This summer California law makers passed sweeping, deeply controversial — and ultimately, unconstitutional — new gun control measures. These gun laws include an expanded “assault weapons” ban, a magazine ban, mandatory background checks for ammunition sales and ammo tracking and more. California gun owners are responding with a combination of creative submission and noncompliance.
One of the biggest targets with the gun control package was the “Bullet Button,” a device that transformed so-called “assault weapons” into unregistered semi-automatic firearms. Bullet buttons lock magazines in place and require a tool to unload magazines. The new law redefines these as “assault weapon” components and requires registry with California’s assault weapons database.
Darin Prince, the inventor of the original Bullet Button, has already responded to the new package with an updated, 2016 California-compliant “Bullet Button Reloaded.” The updated design for AR-style rifles no longer needs a tool, but only works with the gun disassembled. ARs take down quickly and easily with the push or pull of a single pin. Just like that, at least with ARs, the bullet button ban is a non-issue.
Solutions for other gun patterns will take more time to develop. We’re sure that gun owners will figure out ways to engineer around the new gun control laws. But other gun designs won’t have as elegant solutions as the Bullet Button Reloaded, and some may not be fixable at all. What will California’s gun owners do about those? And what about the other gun laws that engineering can’t get around, like the magazine ban and the ammo database?
See Also: CA Governor Signs Major Gun Control Bills: Mag Ban, ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban, Database for Ammo Purchasers, More
Many Californian gun owners are saying they just won’t comply with the new laws. This weekend several dozen protesters gathered around California’s Cesar Chavez Plaza. They were there to show solidarity in their refusal to observe the 2016 gun control package.
“I went over to the officers and asked them, ‘Do we look like criminals to you?’” said protester Steve Sarvar to the Sacramento Bee. “And they all said that no, we didn’t. But then I told them that this legislation that’s just been signed into law is going to turn ordinary people into criminals.”
That is, if the bulk of these laws are ever actually enforced. One can imagine that the courts will use them as tack-on charges during the prosecution of hardened criminals, who will inevitably disobey them. But for everyday gun owners, the real onus on enforcing these laws is on the individual, not law enforcement. And that’s if they’re even aware of what these laws mean for them.
On top of that, many of these laws don’t go into effect for some time. This gives gun owners a sizeable window to develop a legal strategy against the gun control package. Like the Bullet Button Reloaded, people have been working on strategies to deal with this gun control package for some time.
“There needs to be a complaint filed with an injunction because these are an unconstitutional set of laws that have been passed,”said Jorge Riley, president of the Sacramento chapter of the conservative California Republic Assembly. “They shouldn’t be able to become laws until they are reviewed by a judge. It’s unconstitutional, that’s why we have judicial review.”
As far as the ammunition background check system and registry goes, we’re sure that ammo sales in neighboring states will rise as long as these laws are in effect. And for the rest, it’s not as if there’s any incentive for gun owners to turn themselves in.
One thing’s for sure and it’s that for gun control advocates, there is no “compromise,” and that their long-term goal is a complete ban via patchwork legislation.