street you are free to pick it up and take it home to which they replied that it was an illegal magazine. After a few minutes they got frustrated, and just told me to go.

I figure that people selling ARs, and other firearms that can use such magazines should at least make an effort to know what the law is. I guess that is just too much to ask for nowadays.

All gun shops in CA should have copies of all laws pertaining to their type of business available to the sales people to reference at all times.

I guess it has been bugging me all day, and I just needed to vent.

CnCFunFactory
03-03-2012, 10:34 PM
"Why do gun shops not know the law?"

To put it simply... because they are not lawyers.

Bill Carson
03-03-2012, 10:36 PM
Do you expect car dealers to know every vehicle code? The problem is not that gun shop employees do not know gun laws the problem is that they think that they do or believe hat they should spout off about gun laws. They should just sell guns and keep their mouths shut.

Connor P Price
03-03-2012, 11:25 PM
For the same reason that police don't know gun laws.

These are people in a position that clearly should be familiar with the law, and by virtue of that many of them seem to think they are automatic experts. Once they hear something silly like "you must keep ammo and firearms in separate containers" or "possession of large capacity magazines is illegal" if they believe it they take it as gospel. Of course being the experts that they are they wont listen to anyone else who has information to the contrary.

Lugiahua
03-04-2012, 1:09 AM
I even heard people believe that Hydra-Shok and body-armor are illegal in CA before...

blakdawg
03-04-2012, 1:36 AM
From the business owner's perspective, it's a lot easier to stick with high cap = illegal rather than address the full complexity of our wonderful laws. From the selling new merchandise point of view, they're basically correct, and it makes no economic sense to train them about laws applicable to products last available legally 12+ years ago.

All they need is one part-time sales guy who decides to start running his mouth about "loopholes" to an undercover agent at a gun show and years of effort can go down the tubes in an instant.

Kharn
03-04-2012, 2:54 AM
The gun shop's job is to sell you what they have in stock, for the highest possible price with the lowest amount of employee time invested. They're not lawyers, much less your lawyers, so their view of the law will be simplistic at best.

And never forget, if you hear it in a gun shop, Google it before you believe it.

edwardm
03-04-2012, 4:21 AM
I really can't tell you "why". I was in a shop Saturday that more or less recently started carrying black rifles (just 1 or 2).

According to the fellow behind the counter, a CA-legal S&W MP-15 with a BB and 10 round mag is good to go if you drop the 10 round mag and put in your pre-ban 20's or 30's (locked with the BB, all other evil features still intact, etc.)

I spent 10 minutes trying to drive home "fixed magazine > 10 rounds = AW in California" and he kept countering with Federal AWB nonsense and how "vague" the CA laws are on the subject (in that particular matter, they're not vague - wrong and stupid, but not vague.) Hell I even gave him the old and new PC #'s.

Sad thing is, this shop is well known in my area, the guy at the counter is well known, and he opted to turn it into a shouting match on his part. At that point I told him giving that advice was felony stupidity and put my wallet back in my pocket. He blew a $1500 sale.

Ignorance I can tolerate - that can be educated away. Stubborn stupidity is a big pet peeve of mine.

voiceofreason
03-04-2012, 6:04 AM
They're not held responsible for any information they disseminate.

No consequences for any FUD spread.

As it should be. As mentioned above, they are not legal counsel.

Also consider that LEOs whose job it is to enforce the law, often do not know the law very well in areas of it that they don't deal with regularly.

voiceofreason
03-04-2012, 6:08 AM
According to the fellow behind the counter, a CA-legal S&W MP-15 with a BB and 10 round mag is good to go if you drop the 10 round mag and put in your pre-ban 20's or 30's (locked with the BB, all other evil features still intact, etc.)

Sadly, "But the shop I bought it from told me..." is not a viable legal defense when the person is arrested and facing charges.

CA's legal "assault weapon/rifle" mess is like a briar patch to purposely slow and hinder gun ownership. Not unlike NYC & DC's laws.

Just donate to Calguns, NRA, SAF... sit back and watch the steel plates fall one at a time slowly.

With the occasional steel plate popping back up after falling.

edwardm
03-04-2012, 6:41 AM
Sadly, "But the shop I bought it from told me..." is not a viable legal defense when the person is arrested and facing charges.

CA's legal "assault weapon/rifle" mess is like a briar patch to purposely slow and hinder gun ownership. Not unlike NYC & DC's laws.

Just donate to Calguns, NRA, SAF... sit back and watch the steel plates fall one at a time slowly.

With the occasional steel plate popping back up after falling.

Yes. And this shop, which usually only sees collector-types and old codgers for customers, is starting to draw in lots of younger/new shooters. This guy is mis-educating the new crop and that is Bad Stuff. I'm going to snail mail them a copy of the flow chart, a few other materials and hope the clue sinks in.

We don't need the distraction of otherwise law-abiding folks making honest-but-uninformed mistakes and ending up on the wrong side of the DA. Even if good counsel can hand-wave away the serious aspects and drop it down to a nuisance-level & surrendered firearm situation, money and time are still burned.

BigDogatPlay
03-04-2012, 6:54 AM
Take a couple of flow charts into that shop. Law enforcement all over the state has adopted it as tool for helping to parse legal configurations from illegal ones.

BigFatGuy
03-04-2012, 6:58 AM
The salesman asked why I'd brought a lock for the case my new 1911 came in. I said it was because I live two blocks from a school, and I park my car outside.

He said I only needed the lock if I was transporting the gun loaded.:facepalm:

I said thanks for the advice and locked the case anyway.

Oceanbob
03-04-2012, 7:22 AM
Let's not expect a Counter-Monkey at a Gun Store to know anything about Gun Laws in Kalifornistan. They repeat (parrot) what they've heard from the previous Counter-Monkey.

Even Gun Stores with a long history have these issues. While we Cal Gunners think knowledge of the law is very important to our hobbies and freedoms, Gun Store People have a different agenda.

I can almost say the same thing for some LEO people I've met and talked to. Unless they are working or have worked on a serious Gun case in the recent past, don't expect these hard-working people to be up-to-date on various gun laws or even what a FLOW CHART is.

One of the many reasons I carry a COPY of the Law when transporting any weapons.

Be well, Bob

polo.45
03-04-2012, 7:33 AM
I work Santa Rosa ther is a gunshop on piner rd next to the tire place.. i walk in a i isk to see the ak.s they told me that will be the last thing he will do.. sell a AK47

NoJoke
03-04-2012, 7:42 AM
Does ANYONE know all the gun laws? Anyone? :confused:

Let me tell you one thing though, a business owner is in business to make money, and avoid government inspections/pitfalls. Simple enough now?

If it is "the law" or not - he's probably just learned from personal experience. Give him a break and just buy a guns. :cool:

command_liner
03-04-2012, 8:13 AM
"Why do gun shops not know the law?"

To put it simply... because they are not lawyers.

Not quite.
The gun laws of the State of California are unknowable. This is intentional.
See the various recent threads on this topic.

Even half the lawyers that get into discussions are wrong -- they loose
their cases.

ap3572001
03-04-2012, 8:24 AM
There are few reasons....

They are not lawyers. Many laws are not very clear and they keep changing.

One example is magazine realted laws. I don't even understand them 100% , even after reading about the subject a lot.

edwardm
03-04-2012, 9:04 AM
Take a couple of flow charts into that shop. Law enforcement all over the state has adopted it as tool for helping to parse legal configurations from illegal ones.

I might, but this guy is what I like to call "flowchart-proof". Facts and reality cannot impede on the iron wall of his ignorance.

There are some folks out there who, even when faced with facts and reality refuse to accept that they are in the wrong. Some of them are leading 2A lawsuits at this very moment, as another example.

Wildhawk66
03-04-2012, 9:08 AM
"Why do gun shops not know the law?"

To put it simply... because they are not lawyers.


This. Primarily because gun laws in CA have reached the point warned about in my signature. There are so many laws that there is no way for even police officers to know them all, let alone the average Joe. The laws are confusing and unclear. Many laws listed in the penal code have been impacted by case law. The penal code isn't updated to reflect case law and case law isn't published in the penal code.

It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow.
The Federalist No. 62


I've been an active member here for six years and I make it a point to learn and know firearms law and to stay current on the 2A Legal forum. Even with all of this effort I still don't know everything I would like to know and I have to refer back to the site/penal code for reference. Firearms law is no longer knowable for the average gun enthusiast and even gun salesmen aren't able to keep it all straight all of the time.

Time for another donation to the Calguns Foundation.

Rhythm of Life
03-04-2012, 9:09 AM
I even heard people believe that Hydra-Shok and body-armor are illegal in CA before...

Firing Line in Northridge used to list Hydra-Shok listed as LEO only for a while.... havent been in a few months so it might have changed.

BigFatGuy
03-04-2012, 9:22 AM
Does ANYONE know all the gun laws? Anyone?

Librarian. ;-)

zhyla
03-04-2012, 10:43 AM
I hope I don't offend anybody with this statement but look, there isn't a large barrier to entry to being a gun shop clerk. You don't need a 4 year degree and critical thinking skills. It's like asking why a Staples clerk isn't up on the intricacies of U.S. copyright law.

ja308
03-04-2012, 10:45 AM
I recall my 1st time in a gun shop. Man was a retired cop and 100% gun culture !

He had so much info on guns and RKBA it perked my interest to find out more . I joined the NRA and was able to converse with him and learn everytime I visited his store.

We all know one lifetime is not long enough to learn the entire gun culture .!

But since that time I have not met one gun store employee who had any idea of RKBA or any knowledge of gun culture. This includes places like Arizona !

Take the most ignorant cal-gunner posters and apply that to gunstore employee's and you have my experiances.

Jack L
03-04-2012, 10:58 AM
For the same reason that police don't know gun laws.

These are people in a position that clearly should be familiar with the law, and by virtue of that many of them seem to think they are automatic experts. Once they hear something silly like "you must keep ammo and firearms in separate containers" or "possession of large capacity magazines is illegal" if they believe it they take it as gospel. Of course being the experts that they are they wont listen to anyone else who has information to the contrary.

^^^ THIS ^^^

speedrrracer
03-04-2012, 1:42 PM
My experience has been that the single best way
to prevent learning
is to think
you already know the answer

rugershooter
03-04-2012, 2:07 PM
Why do gun shops not know the law? Simple. Because there are too many f**king laws and they're too complicated.

nitroxdiver
03-04-2012, 2:19 PM
It's like asking why a Staples clerk isn't up on the intricacies of U.S. copyright law.

Best one ever. hahahaha thanks for the laugh....

BigDogatPlay
03-04-2012, 3:32 PM
I work Santa Rosa ther is a gunshop on piner rd next to the tire place.. i walk in a i isk to see the ak.s they told me that will be the last thing he will do.. sell a AK47

That shop's reputation is well known. If you are in Sonoma County and looking for evil black rifles, come to Petaluma and visit either Independence Armory or Sportsmans Arms. Both are very EBR friendly, with good owners / staff that will not treat you like dirt for asking.

philobeddoe
03-04-2012, 3:37 PM
Why should guns shops know the laws, they're impossible to decipher. Everyone claims that cops and lawyers know or should know the laws. That is patently untrue.

Having worked in the law, and closely with lawmen of every color and stripe, as well as judges, virtually no one knows the law, including the legislators. That's why it is all written down.

Want to know the law? Ask a criminal. Criminals know the law.

You only need to read one jailhouse lawyer's habeas corpus brief to know it's true.

rugershooter
03-04-2012, 3:42 PM
Why should guns shops know the laws, they're impossible to decipher. Everyone claims that cops and lawyers know or should know the laws. That is patently untrue.

Having worked in the law, and closely with lawmen of every color and stripe, as well as judges, virtually no one knows the law, including the legislators. That's why it is all written down.

Want to know the law? Ask a criminal. Criminals know the law.

You only need to read one jailhouse lawyer's habeas corpus brief to know it's true.

The cop's job is to enforce the law. If he doesn't know the law, he can't do his job. If he doesn't know the law, there are two things wrong. 1) There are simply too many laws, and 2) he has no business being a cop.

philobeddoe
03-04-2012, 3:47 PM
Ok, take a look at the criminal code and do the math yourself. It is an impossible task.

Maybe you want to take a minute to examine the distinction between the way the world is, and the way you wish it were.

I suppose Rabbis should also know the Talmud, and Priests the Holy Bible. They should KNOW it. Right?

Impossible.

hammerhead_77
03-04-2012, 4:15 PM
I had a similar thread recently. You can check out my mind-blowing discussion with a well known Gunsmith/FFL here:
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=539952

At the end of the day, I would have respect if they just said "look, right or wrong I think it is a risk, and as the owner of this business I'm not going to take the risk." That is every business owner's right - to turn down revenue because they are afraid of risk. Just spare me the hour of misinformation and bottom line it for me...

FastFinger
03-04-2012, 4:54 PM
The answer I'm going with is - "Because the laws are too confusing and aren't based on logic - and that's by design."


Under 10 rounds - mag must be locked - over 10 rounds - mag better not be locked!
A handgun must be in a locked container - but that better not be the glovebox!
Sources of loud noise are outlawed, but suppressing the loud shots of a gun is illegal.
A pink version of this pistols is acceptable - but the olive drab version isn't.


I can't blame folks from just giving up on trying to make sense of it all.

rugershooter
03-04-2012, 4:57 PM
Do we really need laws requiring citizens to assist the police (pc 150)? Do we need a law against people bringing firearms into courthouses or public meetings (pc 171b)? How many legal definitions of "loaded" do we need for firearms (pc 171e being one of several)? Do we really need a law that gives special protection against assault to peace officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, lifeguards, process servers, traffic officers, code enforcement officers, and animal control officers while on duty (pc 241)? Are their lives more valuable than ours that someone who assaults them gets a harsher punishment?

What makes school property so sacred or special that we need a law that specifically outlaws assault on a person on school or park property (pc 241.2)? Why do we need a law that specifically outlaws assault against a public transit employee or passenger (241.3)?

It's already illegal to assault people/assault with deadly weapons, so is there really a need for a law that specifically bans people from attacking other people with acid (244), or a stun gun/taser (244.5)? Why should a person's punishment be any different for ADW based on the type of gun used ( 245)?

Is it really necessary to require people to obtain a special tag to transport more than 5 pounds of/ more than 5 trees, shrubs, or boughs (384c)?
Why is it necessary for the government to specifically prohibit people from selling intoxicants to "any habitual or common drunkard" (397) rather than leaving that up to the people actually selling the intoxicants?

Did you know it's illegal to take more than 25 copies of a free newspaper with intent to harm the business (490.7) And why is that law necessary?

I bet you didn't know it's illegal to knowingly buy, sell, receive, dispose of, conceal (from whom isn't even specified), or have in your possession any personal property from which the serial number has been removed or destroyed- even lacking malicious intent (537e).

If theft is already illegal, why was it necessary to make laws ( 587b, 587c) that specifically outlaw riding trains without paying?

If vandalism is already illegal, why was it necessary to make a law banning people from injuring electric power lines (593)?

If theft is already illegal, why was it necessary to make a law banning people from making unauthorized connections with cable TV or information services providers ( 593d)?

Why should it be illegal for me to own handgun ammunition "designed primarily to penetrate metal or armor" ( 12320)?


Get my point? As a private citizen, I am expected to know every single law that I'm subject to. I can't use ignorance as an excuse for violating the law. The police shouldn't be able to use ignorance for either not enforcing the law, or wrongly enforcing the law. If it's so impossible to know all the laws they have the jurisdiction to enforce, then there are simply too many laws.

I have taken a look at the criminal code. If it's impossible for the police to know it, then it's impossible for me to know it.

Lives_In_Fresno
03-04-2012, 5:54 PM
Sadly, "But the shop I bought it from told me..." is not a viable legal defense when the person is arrested and facing charges.


It might actually be a mitigating factor in sentencing or consideration of leniency, though.

It really depends on the judge, and whether the DA wants to make an example of you...

Shiboleth
03-04-2012, 5:58 PM
I think the big thing everyone is missing with all the comments about laws being too complex for us to expect them to know fully, is that doesn't give them license to pretend that they do, i.e. the guy at the local store who authoritatively told me that the purpose of the bullet button was to force the operator to open the upper and load the mag from the top.

MadMax
03-04-2012, 6:05 PM
To me knowing the basics is pretty simple stuff, and being in the business it would be nice to know the basics.

The basics being bullet buttons, high cap mags, even single shot exemption.

A dealer doesn't have to sell a OLL or do SSE but he should at least know the truth about them, I mean hell it takes five minutes to google calguns and get all the basic info on all of the above.

blakdawg
03-04-2012, 6:18 PM
Some people just can't bring themselves to say the words "I don't know."

So I try not to suck salespeople into telling me lies to protect their egos by not asking questions they don't need to answer. (e.g., anything other than "how much does X cost?" and "do you have any in stock?")

Once in awhile there's a salesperson who really knows their field, and will give honest information/advice - but they are by far the minority, in every industry, as far as I can tell.

So I just don't ask salespeople questions, and if they happen to offer me pearls of special wisdom, I generally ignore them.

Databyter
03-04-2012, 6:24 PM
I went to the Glendale gun show today. While at the ASI Arms booth the subject of "high capacity" magazines came up. The guys all insisted that it was illegal to possess a high cap mag in California. I went on to explain that the law only prohibited manufacturing, importation, sale, etc, but not simple possession. I said if you found a 30 round AR mag on the street you are free to pick it up and take it home to which they replied that it was an illegal magazine. After a few minutes they got frustrated, and just told me to go.

I figure that people selling ARs, and other firearms that can use such magazines should at least make an effort to know what the law is. I guess that is just too much to ask for nowadays.

All gun shops in CA should have copies of all laws pertaining to their type of business available to the sales people to reference at all times.

I guess it has been bugging me all day, and I just needed to vent.
Half of us (and I am just being kind here so as not to offend) just have to come to terms with the fact that the other half are barely intelligent enough to dress themselves and drive automobiles.

They are very susceptible to faulty common "knowledge" and have little interest or capability to learn any differently.

Librarian
03-04-2012, 6:30 PM
At the end of the day, I would have respect if they just said "look, right or wrong I think it is a risk, and as the owner of this business I'm not going to take the risk." That is every business owner's right - to turn down revenue because they are afraid of risk. Just spare me the hour of misinformation and bottom line it for me...

This, I think.

From a business point of view, the question is probably closer to 'does having this knowledge make me money?' paired with 'does NOT having this knowledge cost me sales?'.

I knew some salespeople over the last few years. For many, there was a wide variety of experiences in their jobs - they sold appliances, and apartments, and office supplies.

They had to have the knowledge to compare their own products, and favorably compare theirs to competitors' products. 'Spin' was their stock-in-trade, and overall they were honest about it, if you asked them the right questions.

I'm not slamming salespeople; it's just that to do their jobs [ETA often] they don't need to be better than a '10-minute expert' (use Google to search for the topic, read for 10 minutes).

I'm more like a '2-hour expert', because I have the time. And I've had the time over and over, so those 2-hour increments add up. Think about 20 hours per week for ten years....

Now, if we could move gun store sales people up from 10 minutes to 2 hours, we'd have a pretty big improvement.

Meplat
03-04-2012, 6:52 PM
Did you know it's illegal to take more than 25 copies of a free newspaper with intent to harm the business (490.7) And why is that law necessary?


I can actually see a reason for that one.

ja308
03-04-2012, 10:36 PM
re reading my OP -- the most disturbing aspect for me is for lack of a better term -gun nuts-gun cranks - shooters -rilfemen-pisotlero's ....
Guys who have read anything by Keith, Mcgivern, Gen Hatcher ect.etc etc.

No one expects them to be lawyers or discuss the a last count 20,000 gun laws.
But to have a clerk say somthing like the American Rifleman did an article on this a while back, would be something to indicate he was at least in he gun culture.

SJgunguy24
03-04-2012, 11:34 PM
Let me answer this from being one of those gun shop people you can actually trust. There are a few things I will promise a person who walks into any shop i'm working at.
1) I feel it's my job to know the law and to be able to explain it as simply as I can to anybody who walks through the door.
2) If I dont know, then i'm man enough to admit that. Then we'll educate ourselves so you don't get the wrong information.
3) I have the best resource avaliable to get the correct legal info in Ca. I have contact numbers for BWeise, Oaklander, JDberger, Lex Arma, Jason Davis, Hoffmang, Calguns.net, and the DOJ website. If I can't figure it out with those contacts, it ain't worth finding out.
4) I am a FUD free zone, no bulls**t and no lies.
5) I like to think I have a good reputation, I intend to keep it that way.

Now I understand not every shop nor every shop employee knows the laws. I deal with LEO's on a daily basis so I have a professional standard to keep. I also love to "enlighten" LEO's to our wonderful laws and point them daily to CGN as a reliable resourse for the most up to date legal info. Not everyone at every shop will embrace this. It's unfamiliar and that scares some, as does pushing the line or calling the very illinformed DOJ.

When dealing with those who are uninformed, lead them to water. It's up to them to take in the information.
Remember, the truth will be the death to those who deal in lies amd deceit.

Wherryj
03-05-2012, 7:50 AM
I went to the Glendale gun show today. While at the ASI Arms booth the subject of "high capacity" magazines came up. The guys all insisted that it was illegal to possess a high cap mag in California. I went on to explain that the law only prohibited manufacturing, importation, sale, etc, but not simple possession. I said if you found a 30 round AR mag on the street you are free to pick it up and take it home to which they replied that it was an illegal magazine. After a few minutes they got frustrated, and just told me to go.

I figure that people selling ARs, and other firearms that can use such magazines should at least make an effort to know what the law is. I guess that is just too much to ask for nowadays.

All gun shops in CA should have copies of all laws pertaining to their type of business available to the sales people to reference at all times.

I guess it has been bugging me all day, and I just needed to vent.

Don't be too harsh on them. The laws are so convoluted and poorly written that even the law enforcement agencies (see Haynie vs. just about everyone) and courts don't know the state's gun laws.

edwardm
03-05-2012, 10:10 AM
Let me answer this from being one of those gun shop people you can actually trust. There are a few things I will promise a person who walks into any shop i'm working at.
1) I feel it's my job to know the law and to be able to explain it as simply as I can to anybody who walks through the door.
2) If I dont know, then i'm man enough to admit that. Then we'll educate ourselves so you don't get the wrong information.
3) I have the best resource avaliable to get the correct legal info in Ca. I have contact numbers for BWeise, Oaklander, JDberger, Lex Arma, Jason Davis, Hoffmang, Calguns.net, and the DOJ website. If I can't figure it out with those contacts, it ain't worth finding out.
4) I am a FUD free zone, no bulls**t and no lies.
5) I like to think I have a good reputation, I intend to keep it that way.


When dealing with those who are uninformed, lead them to water. It's up to them to take in the information.
Remember, the truth will be the death to those who deal in lies amd deceit.

What bothered me about my experience this weekend is that up until 6-8 months ago, this shop didn't carry/handle EBRs, which was fine - that's their choice. Then they decided to get in on the popularity of EBR's and their look-alike rimfire little brothers. That's fine, too.

When you make a commercial decision to carry an item, I would argue you take on an ethical obligation to understand the laws surrounding that item - there is no lack of free and approachable resources. Or in the alternative you take on an obligation generally to say "I don't know/I'm not sure" and let people find their own, hopefully correct, answers.

When in this case the gun shop had a resource standing right smack in front of his face and decided to *argue* with it (I had to laugh on the inside when he started in on "points" and the Federal AWB and all his other misconstrued and conflated nonsense), then you've met a horse that's too stupid to drink.

Problem is, that horse will lead the rest of its herd into the desert away from water, too.

I'll make a last ditch effort tomorrow and if that fails, it fails.

Sutcliffe
03-05-2012, 10:26 AM
Show me someone who says they know and understand every law that pertains to them and I'll show you a damn liar.

Dreaded Claymore
03-05-2012, 11:13 AM
Does ANYONE know all the gun laws? Anyone? :confused:

Librarian. ;-)

This. We here on Calguns are truly privileged to have Librarian and his encyclopedic knowledge and research ability.

MudCamper
03-05-2012, 11:25 AM
For the same reason that police don't know gun laws.

These are people in a position that clearly should be familiar with the law, and by virtue of that many of them seem to think they are automatic experts. Once they hear something silly like "you must keep ammo and firearms in separate containers" or "possession of large capacity magazines is illegal" if they believe it they take it as gospel. Of course being the experts that they are they wont listen to anyone else who has information to the contrary.

That is the best explanation I've ever heard. I think you are correct.

SJgunguy24
03-05-2012, 1:37 PM
Show me someone who says they know and understand every law that pertains to them and I'll show you a damn liar.

I won't say i'm a liar but if I don't know i'll make a call to somone who does. I feel that a have a good grasp of 95% of the laws and maybe a little better then that. Half of being active is educating those who don't know.

ja308
03-06-2012, 8:48 AM
Maybe if someone could get Cal-guns promotions with every firearm purchase ,or even have clerks show customers where the cal-guns fliers are located .
It would sure be an eye opener for most, including our brother LEOs

I have learned lots on cali restrictions by reading cal-gun info ^5

Uxi
03-06-2012, 9:26 AM
For the same reason that police don't know gun laws.


That's what I was thinking.

HBrebel
03-06-2012, 9:32 AM
does anybody really know the 'gun laws'? because I am pretty sure the first one contains the phrase 'shall not be infringed' in there somewhere

Uxi
03-06-2012, 9:40 AM
Ok, take a look at the criminal code and do the math yourself. It is an impossible task.


Great argument for simplification, if not tossing out, such byzantine crap.

Or better yet:

"It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood"

sergtjim
03-06-2012, 9:43 AM
I went on to explain that the law only prohibited manufacturing, importation, sale, etc, but not simple possession. I said if you found a 30 round AR mag on the street you are free to pick it up and take it home...
OK. I'm in Ohio, and we're a mostly free state. Been hanging around Calguns mostly in this forum 'cause I am interested in what life is like in a non-free state where the firearms laws are more Byzantine than any other criminal codes I have ever read, and I've gotta admit that they have me totally befuddled.

So-I'm wandering down a street somewhere in California. I look down, and there in the gutter are a 40-round C-Products and a 60-round Surefire AR-15 magazine. The C-Products magazine would have been manufactured between 2008 and 2010 and the Surefire in 2011.

If I understand your answer I can legally pick them up, take them home, and use them in some configuration of AR-15? Is that correct?

I could not buy them, bring them into the state, sellthem, trade for them or give them away, but having found them, I could keep and use them?

Not looking to advocate anything illegal, or cause any kind of flames, but I am trying to understand how the laws work in California.

Ohio magazine restrictions are much simpler. Basically you can buy, sell,trade and own any capacity magazine, but if you insert one capable of holding more than 31 rounds into a firearm you have manufactured an "automatic firearm"(ORC 2923.11 (E)), and that's a no-no.

Sutcliffe
03-06-2012, 10:29 AM
I won't say i'm a liar but if I don't know i'll make a call to somone who does. I feel that a have a good grasp of 95% of the laws and maybe a little better then that. Half of being active is educating those who don't know.

Health and Safety Codes? Welfare and Institutions? Local Ordinances? State? Federal? Maritime? Tax?
That ONE person would be the Stephen Hawking of the rule of law. I'm even thinking an expert in each and every one of those fields couldn't know it all.

Librarian
03-06-2012, 10:31 AM
OK. I'm in Ohio, and we're a mostly free state. Been hanging around Calguns mostly in this forum 'cause I am interested in what life is like in a non-free state where the firearms laws are more Byzantine than any other criminal codes I have ever read, and I've gotta admit that they have me totally befuddled.

So-I'm wandering down a street somewhere in California. I look down, and there in the gutter are a 40-round C-Products and a 60-round Surefire AR-15 magazine. The C-Products magazine would have been manufactured between 2008 and 2010 and the Surefire in 2011.

If I understand your answer I can legally pick them up, take them home, and use them in some configuration of AR-15? Is that correct?

I could not buy them, bring them into the state, sellthem, trade for them or give them away, but having found them, I could keep and use them?

Not looking to advocate anything illegal, or cause any kind of flames, but I am trying to understand how the laws work in California.

Ohio magazine restrictions are much simpler. Basically you can buy, sell,trade and own any capacity magazine, but if you insert one capable of holding more than 31 rounds into a firearm you have manufactured an "automatic firearm"(ORC 2923.11 (E)), and that's a no-no.

Yes, the bolded statement is legally correct.

See also the link to Magazine Qs, below

SJgunguy24
03-06-2012, 10:38 AM
Health and Safety Codes? Welfare and Institutions? Local Ordinances? State? Federal? Maritime? Tax?
That ONE person would be the Stephen Hawking of the rule of law. I'm even thinking an expert in each and every one of those fields couldn't know it all.

Ok you got me there, but as far an laws that pertain to firearms in Ca and federal manufacturing laws i'm pretty well versed. Now if I reading up on a law and there's notes to H&S laws then i'll look there as well to make sure I have my bases covered. I carry a penal code book with me in my back pack.

tenpercentfirearms
03-06-2012, 10:39 AM
I actually consider myself an expert on Calfiornia gun laws and I am a gun shop employee. I do know the law and if I don't, I study up and figure it out.

Sutcliffe
03-06-2012, 10:41 AM
Ok you got me there, but as far an laws that pertain to firearms in Ca and federal manufacturing laws i'm pretty well versed. Now if I reading up on a law and there's notes to H&S laws then i'll look there as well to make sure I have my bases covered. I carry a penal code book with me in my back pack.

It changes every year. All of them do. It is a horrendous volume of new laws that become an impossibility to keep up with.

Mesa Tactical
03-06-2012, 10:56 AM
From a business point of view, the question is probably closer to 'does having this knowledge make me money?' paired with 'does NOT having this knowledge cost me sales?'.

One word: Riflegear. Their entire business model depends on a correct understanding of the law (all they sell are black rifles and shotguns). The place is packed with gun buyers every weekend and every weekday lunchtime.

I wonder how many Elmer Fudds from some of the other shops ever get a chance to wander over there and see what they are doing (though, to be fair, most of the "traditional" gun stores in SoCal, like Turners, Fowlers and the Stockade, have jumped on the black rifle bandwagon in a big way).

Mesa Tactical
03-06-2012, 11:04 AM
I actually consider myself an expert on Calfiornia gun laws and I am a gun shop employee. I do know the law and if I don't, I study up and figure it out.

At the very least gun shop employees should take the John Machtinger book home and read it. Obviously many don't even do that.

Librarian
03-06-2012, 11:38 AM
It changes every year. All of them do. It is a horrendous volume of new laws that become an impossibility to keep up with.

Well, they are online in several places, and I have an iPhone app with the Penal Code.... And there's always Calguns.

One word: Riflegear. Their entire business model depends on a correct understanding of the law (all they sell are black rifles and shotguns). The place is packed with gun buyers every weekend and every weekday lunchtime.

That's the way I would expect it to work - knowing and obeying the law ought to increase business.

If a shop knows what is legal, it can handle the maximum number of products and services.

If they know what's legal, they won't often make mistakes that might risk their license when the auditors come by.

If they know what's legal, and tell only correct legal things to the customers, (a) the customers are more likely to stay out of jail, becoming repeat customers, and (b) those customers who do have a good understanding of some or much of the law won't be frustrated.

SJgunguy24
03-06-2012, 2:58 PM
I actually consider myself an expert on Calfiornia gun laws and I am a gun shop employee. I do know the law and if I don't, I study up and figure it out.

Wes is one of the reasons why I study the senseless laws for this state. Knowledge is power in California.


It changes every year. All of them do. It is a horrendous volume of new laws that become an impossibility to keep up with.

I have a 2012 CA penal code book, and being that guy behind the counter it's my job to stay up on the law. I'm working with a new place and getting them up to speed with what they can really do. It's amazing to hear the crap he's been fed by LEO's who come in and the DOJ.
I had a guy from Sportsman Supply come into Valkyrie 2 days after I heard him flat lie to a customer to make 25$ I called him out and was told to leave. When he came to Valkyrie told me the AR pistols we were selling were illegal. When I showed him the penal code and the flow chart then asked him to show me where it's illegal, he had nothing. If you can't show evidence to your claim you can't convince anyone. Your the same and those fud spouting idiots at the other shops. That won't happen with me.

Steve G
03-06-2012, 3:41 PM
I went to the Glendale gun show today. While at the ASI Arms booth the subject of "high capacity" magazines came up. The guys all insisted that it was illegal to possess a high cap mag in California. I went on to explain that the law only prohibited manufacturing, importation, sale, etc, but not simple possession. I said if you found a 30 round AR mag on the street you are free to pick it up and take it home to which they replied that it was an illegal magazine. After a few minutes they got frustrated, and just told me to go.

I figure that people selling ARs, and other firearms that can use such magazines should at least make an effort to know what the law is. I guess that is just too much to ask for nowadays.

All gun shops in CA should have copies of all laws pertaining to their type of business available to the sales people to reference at all times.

I guess it has been bugging me all day, and I just needed to vent.


Why argue with idiots. First they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience!

rugershooter
03-06-2012, 3:53 PM
Well, they are online in several places, and I have an iPhone app with the Penal Code.... And there's always Calguns.



That's the way I would expect it to work - knowing and obeying the law ought to increase business.

If a shop knows what is legal, it can handle the maximum number of products and services.

If they know what's legal, they won't often make mistakes that might risk their license when the auditors come by.

If they know what's legal, and tell only correct legal things to the customers, (a) the customers are more likely to stay out of jail, becoming repeat customers, and (b) those customers who do have a good understanding of some or much of the law won't be frustrated.

And customers are more likely to refer other customers to the store that know the law. I've been in stores that told me it was a felony to even possess high cap mags, a felony to do an single-shot exemption transfer, and several other things I know for a fact are legal. I've also told friends to stay away from those stores. I won't refer people to store that are willfully ignorant of the law, even after I've showing the actual text of various laws to them.

jbush
03-07-2012, 12:17 AM
My LGS doesn't give legal advice. They will advise me to check something out before I do something illegal. But, the items they sell can all be used in a legally configured manner. While on disability a few years back I read the assault weapons laws in detail twice and there are still parts of it I don't understand. Thank god for calguns and the knowledgeable people, who if they don't know the law, can tell me were to look. The gun salesman is not a lawyer and should not be giving legal advice on gun law any more then them selling anything illegal.

I does however, piss me off when I go to purchase a new car and I have done my research and know more about the car and it's features then the salesman does. Same is true with the gun salesman. Hate it when they don't know there guns

MudCamper
03-07-2012, 10:38 AM
I actually consider myself an expert on Calfiornia gun laws and I am a gun shop employee. I do know the law and if I don't, I study up and figure it out.

There's an exception to every rule. Clearly you are one of those exceptions in this case. But statistically, Conner's statement that I quoted above is the average condition.

INDABZ
03-07-2012, 11:09 AM
I actually consider myself an expert on Calfiornia gun laws and I am a gun shop employee. I do know the law and if I don't, I study up and figure it out.

Sure you're an expert....that's why you tried to sell those FA Superior lowers to customers.....;)

paul0660
03-07-2012, 11:24 AM
"Why do gun shops not know the law?"

To put it simply... because they are not lawyers.

Lawyers frequently give bad advice, because of faulty knowledge. Second opinions work in every profession.

Aldemar
03-07-2012, 11:32 AM
Show me someone who says they know and understand every law that pertains to them and I'll show you a damn liar.

I wouldn't expect a car salesman to know the entire vehicle code but I would expect him to know if I am driving improperly on a test drive.

I wouldn't expect a gun store salesperson to know every gun law, but I would expect him to know enough to keep me out of jail until I learn on my own. I'm talking about basic transportation and carry laws.

If it has not already been done, it may be a wise move to contact gun stores and offer to stock the flowcharts Calguns has developed. If the store owner has any brains, he would realize that an educated customer is one that may change from a casual customer that buys ammo every year into a hobbyist. All it would take is an additional 5 minutes per sale to explain to a new gun owner what a great sport we have.

Moonshine
03-07-2012, 1:48 PM
My 5 cents, how can you expect Californians to know the law when the DOJ doesn't provide any clarification or admit to whether or not they even know what it is? If authorities knew what the law was you wouldnt have cases like haynie vs Pleasanton... Just sayin

Baja Jones
03-07-2012, 2:24 PM
I sold cars and I knew every pertinent V.C. or at least understood the intent of the law. Some people are raised to take pride in their chosen profession and some are not. It has nothing to do with intelligence it has to do with commitment and integrity.
"slackers, I hate slackers"
Principal in back to the future

TaxAnnihilator
03-07-2012, 2:58 PM
You guys think firearms laws are "open to interpretation" try being a tax attorney. I deal everyday with, "My CPA said..." or "I read on Google" (though with the last one a tax court recently bought the argument).

Firearms law, tax law, almost any law can be interpreted in different ways by different people due to personal bias, risk tolerance, ect. IN ADDITION to poorly written statues, and FUD that is spread by our legislators, regulators and antis seeking to weaken 2nd Amendment rights.

While I agree that too many people blatantly misread many of the black and white provisions, I find that its the grey areas tend to stir the ire in debate. If you are pro-firearm with a high risk tolerance ("I know I am right and I will deal with the cops if I have to: me") you are probably going to grab the 30 rounder off the ground and have a great day. Another guy may agree that you are technically correct, but then not want to risk having to "prove" that it was found and thus pass it by (or call guy 1). Then of course there is the guy who reads in "possession" to the statute because he thinks that no matter how you obtain that 30 rounder you are going to have a legal battle - he runs. Point being, someone's use of "illegal" may just be their, "I'm not risking anything because I can't afford CD Michel.

With respect to someone working behind a counter at a firearm establishment, it is my advice to let the shop owner decide the topics that employees will be addressing in regards to the law and how they respond. The last thing an owner wants is a guy pushing the envelope or promoting illegal actions - "When you leave here, just modify your mags to be 30 rounders and drop the BB when you hit BLM land." When average Joe follows this advice and gets into a LE encounter, his statements might just cause the shop to get some LE visits.

So, I admonish the owners for not directing employees to address certain legal questions with, "Interesting perspective Mr. Customer, I'll have to take a look into that;" "You know, there are many rules and exceptions to the rules, someone may have answered your questions with facts similar to yours on CalGuns.net" or something to that effect. Additionally, wage and hour litigation and wrongful termination lawsuits are rampant these days - if you fire a someone for spreading FUD, they are likely going to counter with - "You never trained me."

Just my $.02

TaxAnnihilator
03-07-2012, 3:36 PM
Lawyers frequently give bad advice, because of faulty knowledge. Second opinions work in every profession.

What!? Not me. :eek:

Dr.Lou
03-07-2012, 4:22 PM
Same reason most cops don't know all the gun laws: apathy, because there are way too many and they change often.

Crowesnest
03-07-2012, 5:18 PM
Speaking of FUD, I once had a gun store owner, one who is even on CALGUNS of all places, tell me that my rifle in its current configuration was illegal. To be specific, I had an AR platform rifle with collapsible stock, vertical grip, pistol grip, and bullet button installed. This guy said that everything else was fine, but the fact that I did not have a magazine in the mag well was a violation and that I had created an illegal assault weapon. Needless to say, I no longer patronize his store.

rugershooter
03-08-2012, 10:22 AM
You guys think firearms laws are "open to interpretation" try being a tax attorney. I deal everyday with, "My CPA said..." or "I read on Google" (though with the last one a tax court recently bought the argument).

Firearms law, tax law, almost any law can be interpreted in different ways by different people due to personal bias, risk tolerance, ect. IN ADDITION to poorly written statues, and FUD that is spread by our legislators, regulators and antis seeking to weaken 2nd Amendment rights.

While I agree that too many people blatantly misread many of the black and white provisions, I find that its the grey areas tend to stir the ire in debate. If you are pro-firearm with a high risk tolerance ("I know I am right and I will deal with the cops if I have to: me") you are probably going to grab the 30 rounder off the ground and have a great day. Another guy may agree that you are technically correct, but then not want to risk having to "prove" that it was found and thus pass it by (or call guy 1). Then of course there is the guy who reads in "possession" to the statute because he thinks that no matter how you obtain that 30 rounder you are going to have a legal battle - he runs. Point being, someone's use of "illegal" may just be their, "I'm not risking anything because I can't afford CD Michel.

With respect to someone working behind a counter at a firearm establishment, it is my advice to let the shop owner decide the topics that employees will be addressing in regards to the law and how they respond. The last thing an owner wants is a guy pushing the envelope or promoting illegal actions - "When you leave here, just modify your mags to be 30 rounders and drop the BB when you hit BLM land." When average Joe follows this advice and gets into a LE encounter, his statements might just cause the shop to get some LE visits.

So, I admonish the owners for not directing employees to address certain legal questions with, "Interesting perspective Mr. Customer, I'll have to take a look into that;" "You know, there are many rules and exceptions to the rules, someone may have answered your questions with facts similar to yours on CalGuns.net" or something to that effect. Additionally, wage and hour litigation and wrongful termination lawsuits are rampant these days - if you fire a someone for spreading FUD, they are likely going to counter with - "You never trained me."

Just my $.02

Made me think of 'pistol grip protruding conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon' :facepalm:

INDABZ
03-09-2012, 12:38 AM
Speaking of FUD, I once had a gun store owner, one who is even on CALGUNS of all places, tell me that my rifle in its current configuration was illegal. To be specific, I had an AR platform rifle with collapsible stock, vertical grip, pistol grip, and bullet button installed. This guy said that everything else was fine, but the fact that I did not have a magazine in the mag well was a violation and that I had created an illegal assault weapon. Needless to say, I no longer patronize his store.

A lot of people think this is true......a lot, which is to many....

Nightron
03-09-2012, 2:40 AM
post #41This, I think.
I'm not slamming salespeople; it's just that to do their jobs [ETA often] they don't need to be better than a '10-minute expert' (use Google to search for the topic, read for 10 minutes).

Now, if we could move gun store sales people up from 10 minutes to 2 hours, we'd have a pretty big improvement.
Very true.

The 10-minute magnet... can pick up bits of kibble. Factoids.
...and then spout them off as definitive truth, or use them to move a customer to buy something.

The 2-hours, or 4-hours, or better... the keen interest that gathers information over time is better able to develop a context for what matters and what doesn't. Or, a context for when and how the facts apply.

The internet is great. I love the internet. But frankly, there is so much disinformation. Maybe not intentionally misleading disinformation, but it is a transient mosaic of not-well-expressed opinions. Our SEARCH engines are no-big-help here. They 'bubble-up' microdollar sound-bytes and fail to transport us to the more objective sources of experience and learning.

Okay, now I've shown my bias and my age.:chef:

Gunshop staff not knowing the laws...?
I agree, it is very very complex. Considering what we have for wording, agendas, and then crossing state boundaries, counties, cities. Firearms is one of the more complex subjects when crossing territorial boundaries. Even electronics, wifi, FCC band regulation is simpler.

Every discipline has its knowledge challenges. It is a combination of training, skills, and experience. But perhaps most of all, attitude.
new-to-the-field ... certainly won't know everything.
seasoned old-timer ... may be stuck, not open to the new wave of things.

end mind-dump.

[Edit / add] Consider this. One of the big issues of trying to understand the laws is that things change. So when a Poster or a source has something that applies... I have to ask: "what is the scope of that", "what is the locale or applicability in terms of location or rulling body?", and "WHEN was that?".

rogerM
04-23-2012, 11:16 AM
I was at the Big Show last year and saw a Russian SKS for sale at a great price. $250. Yes, Russian, not Yugo or Norinco. I offered to buy it, had my FFL's cert and info for shipping too. I expressed that I did not intend to walk out the door with the rifle, merely asked him to accept my money and send it to my FFL for legal transfer.

He wouldn't do it. Said "you can't have sks' in CA" I tried to purchase three others, all Russian. Every one of those dealers told me I couldn't purchase an sks in CA. I got frustrated at the last table, this guy with his "take my gun from my cold dead hands" t-shirt was blocking me better than an anti-gunner.

I ended up buying one off GB later that night. Paid a bit more, but they shipped it to my FFL and the transfer was complete. Nice and legal.

The disinformation is painful sometimes. You "can't" own ... is just such bull.

ap3572001
04-23-2012, 11:54 AM
Gun Shop is the very last place I would go to in order to get ANY information regarding gun laws.

shooting4life
04-23-2012, 12:04 PM
People are afraid to say "I don't know" one of the first things I learned in my professional life is "I don't know" is a much better answer than guessing and getting it wrong.

celler
04-23-2012, 12:21 PM
Better question. Why don't gun shops know about CalGuns?!