With a new year comes the rollout of new laws, some favorably to gun rights, others — like California Assembly Bill 1964, which took effect on Jan. 1, 2015 — not so good for gun rights.
Signed by Gov. Jerry Brown back in July of last year, AB 1964 bans the sale of single-shot handguns that can be readily converted to semiautomatic firearms.
AB 1964 was designed to close a loophole that allowed gun dealers to sell handguns not on the state’s Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale.
“This is a significant step to protect the integrity of the safe handgun law in California,” assemblyman Roger Dickinson, the Democrat who authored the bill, told Reuters when the bill was signed. “This exception has been increasingly used by those who wish to circumvent (the law).”
Since California is an ass-backwards state (I know, I lived there for about a decade) with an inherent disdain for the Second Amendment, all firearms must be equipped with certain features, i.e. loaded chamber indicator, and undergo safety testing in a state ballistics lab before they may be added to the roster and sold to the public.
To get around this onerous and Constitutionally dubious requirement, gun shop dealers could convert many coveted firearms into to single-shot guns, typically by modifying the gun with a magazine plug and an extended barrel, as single-shot guns were exempt from the certification process.
Now with AB 1964 in place, the exemption has been tightened to include only break top or bolt action firearms with barrels of at least six inches, among other requirements. Needless to say, gun dealers are no longer be allowed to sell handguns not on the roster.
Yet, that doesn’t mean private buyers and sellers can’t transfer uncertified firearms, as one gun shop manager noted.
“The restriction is not on the purchaser or owner, it’s on the dealer. There is nothing that says you can’t own a handgun not on the approved roster, it says a dealer can’t sell it,” Big Shot store manager Steven Rubert told Fox5 in reference to the impact of AB 1964.
However, AB 1964 is the beginning of what will likely lead to a large scale cessation of firearms being manufactured, imported and sold in California as gun manufacturers have repeatedly expressed their disdain for the certification process and the fees associated with it (That’s correct, manufacturers must pay to have their firearms appear on the roster).
“What it basically means is that we have a shrinking number of guns we are allowed to sell in California,” said Rubert. “There is nothing that makes these guns anymore dangerous to their users or in a defensive situation. It really comes down to will the manufacturers put down the money to have their firearms approved for sale in California.”