California's ban on standard semi-automatic rifles leads to surge in sales

California is infamous for its gun laws.  That would be a statement like declaring that the sky is blue on a clear day if it weren’t for the trend of the state to get worse over time.  The legislature competes with meddlesome private citizens who get referenda on the ballot to see who can do the most to curtail gun rights.  This year’s referendum bans standard capacity magazines that were formerly grandfathered in under the previous restrictions and imposed background checks on ammunition sales, among other burdens that law-abiding people will have to deal with.  But the legislators sent a bill to the governor to ban rifles with bullet buttons, and Gov. Brown signed it in July.

For people who aren’t suffering under California’s laws and may not know the full extent of their silliness, a bullet button is a mechanism added to semiautomatic rifles to comply with a previous law requiring the use of a tool to change out detachable magazines.  The bullet button device allows the rifle’s owner to use the spitzer point of a .223 cartridge to release the magazine.  Of course, the word, tool, meaning a device to perform a task, seems to describe the typical release button on guns  sold just about everywhere but California, but I’ll leave discussions about the competency of the state’s lawmakers to those who wish to spend the time.

What is of interest to me is the fact that the people of California are doing what they’ve done all along, seeking ways to get on with exercising their rights in any way left to them.  Sales of AR-15s—at least the varieties of that model that are allowed to be bought for the moment in the state—have increased three hundred percent over last year.  As of the First of January, owning an AR-15 with a bullet button will be legal if you bought it before that date, but won’t be allowed for sale any longer.

Well, owning will be permitted until the next ballot measure, perhaps.  Or the next bright idea that some legislator gets.  But it’s good to see that even in California—the original home of Armalite, by the way—the gun community is fighting back.

This isn’t an original reaction.  New York owners have been refusing to comply with the requirement of the NY SAFE Act to register “assault” weapons—how many misnomers can be put together in one sentence?  As Brian Olesen, a store owner in Albany said, “I think this law was so incredibly repressive that it drove people to the point now that they’re basically saying we’re not going to abide by any more laws.”  And let’s recall that the Battle of Lexington and Concord occurred because the British soldiers stationed in Boston were ordered to seize arms from the locals.  Would that the residents of Massachusetts rediscover en masse their revolutionary spirit.

If there’s good news from the 2016 election, it’s that the pendulum, for the moment, has swung in favor of gun rights nationally and in many states.  With more justices in the courts, including the Supreme Court, in favor of gun rights, even California may be brought back, kicking and screaming to be sure, into compliance with the Constitution.  That day cannot come soon enough for the good people of the state who just want to exercise their rights.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of

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