Los Angeles Police Department via AP
A while back, the internet erupted with news of a massive stash of guns being found in a Bel Aire, CA home. When I say massive, I don’t mean that in the way the media typically does, where the guy has a few rifles, a few pistols, and his grandpa’s old shotgun. No, this was massive even by the scale of most gun owners. I mean somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 guns.
Now, the owner of those guns is facing 64 felony counts, most of which wouldn’t be an issue in the vast majority of the country.
A California man faces 64 felony counts after authorities say they found a cache of more than 1,000 guns at his home in the exclusive, upscale Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Girard Damian Saenz, 58, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that included 23 counts of possession of assault weapons. His arrest in May drew a barrage of media coverage to the expansive residence not far from the Playboy Mansion.
Police have said Saenz has a federal “curios and relics” gun license but was not authorized to sell weapons. He was released from custody on $50,000 bail shortly after the raid.
Other charges include 17 counts of transfer of a handgun with no licensed firearms dealer, 15 counts of unlawful assault weapon rifle activity, seven counts of possession of a short-barreled rifle or shotgun, and two counts of possession of a destructive device.
So, at least 40 of these charges seem to stem directly from California laws that don’t exist in most of the country. Another 15 of them may well fall into that category as well. The “possession of a short-barreled rifle or shotgun” is probably something you’d get charged with other places, as are the two counts of having a destructive device.
However, I can’t help but wonder if those charges would even apply were it not for California’s draconian excuses for gun laws. Hear me out.
Let’s say a man has a handful of guns in a state that now decides he can’t have something else. However, he believes he has a right to have it and also believes he has a moral duty to oppose unjust laws. So, he gets the gun regardless of the law.
Now, he’s already broken the law. He is, in the eyes of the state, a criminal even if it hasn’t figured it out yet. Since he’s already breaking the law, why not go a bit further? He can fund things by selling guns to others without following the unconstitutional universal background check law. He decided he wants a short-barreled rifle or shotgun, or maybe a grenade or two. As he’s already a criminal if caught, why not?
I’m not saying that Saenz is either guilty or that this was his thinking. I’m just saying I can see why someone might go this far because of the gun control laws.
By and large, I tend to advise people to follow the law. I don’t think you should do what Saenz allegedly did. If you do challenge the law, then you have my respect, but I won’t advise anyone to do so.
But I can’t help but think there’s a strong chance that none of this would have happened in Texas or Florida, even the stuff that’s illegal at a federal level. When you make someone a criminal, don’t be surprised when they embrace the identity.