As we enter kicking and screaming into 2018, we must take stock of where we are, and the forces that are conspiring against us.
First, the good news: We are all still breathing.
Now, the areas of concern: Pretty much everything else.
A number of years ago I was taking a class with the famed TJ Johnston of AllSafe Defense. TJ, for those of you who don’t know, is sort of an institutional icon in California. He helped develop the NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home class, and sat on the Board of Directors for the NRA.
Toward the end of the class he offered his dire predictions for gun rights in California. He was, of course, correct in his assessment… but we, as gun owners, have been able to muddle through for the last few years nonetheless.
Over this New Year’s weekend I read a story that gave me pause, though.
As you all know from last week’s blog, and from the general scuttlebutt in the 2A community, the Anti’s are using access to ammunition as a means of stifling our gun rights.
One of the most egregious aspects of this is the bottlenecking of the stream of commerce regarding ammunition exclusively to FFLs and “Licensed Ammo Vendors.” The original intent of the law was to ensure that all ammunition sales take place “face to face”… meaning that if a product was purchased via the internet, it would have to be delivered first to a FFL or to a “Licensed Ammunition Vendor.” From there, the purchaser would have to physically visit the business to pick up the product.
We have focused so much of our attention on the buyers and the FFLs, we have all but forgotten the impact this has on non-FFL ammunition businesses.
(If you have arrived here from our newsletter, continue reading here…)
Years ago there was a custom reloader up in Glendora called “Gunsmoke” Larry. Larry was a sole proprietor, and operated out of a ramshackle office on the second floor of a run-down office building. His little office always looked like a bomb had just gone off in it. Loose brass, fittings, and unopened lunch bags littered the torn and stained carpet. Larry would always be smiling, sitting behind his cinder block constructed counter, working his press and building custom loads for clients.
He was an artist.
All of my long-distance loads were custom produced by Larry, and I literally trusted him with my life, as did a boatload of other customers.
He was a gem that never advertised his services. Like the old speakeasies…. you had to tell him who sent you the first time you arrived at his office.
He also did not have an FFL.
There are literally hundreds of other “Larrys” throughout California.
These small shops were mandated after Proposition 63 to get an ammunition vendor license. (Reloading does not fall under the auspices of Prop 63… but not every purchase through these shops is reloaded ammunition. Sometimes, you just need some Winchester White Box. Rather than reloading a ton of .45, it is cheaper for these guys to just resale them.)
One such shop was in the news article that I had read.
The owner had applied for a vendor’s permit, and, as of last weekend, had still not received it.
As of January 1, he was out of business… courtesy of the State of California.
They mandated a regulatory license, and had failed to honor their obligation to provide said license. His vendors refused to ship him product without a license, and thus, he was literally starved of product.
This is unacceptable.
The fact that the State requires this nonsense is, in my opinion, a violation of the Constitutional rights of both the buyer and the seller.
Many believe the slow process of the DOJ in issuing these licensees is part of a nefarious plot to further squeeze out the 2A community.
That very well may be… and nothing surprises me anymore.
But a good friend, and client of ours, once said something to me that has always rung true:
“Never bet against lazy.”
I am more apt to believe that the bureaucracy of government is more at fault than some ill-oriented intent.
Regardless, whether ineptitude or malicious action, there is no excuse for purposely, or negligently, driving an honest owner out of their business.
I hope this poor individual, and those like him, bring legal action against the State, and do not do as so many of our brothers and sisters have done, and simply flee to other states east.
“Vigilentibus et non dormantibus, juris serventium.”
The law does not help those that sleep on their rights.
We must be as forceful in our retaliation against the tyrants and the lazy as they are in their meddling with us. The law is a double-edged sword. Those who would use it against us must be prepared to defend themselves against our legal retaliations.