Too Much To Write, Too Little To Say

September 5, 2013

Sometimes it’s like that.  There’s so much to write about, I just can’t think of any way to say it all.

Right now, of course the lead ban is an ongoing topic.  At first glance, the discussions are all about California, but the groundwork is clearly being laid in place.  A few minutes scanning the Web brings up discussions on national forums like Huffington Post where there have been two big opinion pieces in as many days.  There’s this piece today, from the National Audubon Society President, David Yarnold.  And on Tuesday, the self-proclaimed “Gun Guy” Mike Weisser wrote about the topic for the second time in less than a month.  And, as would be expected the level of ignorance and misinformation started with the original posts and went downhill from there.  A large segment of the commenters on these posts aren’t from California, and they see no problem with taking the lead ban across the entire US. 

On top of the lead discussion and AB711, there’s SB53, a bill that I thought had died in the CA legislature.  SB53 will require anyone purchasing ammo to acquire a state-issued permit which entails submitting to a background check and paying a permit fee.  The bill would also require ammunition vendors to become licensed (another state fee) and to maintain records of all ammunition sales.  In essence, the bill expands a recently passed law to require that all ammunition purchases in CA take place under face-to-face transactions.  Ostensibly, this means no more online or catalog sales. 

Now SB53 is onerous enough in itself.  But when you look at SB53 in conjunction with AB711, it might be pretty easy to see a real problem for California hunters.  Eliminating online purchases of ammunition is going to have a serious impact on the ability of folks to buy lead-free ammunition.  Given that there’s already a big lag between manufacturing and availability, this bill will exacerbate the problem by limiting the available market to authorized vendors in the state… or, of course, to folks who are willing and able to cross the state lines and purchase ammo in Arizona, Oregon, or Nevada. 

After hearing me go on about some of the wonderful hunting experiences I’ve had in California, some folks ask me why I left the Golden State.  I gladly point to the above as a part of the reason (not to sink into hyperbole… this is only one of several reasons).    California is becoming increasingly hostile to hunters and to gun owners. 

Other topics?  Hunting seasons are underway or closing fast across the country. That’s generally a good thing.  But as hunting seasons get active, so do the hunting discussion boards.  At first it’s guys showing off their recent trophies and talking about how great it is to be back in the field.  And then it’s the armchair ethicists, preaching moral absolutes from the safety of an anonymous keyboard.  I guess I should revel in the annual fest of judgement and hypocrisy, because it does give me lots of fodder for the blog.  But I also find it irritating, and a little sad. 

I’m sure there’s an upcoming blog post in it (I’ve done it plenty of times before), but I’m seeing more and more of the “that’s not what X-hunting is supposed to be” discussions.  Most recently, it was bowhunting, and a discussion of long-range shooting (you knew it was bound to happen).  The other day it was about running shots on big game.  And before long, you won’t be able to turn around in the (anti)social networks without tripping over some argument about hunting ethics and “the spirit of the hunt.” 

Finally, with the nascent hunting seasons we’ll have the news stories.  Already, it looks like the recent forest fires in Yosemite were started by a careless hunter.  For whatever idiotic reason, he had to build a campfire in a wilderness, despite extremely high fire conditions.  Folks are already piling on him in regards to what his punishment should be, because folks like to do that when it’s somebody else’s son… especially when it’s someone they don’t even know. 

So maybe I’m a little overwhelmed with so much going on.  Or maybe I’m a little grouchy.  I just saw some photos from a friend who’s chasing elk in Colorado right now, and the itch is turning to a burn.  Potting doves in a 97 degree horse pasture just doesn’t quite fill the bill compared to stalking the Rocky Mountains to the song of elk bugles and the first golden glow of the aspens.


8 Responses to “Too Much To Write, Too Little To Say”

  1. David on September 6th, 2013 14:49

    I tried to call the author of SB53 after receiving an email from their camp (not even sure how I ended up on her list) and I can’t even get a response from her. I also emailed a response back with well thought out, polite rebuttals and only got more spam from her camp on other issues and nothing in response to my rebuttal. I never expected I would get anything back since I don’t suppoprt her view but thought I would try anyway.

    I have emailed all the representatives and hope our voices are heard but it feels like a losing battle. I did it again with the CWA link you shared on Facebook the other day too. I am hoping our reps listen to us but fear they won’t.

    I am also afraid of the other bill that makes all rifles with a detachable magazine an “assault” rifle and illegal to own or possess.

    A couple years ago, one of my very long time friends who is like a second dad to me gave me (in consideration of my disability – Muscular Dystrophy) a beautiful Browning Automatic Rifle in .300 Win Mag with a muzzle break. This rifle is beautifuly tooled, with engraved scroll work and the browning buck is also engraved and gold filled on the action and the trigger guard. In combination with my trigger controlled shooting sticks I can get on any game, up to very long distances if needed since I can’t walk to good to put a stalk on. I can hold the rifle steady with this configuration and I can take multiple shots if needed (like on a herd of pigs when I am trying to harvest more than one) without the need to manipulate an action which I can’t do very easily.

    If that law passes, I won’t be able to own the gun in California anymore and it will limit my abilities in the field. I have never really felt discriminated against in my life but this feels a little like that.

    On the sentimental side, it would force me to sell my beloved gift from one of my best friends in the whole world and that feels a little abusive. Who are they to make my ownership of this gun a felony? The sponsor of this bill justified it by saying that the public will have a year to sell or dispose of the rifles so to them that justified everything. Hey you have a year to get rid of your prized possession. We don’t care how you got it or what it means to you or that is a tool for you to harvest your own food, you have a year to figure it out….

    If these laws are passed I hope some lawsuits are filed. Especially on the detachable mag issue.

    I am already seeking ways to get around the detachable mag issue. I am looking into whether or not my mag can be welded to the cover on the bottom of the rifle. The way the rifle works now, you depress a release which flips open a coverplate on the bottom of the rifle. The magazine is attached to that cover plate but the magazine can be removed from the plate. I am looking to see if the plastic coverplate can be replaced with a metal one where the magazine can be welded to it. Since the coverplate is attached permanently to the gun and the magazine would be welded to that, I would hope that my magazine would not be considered to be “detachable”.

    Anyway, enough rambling here….I realize I am a little “all over the place” but this issue really has me fired up.

  2. Mike C on September 7th, 2013 11:24

    The best way to see California is through your rear-view mirror.

    I plan to leave just as soon as I can.

  3. David on September 8th, 2013 00:33

    Correction on my last post. Apparenty, I misunderstood SB374 about the detachable magazine. It won’t outlaw my gun, but it will turn my hog/deer rifle into an “assault weapon” and I will have to pay a fee and register it. I did see a press conference early on where they gloated about having a year to register it but I thought they said to sell it. Sorry if I caused any confusion.

    Here is a link to the text of the bill:

    I am glad I can keep my gun but this still irks me to my core. Why the government needs to know that I own a deer rifle is beyond me. The public is not made safer by the DOJ having this information.

  4. Phillip on September 9th, 2013 13:58

    No problem, David… easy to get confused and frustrated by the language of some of these bills. The new effort to classify any semi-auto (or almost any) as an ‘Assault Rifle” is a perennial favorite, and a good example of why you can’t turn your back on these bills just because they go down in flames the first time. Unfortunately, what a lot of gun rights folks don’t seem to understand is that the Heller decision (and later the McDonald vs Chicago) makes it easier for states like CA to pass some pretty draconian laws. The squeeze is on now, because the next step is to clearly define “reasonable restrictions”, which could really turn out to be a curse for gun owners. CA seems eager to test that.

    Good luck. For gun owners and hunters, unfortunately, Mike’s aphorism might be more apt than we’d like. It’s a little simplistic, of course, but the sympathy is pretty widely shared. Most of us have a little more diverse value set, though, and just packing up to leave isn’t always going to put everyone in a better place.

  5. David on September 10th, 2013 17:55

    Well…son of a gun…I am even more confused now. I talked to one of my friends who directed me to 30605 of the Califronia Penal Code.

    It allows me to continue to own my gun since I legally owned it prior to the classifying of it as an assault rifle but it does not appear you can use it other than to target shoot?

    Still researching but very, very confused.

  6. David on September 10th, 2013 18:02

    Last spam of the night…then there is penal code section 30945 which says that essentially, you can still use it on public land if the public agency managing that land allows it…but I don’t see any mention of being able to hunt on private land like when you go on a guided pig hunt on someone’s ranch.

    So confused…

  7. Phillip on September 11th, 2013 09:10

    Don’t dig too deep, David. It doesn’t get any clearer.

    The bottom line is that your BAR is legal, both for possession and use (hunting or target shooting) wherever centerfire rifles are legal. Some public lands don’t allow centerfire rifles, and some don’t allow target shooting. That’s not new.

    If the bill passes and all semi-automatic rifles are classified as Assault Weapons, you will have to go through the registration process and all that it entails. That’s bullshit, and should be defeated if it went to the higher courts (although the Supreme Court has left a lot of leeway to the states to make that decision), but the bottom line is that if you follow the rules you still get to hunt with your rifle.

  8. David on September 11th, 2013 11:20

    Thanks Phillip! This is as clear as mud and I spent 11 years in law enforcement – still couldn’t make heads or tails of it all.