Don't tell Newsom, but these California cops are raffling off guns for charity

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

I can only imagine the conniption that California’s governor will have when he learns about what’s happening down in Kern County at the moment. Gavin Newsom has already taken aim at the county for being the state’s “murder capital”; a distinction he bizarrely pins on House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy rather than his own failures of leadership or the false promises of gun control.

Now the police officers association in the small town of Taft is doing something that’s sure to raise the ire of the state’s gun-banner-in-chief: they’re raffling off a couple of guns to raise money for the local Shop With a Cop Christmas charity. That’s right… they’re actually promoting gun ownership in order to help kids in need.

The TPOA is raffling a Smith & Wesson SD40 VE .40 pistol for $10 tickets and a Bergara Premier LRP 2.0 6.5 Creedmoor 24-inch rifle for $25 tickets.

Winners must be of appropriate age and be able to pass a background  and be in compliance with all state, federal and local laws.

Tickets are available at Artz Liquor, Westside Arms and at the Taft Police Department.

The winners will be drawn at the  Battle of the Batches Chili Cook-Off on Saturday at the Taft Petroleum Club.

Not only is the Taft Police Officers Association raffling off an “easily concealed” handgun, they’re giving folks the opportunity to win a long-distance precision rifle (a gun I’m sure Newsom would deem to be a “sniper rifle” or some such nonsense).

While these cops are doing what they can to make sure that every kid in their community gets something under the tree this Christmas, Gavin “Grinch” Newsom is still trying to defend a law aimed at ensuring they’ll never be taught how to be safe and responsible with a Crickett rifle, JR-15, or other models designed for the youth shooting sports.

The “pure insanity”, of course, is the idea that gun makers were ever “marketing weapons of war” to kids in to begin with. As the Ninth Circuit panel correctly pointed out, the state offered no evidence that a juvenile has ever illegally purchased a firearm at retail in the state, much less that they did so after being exposed to a gun ad.

Instead, the law was meant to chill the speech of any marketing material that might be deemed to be interesting to kids, even if it was meant for adults. An ad that so much as featured a dad teaching his daughter to shoot, like the JR-15 ad in Newsom’s tweet above, or a mother and son hunting together, would have run afoul of the California law and subjected the gun company in question to tens of thousands of dollars in fines. The law was so broadly and badly written that even junior shooting leagues across the state shut down or greatly curtailed their activities lest they be sued into oblivion by the California Department of Justice.

The gun raffle is going to be of more help to kids than all of Newsom’s anti-gun laws put together, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Newsom declines to comment on what the Taft Police Officers Association is doing. The governor has a tendency to punch up, not down, and going after rank-and-file cops in a small town doesn’t generate the same amount of clicks as haranguing Kevin McCarthy for Kern County’s murder rate or denigrating Ron DeSantis over constitutional carry.

Still, Newsom and his anti-gun cohorts in Sacramento may get the last laugh, at least in the short term. One of the dozen or so gun control bills to be sent to the governor’s desk over the past few days is SB 368, which makes it illegal for an FFL to “offer an opportunity to win an item of inventory in a game dominated by chance,” unless the raffle is “conducted by a licensee organized as a nonprofit public benefit corporation pursuant to Part 2 (commencing with Section 5110) of Division 2 of Title 1 of the Corporations Code, or as a mutual benefit corporation pursuant to Part 3 (commencing with Section 7110) of Division 2 of Title 1 of the Corporations Code, if the nonprofit public benefit or mutual benefit corporation obtained the dealer’s license solely and exclusively to assist that corporation or local chapters of that corporation in conducting auctions, raffles, or similar events at which firearms are auctioned or raffled off to fund the activities of that corporation or the local chapters of the corporation.”

That’s a whole lotta legalese in just one paragraph, but the way I read it unless the Taft Police Officers Association has a license of their own, it will soon be a crime for those officers to work with a local gun shop in putting on the gun raffle. SB 368 comes too late to effect this year’s raffle for the association’s Shop With a Cop event, but if they want to do a similar fundraiser next year they may have to go to court to regain the right to do so. Honestly, these cops would make for pretty compelling plaintiffs, and I’d love to see the TPOA sign up to challenge SB 368’s provisions once its signed into law.