I’ve said before that even if you disagree with the law, you should follow it. Breaking laws, even if they’re stupid or unconstitutional, can still land you in hot water.
The one exception, however, is if you’re engaging in some civil disobedience or if you’re bucking to become a test case that may eventually overturn the law in question. Both come with risk, but if you feel it’s worth that risk, I can respect that.
But that doesn’t seem to be what one California gun rights activist had in mind.
According to court documents, San Diego resident Chad Clay Kipper, 34, lied about being an Arizona resident when he purchased 14 guns in that state in 2016. Prosecutors said Kipper brought the guns back to California and sold them for profit.
Kipper was the CEO of the Freedom Fighters Foundation, a gun rights and civil liberties group that owned a 22-acre private shooting range. Noise complaints prompted authorities to investigate the group in January, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Amid the investigation, authorities discovered the California resident was not registered to own firearms but had made a purchase in Arizona, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Per federal and state gun laws, it is illegal to lie on an application to buy firearms. Interstate gun purchases require a special license.
Kipper was sentenced to three years probation, had to surrender 16 firearms, and is now legally barred from owning guns.
It doesn’t sound like he was trying to make a point. It seems like he was making himself into the poster boy for irresponsible gun owners that I fully expect anti-gun activists to capitalize on. In other words, he turned himself from a good example into a bad example, someone the anti-gunners will use everytime someone talks about responsible gun owners.
Kipper has hurt the entire Second Amendment community with this.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I should be able to buy any gun I want anywhere I want without a whole lot of hassle. There shouldn’t be all these speedbumps to block buying guns from here or there. They shouldn’t exist.
But they do.
Because they do, you either follow them or risk losing your right to own firearms for the rest of your life.
The idea of a noise complaint leading to an investigation of a gun range sounds a little suspicious. It doesn’t matter, though, because Kipper didn’t take it to trial. He admitted he was guilty and gave up his right to keep and bear arms to stay out of prison. Now, I understand that. I love my guns, but I love not being in prison more too.
Of course, I’m also going to follow the relevant laws when it comes to getting my guns so I won’t run that risk.
Look, I get that if you live in California, your choices for guns suck. I understand completely. But if you’re going to break the law, don’t expect sympathy from anyone if you get caught. That’s not how it works.
You’re much better off trying to change the laws than you are with breaking them. It might be tougher to achieve but it far beats out the alternative.