image from Franklin Armory
Anti-gun politicians in Sacramento appear set to ban a new firearm offered by a California and Nevada-based gunmaker, and pro-Second Amendment lawmakers are crying foul over the backdoor route that the gun banners are using to try to prevent any sales in the state. The Sacramento Bee reports that officials from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office appeared before a Senate Budget Committee hearing this week urging state senators to approve a provision that would ban the Title 1 Firearm from Franklin Armory by including the measure in the state’s massive budget bill, rather than a standalone piece of legislation.
Aaron Edwards, a representative from the governor’s Department of Finance, said that the administration had pushed to include the provision because the budget includes funding to regulate the weapons. Under questioning from lawmakers, Edwards said he wasn’t prepared to describe the type of firearm the administration wants to ban.
“I’d like someone to explain to me exactly what these weapons are, and referring to them as similar to assault weapons frankly doesn’t cut it for me,” said Sen. Richard Roth, a Democrat from Riverside. “I want to know what I’m voting on.”
Later in the hearing, Edwards and other administration officials provided more information on the weapons, which are not currently for sale in California.
Edwards pointed to the Franklin Armory Title 1, saying it “would fall under any reasonable person’s definition of an assault weapon” but does not fall under the state’s assault weapons bans because it does not meet the definition of either a pistol or a rifle.
“The longer we wait, the more people may be able to obtain these weapons,” Edwards said. “We think that they’re a public safety threat and we feel there’s an urgency to act now.”
In other words, it’s not an “assault weapon” under California law, but the governor wants to define as one anyway because he feels like that’s what it should be called. Unlike a rifle, the Title 1 doesn’t have a shoulder stock, but it’s 16-inch barrel is too long to be considered a pistol. Whatever you want to call it, Gavin Newsom doesn’t think Californians should be able to own it.
With an anti-gun supermajority in the state legislature, Newsom could easily get a standalone bill banning the gun approved, but enforcement of the new law wouldn’t take effect until January 1st of 2021. If the gun ban provision is included in the state budget, the Franklin Armory Title 1 would be illegal for sale in the state starting in just a a few days, on July 1st.
Jay Jacobson, president of the company that manufactures the firearm, disputed the administration’s characterization of the gun. He said the gun his company Franklin Armory manufactures, called a Title 1, is in a separate category from rifles and pistols and that the company has worked for years to ensure the weapon would be legal to sell in California.
Several lawmakers raised concerns about the move at the Wednesday hearing, arguing the ban should have been considered in a standalone bill, not as part of the sprawling budget deal that encompasses 19 pieces of complicated legislation.
“It should be a policy bill — banning of a new class of firearm,” said Republican Sen. Melissa Melendez from Lake Elsinore. “This isn’t a budget matter.”
Jacobson says his company is currently suing the state to sell the Title 1 in California, and added that he’ll file additional litigation if the backdoor gun ban does become law after the “dirty tricks” played by anti-gun legislators. As for the Title 1 itself, it looks like for the moment you can put down a deposit for the firearm, but it’s not yet available for purchase. I wish Jay Jacobson the best in his fight with the state, because odds are he’s going to need to file that new lawsuit when Newsom signs the state budget here in the next few days.