In California, it is illegal to carry or transport any firearm, no matter what type of weapon it is. Added to this outright ban, there are added hundreds, if not thousands of exceptions. This makes for a very confusing situation.
For instance, it is legal to carry a gun locked up in the trunk of your car, unloaded of course, to and from a place where it is legal to process the weapon (this is the exception), like a gun range. So you load up your car and drive to the range, practice and shoot off a thousand rounds of ammo and go back home – all legal.
Now, here is where it can get tricky. Let’s say you want to go hunting with your friend, so you load up, drive across town to your friend’s house to pick him up and then drive to the place where it is legal to hunt. One would think that this would be legal, and under most circumstances, I personally do not know of any police officer or game warden that would give you any grief over this.
Add to this the outcry of the anti-gun people and legislators over “assault weapons” (not real fully-automatic weapons, but weapons that just look similar to military arms. I personally believe all American Citizens should be able to own fully automatic weapons, and they can in several states, just not in the Peoples Republic of California. California’s lawmakers, who do not have the least bit of knowledge of guns passed the “assault weapon ban” which required registration and prevented transfers and new purchases of those weapons, but did not outlaw them. A true assault weapon is fully automatic and can fire three-round bursts or full machine gun operation.
A man loaded up his pickup with boxes of ammo and guns. He made sure all the weapons were unloaded and in locked containers. All ammunition was in separate locked boxes and none of it was in magazines. The pickup had a locked cover on the bed of the truck, so the guns and ammo in separate locked containers was locked up with a second layer of protection. One weapon happened to be what California terms an assault weapon, and it was legally possessed and properly registered in California by the man.
He now drove to pick up his friend, just like he had done many times before, and intended to go to the outdoor range in San Bernardino. The friend had flown in from Baltimore to Los Angeles and he was going to drive by the baggage area, pick him up and drive out to the range.
He had done this other times without a problem.
This time, he was pulled over by police for a vehicle inspection at the airport. He cheerfully cooperated with the officers when they requested to look in his locked truck bed. He declared that he had legally registered weapons and ammunition. He also declared he was picking up his friend and they were going directly to a gun range.
They also requested the combinations and keys to all the boxes containing the weapons and ammunition. The police then opened everything up and determined that all the weapons were unloaded and that the ammunition was locked up separate from the weapons. They probably would have thanked him and let him go to pick up his friend, had it not been for the “assault weapon” that in reality is not an assault weapon.
They handcuffed him, took him to jail, and charged him with “suspicion of felony transportation of an assault rifle“, and confiscated his truck and weapons.
Notice that the charge is “suspicion of…” and not just felony transportation. The police are hedging their bets on being flat out wrong for arresting him in the first place. They are holding all his weapons and his assault weapon until they “determine” if the gun is indeed legal. In other words, even if you have the paperwork on you that proves legal ownership and registration, the police can conveniently just ignore it until they make their determination weeks, if not months later. In fact a quick (less than one minute) check with the state DOJ database will confirm that. We need to educate the police on the finer points of the gun laws and insist that they obey them. I would bet that the only way to effectively accomplish that is several multi-million judgments against the cities that insist on ignoring a citizen’s God-given civil rights.
Notice that the news story is playing up the fact that he had “nearly 1000 rounds of ammunition”. The only time I go to the gun range with less than 1000 rounds is if I ran out and was waiting for the next gun show to buy at least of 1000 rounds of each caliber I use. We need to educate the news media that 1000 rounds is a very small amount of ammo. Did you ever have two bricks of .22’s? That is 1000 rounds and you can shoot that up with a friend real fast! If you have a couple of kids and take them shooting with a couple of .22’s you will find that our real quick!