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Old 06-27-2019, 7:33 AM
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champu champu is offline
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Originally Posted by dfletcher View Post
Can laws be complicated and vague at the same time? By way of example, let's use the CA definition of a "flash hider" and general definition of an "assault weapon".

CA DOJ defines a FH exactly and I would say it's complicated. Defined to the extent of stating the device must be attached to the muzzle and serve to "divert" the flash away from the shooter's field of view.
That's not the full definition, reference this discussion from the DoJ's SB23 FSOR

978.20 (b) - Flash Suppressor
This term was originally defined as “any device that reduces or conceals the visible light or flash created when a firearm is fired. This definition includes flash hiders, but does not include compensators and muzzle brakes (devices attached to or integral with the muzzle barrel to utilize propelling gasses for counter-recoil).” There were two primary problems with the definition when it was originally noticed to the public (December 31, 1999 through February 28, 2000). The most significant problem with the original definition was that it included and/or excluded particular devices by name (flash hider, muzzle brake, compensator) without consideration of whether the devices actually suppress flash. After further consideration prompted by public comments, the Department concluded that the absence of statutorily defined specific measurement standards or a statutory requirement to establish those standards demonstrates a legislative intent to identify any device that reduces or redirects flash from the shooter’s field of vision as a flash suppressor regardless of its name and intended/additional purpose. Thus, “flash hiders” are flash suppressors only if they reduce or redirect flash from the shooter’s field of vision. Conversely, “compensators” and “muzzle brakes” are not flash suppressors only if they do not reduce or redirect flash from the shooter’s field of vision. The revised definition is clearly consistent with the legislative intent of the statute as it neither includes nor excludes any particular device on the basis of its name only. Additionally, “conceals” in the original definition presented the possibility of an overly broad interpretation which could have included any device positioned between the shooter’s eye and the muzzle flash, such as the sights on a gun. To avoid such unintended interpretation, the word “conceals” was replaced with “redirects.” Accordingly, the original definition was changed to:
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“flash suppressor means any device that reduces or redirects muzzle flash from the shooter’s field of vision.”
This revised definition was noticed to the public during the first 15-day comment period (May 10 through May 30, 2000). Comments addressing this version of the definition prompted further reconsideration and revision. As such, the definition was revised a second time by replacing “ . . . that reduces or redirects muzzle flash . . . ” with “ . . . designed, intended, or that functions to reduce or redirect muzzle flash . . . ” This change was necessary because it became clear that flash suppressors are typically attached by twisting or screwing the device onto the threaded barrel of a firearm. Therefore, by simply making a half turn (180 degrees), an otherwise fully operational flash suppressor would not function as prescribed in the prior definition. The revised definition eliminates this potential loophole. Accordingly, this final revision “flash suppressor means any device designed, intended, or that functions to reduce or redirect muzzle flash from the shooter’s field of vision,” was noticed during the second 15-day comment period (July 12 through July 31, 2000). Although additional comments were received, no comments were received during the second 15-day comment period that resulted in substantial revision to the definition. However, the Department made a non-substantial revision by adding “perceptibly” to the phrase “reduce or redirect” to confirm that if a reduction or redirection of flash is so minuscule that it is imperceptible to the human eye, it could not reasonably be considered a reduction.
Personally, for what that's worth, I think there are still a couple problems with this definition in terms of a reasonable person being able to tell if conduct is prohibited. 1) "perceptibly" and conversely "imperceptible to the human eye" is subject to one's own interpretation and circumstances of use of the firearm. "Does there exist someone who could tell the difference under some set of shooting conditions? How am I supposed to know that?" 2) The addition of "intended" and their associated explanation clarifies it is NOT talking about the intent of the person being charged with the crime, which makes it rather intractable for the owner of a rifle. "Does there exist someone who intends that this thing reduce or redirect muzzle flash? How am I supposed to know that?"
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