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Old March 1, 2012, 04:21 AM   #1
Man From Boot Hill
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Calif.Police able to buy and own AR-15's

I see on the local CBS station that some if not all cops in northern california(have not heard about socal yet) Can Buy and use AR-15's. But as normal folks, we can't. I do not have a dog in the fight, I have no reason to buy one. The big question is: What happens when the cop retires? Is he allowed to keep the weapon? A burning question in this state. According to a spoksman for Calguns, we all should be able to own such weapons. How say you?
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Old March 1, 2012, 09:06 AM   #2
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AFAIK, LEO's are exempt from the firearms restrictions mere citizens are subject to.
There are California Legal AR type rifles available for sale, but they are configured to pass every restriction the state has setup. As an example, here is Colt's web site showing their selection of compliant rifles:
http://www.coltsmfg.com/Catalog/Colt...antRifles.aspx
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Old March 1, 2012, 09:17 AM   #3
maestro pistolero
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There's been a lot of discussion and some disagreement at Calguns over this. What's not in dispute is that LE, with a department letter, may own an un-neutered AR15, or "assault weapon" as they are defined in CA law.

Citizens in CA may own any AR15 pattern rifle that isn't named on the AWB list, as long as it is either "featureless" (no pistol grip, flash hider, etc. see flowchart) or that has a bullet button (a mag release that requires a tool to operate it).

No magazines greater than 10 rounds may be used in a bullet-button AR if the rifle has "features" without creating an assault weapon under CA law.

Former AG, now governor Jerry Brown, once opined that the law, as written does NOT allow LE to retain their rifles after retirement, however previous 'opinions' led officers to believe they could keep them, and a number of weapons were purchased with that promise and understanding.

There is actually legislation that was introduced recently that would, among other things, limit the number of so-called 'assault weapons' (including 50 BMGs) that an individual officer could purchase under the LE exemption to a total of one.

Apparently there are public safety risks when officers have an 'assault weapon' in both their right and left hands.
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Old March 1, 2012, 09:37 AM   #4
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I think we can all understand that a full-time LEO may need an AR-15 for his duty and may decide to purchase one for himself so that he can maintain it in top condition (as opposed to being issued a different rifle at various incidents).

But the part that makes no sense is that LEO's, while generally good guys, have also been the perpetrators of homicides of spouses and girlfriends. There have even been a number that have killed their families before taking their own lives. Yet, someone thinks it's just dandy that they can have AR's, while the majority of the population cannot? Twisted.
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Old March 1, 2012, 09:44 AM   #5
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You'll find that across the country, there is a disparity between what LEOs can do, and what the average Joe can do.
Even here in Virginia, a state with great gun laws, LEOs and Commonwealth Attorneys are allowed to conceal in restaurants that serve alcohol and consume alcohol. Everyone else may not... Regardless of what you think on the subject, it doesn't quite make sense that one group may do so while another may not.
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Old March 1, 2012, 02:05 PM   #6
maestro pistolero
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Quote:
But the part that makes no sense is that LEO's, while generally good guys, have also been the perpetrators of homicides of spouses and girlfriends. There have even been a number that have killed their families before taking their own lives. Yet, someone thinks it's just dandy that they can have AR's, while the majority of the population cannot? Twisted.
Not sure I get your point here. I'm not sure what ARs have to do with crimes perpetrated by LE. If they are going to go off the rails they can use any of the unlimited other guns they may have available. Using a rifle of any type is relatively rare in domestic violence, let alone so-called AWs.

So I think it IS just dandy that they may have them and it is despicable when the law-abiding public is denied ownership.

Quote:
You'll find that across the country, there is a disparity between what LEOs can do, and what the average Joe can do.
That's largely true, but not everywhere. As an example: most states allow NFA weapons to citizens who follow federal law.

Here in NV, I may keep a loaded pistol or a loaded (un-chambered) rifle or shotgun in my car, or or a chambered pistol on my person, unconcealed, without a permit. What is considered an assault weapon in CA is just a rifle, pistol or shotgun here.

It would be an interesting study to compile data on places like NV that have virtually un-restricted firearms ownership to show the rate of misuse compared to highly restricted places.

Last edited by maestro pistolero; March 1, 2012 at 02:13 PM.
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Old March 1, 2012, 02:13 PM   #7
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The exemption for carrying while consuming alcohol was originally for undercover officers, who had to be able to have a drink with the suspects or raise more than one eyebrow.
I would like to get it to AZ's point, where everyone has almost the exact same carry authority and firearms available. Our LEOs can carry in a very few places we can't, courtrooms and such, and we can all own the same firearms, albeit the LEOs can't keep the cheap full autos they're issued.
Good luck to California residents on getting these laws overturned soon!
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Old March 1, 2012, 08:04 PM   #8
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I remember reading from somewhere that a "cop was just a civilian with a badge and a gun". In terms of personal freedom, a cop has more than a soldier and a civilian is probably somewhere in the middle. This is just speculation though.

Anyways, I do not see the point in the "assault weapons ban". I have yet to see a criminal traipsing around carrying a long-arm*, rather it's mostly a handgun in the waistband or girlfriend's purse.



*Can be observed in some third world countries.
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Old March 1, 2012, 08:26 PM   #9
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That's largely true, but not everywhere. As an example: most states allow NFA weapons to citizens who follow federal law.
I'm not sure I follow. My point was that many, if not most, states have LEO exemptions built into some of their laws, giving them more freedom just because of their title as LEO. How does NFA apply to that, especially considering state agencies must follow NFA law as well?
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Old March 1, 2012, 10:04 PM   #10
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Not sure I get your point here. I'm not sure what ARs have to do with crimes perpetrated by LE. If they are going to go off the rails they can use any of the unlimited other guns they may have available. Using a rifle of any type is relatively rare in domestic violence, let alone so-called AWs.
Ah, M.P. I don't really disagree, but I'm living in the Peepul's Republik of Kalifornia which believes A.W.'s are too dangerous for civilians to own because -- depending on which anti-gun politician speaks -- A.W.'s are:
-- The weapon of choice for drive bys
-- The weapon of choice for gangbangers
-- Capable of shooting straight through un-reinforced cinder blocks
-- Completely unsuitable for any sporting use
-- Good only for killing people, not animals
-- Dangerous because of their "extreme rapid fire" capability.
-- Large caliber "Sniper" rifles can bring down an airliner with one shot.
-- Large caliber "Sniper" rifles can penetrate an armored vehicle from 1 mile
-- A large caliber, 20.5 pound, 46 inch long "sniper" rifle is the weapon of choice for terrorists


But as soon as that civilian puts on a blue "government employee" suit, he's more trustworthy with this kind of weapon than say, a 42 year old surgeon who's rifle has only pointed at paper targets at a rifle range.
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Old March 1, 2012, 10:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Man From Boot Hill
How say you?
I was surfing the Internet the other day and I stumbled across a reprint of an old document that was written by a bunch of politicians several generations ago. Pretty stilted writing style, which probably explains why they never talk about it in school these days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bill of Rights
Amendment 1
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or
of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition
the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment 2
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,
the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment 3
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the
consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by
law.

Amendment 4
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and
no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or
affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the
persons or things to be seized.

Amendment 5
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime,
unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising
in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time
of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense
to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any
criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life,
liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be
taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment 6
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and
public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime
shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously
ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory
process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of
Counsel for his defence.

Amendment 7
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty
dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a
jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than
according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment 8
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel
and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment 9
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed
to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment 10
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor
prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to
the people.
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Old March 3, 2012, 09:48 PM   #12
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Cops everywhere have greater legal authority than regular citizens. They also have greater responsibilities. They even get issued neat toys to play with, without the hassle and expense of extensive background checks, filling out multiple forms, paying a couple hundred dollars, and getting CLEO approval each time.

Of course, they don't "own" those guns, the dept does....

They get lots of other "perks" as well, compared to the rest of us. On the other hand, balance that with the pay, the working conditions, and the rest of it, is it really that important?

The principle that they are no more than us, other than their job is a good one, but is adhered to more in theory than in practice.

CA officers have found themselves in torturous legal ground over their personally owned guns, more than once. I believe some were even prosecuted for having an SKS (et al) when they turned them in, as required by law. Now, they want to codify an exemption. Fine for the cops, and another wedge driven between them and us. Some of "us" get jealous, you know...

That being said, I don't know where this particular discussion can go....

Remember that direct politics and disparagment are prohibited in this forum. And that includes sarcastic bashing of a state and the people in it.
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Old March 4, 2012, 10:02 AM   #13
PawPaw
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Quote:
There's been a lot of discussion and some disagreement at Calguns over this. What's not in dispute is that LE, with a department letter, may own an un-neutered AR15, or "assault weapon" as they are defined in CA law.

Citizens in CA may own any AR15 pattern rifle that isn't named on the AWB list, as long as it is either "featureless" (no pistol grip, flash hider, etc. see flowchart [calguns.net] ) or that has a bullet button (a mag release that requires a tool to operate it).

No magazines greater than 10 rounds may be used in a bullet-button AR if the rifle has "features" without creating an assault weapon under CA law.

Former AG, now governor Jerry Brown, once opined that the law, as written does NOT allow LE to retain their rifles after retirement, however previous 'opinions' led officers to believe they could keep them, and a number of weapons were purchased with that promise and understanding.

There is actually legislation [calguns.net] that was introduced recently that would, among other things, limit the number of so-called 'assault weapons' (including 50 BMGs) that an individual officer could purchase under the LE exemption to a total of one.

Apparently there are public safety risks when officers have an 'assault weapon' in both their right and left hands.
It amazes me the hoops that California residents have to jump through to own a standard firearm. And, no, I'm not bashing California, but all this seems rather silly.
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Old March 4, 2012, 09:31 PM   #14
BillCA
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Those of us here in California, by and large, don't really begrudge cops using an AR-15 for duty use. Especially given some of the circumstances and incidents they need to respond to. It's the idea that they can keep their un-neutered rifles after resigning or retiring from the agency that rankles most of us. Some central valley officer resigned to run his family's business and kept his two AR's. After a daytime break-in, police discovered his "assault rifles" and were ready to bag him until he showed he was the (then über privileged) legal owner.

Consider this - in California, a Colt AR-15 (e.g. AR6721), owned by a police officer is now called a Patrol Rifle[1] while the exact same rifle in the hands of a serf citizen is an "assault weapon". Makes very little sense to those of us in the land of fruits and nuts.


¹ "Patrol rifle" is what VPC is now calling "assault rifles" when in the hands of police.
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Last edited by BillCA; March 4, 2012 at 09:38 PM.
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Old March 4, 2012, 10:21 PM   #15
maestro pistolero
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Quote:
Consider this - in California, a Colt AR-15 (e.g. AR6721), owned by a police officer is now called a Patrol Rifle[1] while the exact same rifle in the hands of a serf citizen is an "assault weapon".
Excellent point that really shines the light on how terminology is used to assign motives that are not necessarily (or even, usually) present, i.e. it's not a hammer, it's a 'bludgeon'.

So VPC calls the 'patrol rifles' assault weapons, even in the hands of police? Interesting.
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Old March 5, 2012, 02:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillCA
Consider this - in California, a Colt AR-15 (e.g. AR6721), owned by a police officer is now called a Patrol Rifle[1] while the exact same rifle in the hands of a serf citizen is an "assault weapon".
Excellent point that really shines the light on how terminology is used to assign motives that are not necessarily (or even, usually) present, i.e. it's not a hammer, it's a 'bludgeon'.
In any political (or legal) fight, laying claim to the proper terminology is crucial. I've also seen the term "sporting rifle" popping up for AR-style rifles. Doesn't sound nearly as menacing as "assault rifle," does it?
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Old March 5, 2012, 07:27 PM   #17
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Spats correct me if I'm wrong.

In Arkansas a LEO may purchase and own an NFA weapon without going through the Feds. He may keep the weapon until he ceases being a LEO. The weapon must be passed to another LEO whose department authorizes the Officer to have one for Law enforcement use.

My training Officer had a mint condition Thompson with the round mag. (I'm not into Full auto so pardon any improper termoniology). When he retired he sold it to another officer.

The Tommy gun had an outstanding effect when Officers were severly outnumbered in a couple of tense situations.
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Old March 5, 2012, 07:50 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltc444
Spats correct me if I'm wrong.

In Arkansas a LEO may purchase and own an NFA weapon without going through the Feds. He may keep the weapon until he ceases being a LEO. The weapon must be passed to another LEO whose department authorizes the Officer to have one for Law enforcement use.
That's not the case as far as I know. However, I haven't really looked into this issue, so the problem may simply be my knowledge on the issue. None of the LEOs that I've ever known has mentioned this. I'll look into this over the next few days and report back with whatever I learn.
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Old March 5, 2012, 08:44 PM   #19
BillCA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
So VPC calls the 'patrol rifles' assault weapons, even in the hands of police? Interesting.
Actually, they call it a "patrol rifle" if it is used by police. If used by a citizen, the exact same gun will be termed an "assault rifle".
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Old March 6, 2012, 11:37 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltc444
Spats correct me if I'm wrong.

In Arkansas a LEO may purchase and own an NFA weapon without going through the Feds. He may keep the weapon until he ceases being a LEO. The weapon must be passed to another LEO whose department authorizes the Officer to have one for Law enforcement use.
Like I said, I'll look into this, but the more I think about it, the less I think that this is the case. If you want NFA items, you have to go through the feds, by federal law. Arkansas couldn't go around that if it wanted to, at least not unless there's an exception of which I am unaware.
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Old March 6, 2012, 01:10 PM   #21
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The situation described in Arkansas sounds similar to one I know of in my state. There is a bit of the "old boy" network involved.

There is a ret. LEO in my area who "owns" a Tommygun. The NFA one, not the semi auto that is all I (as a mere private citizen) can own. Now, this gentleman "owns" the machinegun, keeps it at home, and when the acitve duty cops want/need it, they go to him and "borrow" it.

There is no way to get around going through the Feds to legally own a machine gun, anywhere in the USA. Period.

However, while this old boy owns the gun, and everybody knows it, on paper, the POLICE DEPARTMENT owns it, and he just stores it for them. The old boy is retired, meaning he doesn't put in scheduled hrs on patrol or at the station, but he is listed as an active deputy, and will be until they close the lid on his casket, I think.

Is it fair? Is it something any of us could do? I don't think so. But it is within the letter of the laws. Many NFA owners get some level of police creds, to allow or ease their ownership and purchase of NFA arms. If your local chief LEO is cool with it, maybe you could do it too. It is entirely a local thing and all about who you know, and how well, and what they are all willing to do for you.

And its not corruption, per se (although there might be cases where corruption also involves NFA ownership/permission), its within the law, just like the "gunshow loophole" (which we all know isn't a "loophole", its simply obeying the law, as written).

If your particular jurisdiction allows for it, its ok. Not very fair seeming to the rest of us, but legal. IF the jurisdiction doesn't allow it, then even though still legal, its not permitted.

It may seem to be a legal fiction, but if its legal, then its not really fiction, is it?
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Old March 6, 2012, 01:19 PM   #22
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Quote:
However, while this old boy owns the gun, and everybody knows it, on paper, the POLICE DEPARTMENT owns it, and he just stores it for them. The old boy is retired, meaning he doesn't put in scheduled hrs on patrol or at the station, but he is listed as an active deputy, and will be until they close the lid on his casket, I think.
I remember something similar with Blackwater back in 2007. Blackwater "donated" money to the local Sherriff's Department to buy NFA weapons, which were then stored at Blackwater's facility. They were always available for the police to use if needed, but BW personnel used them as well. The BATFE didn't like that arrangement and seized the weapons, IIRC.
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