CA "Red Flag" Law Amended To Include Blocks Of Material

Photo Courtesy of the National Shooting Sports Foundation

This is an interesting marriage and melding of two of the most en vogue anti-freedom concepts and measures of the new anti-gun crowd. California, which can’t seem to stay out of the headlines when it comes to the restriction of freedoms and draconian practices, just recently had its “red flag” law revamped. Stumbling upon one report about this new law did warrant further research. From the initial report:

This was a gun control bill that made so much sense that the National Rifle Assn. didn’t even oppose it. Neither did any gun lobby. No legislator — not even a Republican — voted against it.

The measure adds so-called ghost guns to the weapons that can be seized by police from someone who’s “red-flagged” by a judge. In many cases, this is a gunowner under a restraining order because of domestic violence. Or maybe he’s threatening people and talking about wanting to kill.

Ghost guns generally are homemade from parts ordered online. They’re usually unregistered and untraceable. And until this bill, they weren’t among the firearms that could be seized by police.

“If it looks like a gun and shoots like a gun, it should be treated like a gun,” says the bill’s author, Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “We need to close this loophole. When I found out we hadn’t already, I was shocked and horrified.

“Ghost guns are turning up at crime scenes all over the country.”

This was beyond flummoxing. A “ghost gun”, which is a dirty, nasty pejorative for a firearm that is homemade, is a firearm. So reading through this not-so-diligently put together reporting, one might be confused as to why on Earth such a law would need to be implemented. We all need to remember that “ghost gun” has no actual statutory definition anywhere and includes firearms that have obligated serial numbers based on their loose descriptions. In that case, “ghost guns” have been haunting the public with the power of a not-so-passive poltergeist since the first serial number was stamped on a gun. Digging a little deeper, another report explains a bit more, but first needs to set the stage with grand scare tactics:

California is adding a secretive but growing class of weapons to those that can legally be seized under gun violence restraining orders, under a bill Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Friday.

The new law includes what are known as “ghost guns” in the definition of what may be seized starting July 1, 2022. They are guns assembled from parts and so might not be registered or purchased through a dealer, as are other firearms that are legally owned.

The ghost gun kits or parts can’t be seized under current law, according to gun violence prevention advocates the Brady Campaign, even though the unfinished or unassembled parts can readily be turned into a working weapon. Unlike traditional guns, the unfinished parts can be purchased without background checks or waiting periods.

“Secretive but growing class of weapons…”? Excuse me while I retch at the far reaching language designed to make me clutch at my pearls. Finally getting to the bottom of what the heck this was all about, turning to an “according to” the Brady Campaign statement, this was about the “kits or receivers” that have yet to be turned into firearms. The first question I want to ask all these astute reporters and talking heads is; “When are ‘ghost guns’ born?” What, in their estimation is a “ghost gun”? Everything leading up to these two reports had lead many to believe that a so-called “ghost gun” is a firearm that was manufactured by an individual that has no serial number. Remember, that serial number makes the firearm less lethal. Now people are calling “ghost guns” the raw materials which they are made from. An 80% lower is a “ghost gun” prior to being precisely milled, drilled, and fit for use? Or is the “ghost gun” born after the milling? Asking for a friend. Is the egg a chicken? This is a serious question, because turning to California law on the definitions of all this stuff (which does not include the words ‘ghost gun’ mind you) we have the following:

PENAL CODE – PEN PART 6. CONTROL OF DEADLY WEAPONS [16000 – 34370] ( Part 6 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )
TITLE 1. PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS [16000 – 17360] ( Title 1 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )
DIVISION 2. DEFINITIONS [16100 – 17360] ( Division 2 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. ) 16531.

(a) As used in this part, “firearm precursor part” means a component of a firearm that is necessary to build or assemble a firearm and is described in either of the following categories:

(1) An unfinished receiver, including both a single part receiver and a multiple part receiver, such as a receiver in an AR-10- or AR-15-style firearm. An unfinished receiver includes a receiver tube, a molded or shaped polymer frame or receiver, a metallic casting, a metallic forging, and a receiver flat, such as a Kalashnikov-style weapons system, Kalashnikov-style receiver channel, or a Browning-style receiver side plate.

(2) An unfinished handgun frame.

(b) The Department of Justice, consistent with this section, shall provide written guidance and pictorial diagrams demonstrating each category of firearm precursor part specified in subdivision (a).

(c) Firearm parts that can only be used on antique firearms, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 16170, are not firearm precursor parts.

(d) A firearm precursor part is not a firearm or the frame or receiver thereof. A firearm precursor part that is attached or affixed to a firearm is not subject to the requirements of Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 30400) of Division 10 of Title 4 of Part 6 or Section 18010.

What’s an “unfinished receiver”? That is not defined anywhere but in that section of law. Looking at this new bill signed into law a bit closer we have the following from the text:

(a) For the purposes of this division, “firearm” includes the frame or receiver of the weapon and includes a precursor part. “Firearm precursor part” has the same meaning as in subdivision (a) of Section 16531 of the Penal Code.

California has deemed a hunk of metal or plastic to be the same as a firearm. We’re talking about “unfinished receivers”, which there is no further definition of. A block of aluminum? A spool of material for a 3-D printer? Where is California going to draw the line as to what is or is not considered an “unfinished receiver”? They don’t use the nomenclature 80% mind you. Yes, we’re talking about California, where there are allegedly only 4.9 million sane people out of 39.51 million.

Going back to the first report and the writer chiding how there was zero opposition to the measure is moot. The law they edited was unconstitutional to begin with. To “oppose” further injury of such a small magnitude on something that already violates civil rights is borderline pointless. The “opposition” is or should be battling against the “red flag” law. That would topple their little feel-good measure, which confiscates pieces of useless plastic and metal from people that are being unlawfully stripped of their due-process rights, Second Amendment right, and we can dare say rights to privacy.

This law is another hashmark for the members of the anti-freedom caucus to put on their wall of victorious, “look I’m doing something”, scoreboard. The tactics of who voted for this and why, on either side of the isle, has everything to do with either self-preservation, or looking at the big picture politically. Newsom and his cronies, including Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, can click their heels all they want and high five each other, but this was a waste of time and effort.

What was it that the Assemblywoman said? “If it looks like a gun and shoots like a gun, it should be treated like a gun….” As if the Assemblywoman has the ability to discern the difference between an AR lower that is serialized, an 80% lower, and a block of aluminum…Ya know because all those 80% lowers that are not complete or blocks of plastic can “shoot like a gun”. I’d love to see a demonstration of that Assemblywoman. In fact I’ll pay for your ammo, range time, and send a videographer over to film it.