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Posted: 1/24/2001 8:13:41 AM EST
I have not yet found any reason (in the California Penal Code) that the Bushmaster CM-3207 (http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/brakes/701-20lsk.htm) cannot legally be installed on a registered AW in California.
One person said the DoJ told him that 37 mm flare launchers qualify as "tear gas launchers". However, Bushmaster's Web site says: "Warning: This product is not rated for Police Gas Canisters. Danger of Explosion!"
Following is the correspondence I have had with Jeff Amador of the DoJ.
Thanks for your prompt reply. I am puzzled, however, that you would
consider a 37 mm emergency signaling device (flare launcher) to be a
has a very clear exemption for emergency signaling devices:
(4) Any rocket, rocket-propelled projectile, or similar device of
a diameter greater than 0.60 inch, or any launching device therefor,
and any rocket, rocket-propelled projectile, or similar device
containing any explosive or incendiary material or any other chemical
substance, other than the propellant for such device, _except such
devices as are designed primarily for emergency or distress signaling
purposes_. [emphasis added]
Can you please clarify your answer?...
[Jeff Amador's original reply]
> Dear California Kid:
> This correspondence is in regard to your inquiry regarding a 37 mm flare
launcher. This type of device is considered "destructive devices" pursuant to
California Penal Code Section 12301. Therefore, pursuant to Penal Code Section
12303, possession of such a device is unlawful.
[My Original Question:]
> The wording of PC Section 12276.1 implies that California recognizes the
difference between grenade launchers and flare launchers. I assume that the
terms are mutually exclusive.
launcher". People do in fact install 37 mm signaling devices on post-ban
rifles. Bushmaster Firearms sells flare launchers for this purpose.
> Nothing in the California PC nor Department of Justice regulations appears to
prohibit adding California assault weapon features to a lawfully registered
assault weapon. Is there any reason one could not legally install a flare
launcher on a registered AW?
I'm so disgusted with those socio-fascist SOBs that I have decided to buy one of Bushmaster's launchers and install it LEGALLY on the post-ban AR that I built LEGALLY from parts all purchased LEGALLY after 1/1/2000. They can come and get me if they don't like it.
I've always had my real name in my email address used on these forums. Now I've got my real name in my Profile too. That's right, I'm that crazy guy from talk.politics.guns.
F*** 'em if they can't take a joke!
Jeff Amador of the CA DoJ finally replied to my request for clarification on his IMO erroneous statement about the legality of attaching 37 mm distress signal launchers to firearms, or even of possessing them at all. Here is what he had to say:
"Dear California Kid:
The Department of Justice is aware that there are devices being marketed as
emergency signaling devices that are designed for attachment to a firearm.
However, the Department considers launching devices greater than .60 caliber
that attach to a firearm, to be destructive devices pursuant to Penal Code
Jeff Amador, Field Representative
I find this outrageous but not surprising. The Department of Justice thinks it has the power to add text to the letter of the law. Essentially, if they don't like it, they say it's illegal.
I've met a lot of police officers, and rarely have any expressed that kind of - let's call it what it is - police state mentality.
I appreciate Mr. Amador getting back to me, but his reply smells of boot cream. I'd wager that he is a nice guy, but his statement is indicative of an executive branch of government that is way out of control.
so is he basically saying that cops will look the other way at the range when u have one of these mounted??
Please explain how you think he is adding text to the letter of the law, and if he is, why that is wrong.
While I generally disagree with the wisdom, propriey and even the constitutionality of California gun laws, that doesn't mean that they can't be executed as are other laws. It also does not mean that they must be executed so formalistically as to be useless. Refusing to accept the definition of a manufacturer can be perfectly acceptable.
If you want a flare launcher, then buy one. Buy one that cannot launch anything but a flare. Every once in a while, somebody will post questions on how to get non-flare projectiles for their 37mm launcher. The Shotgun News has ads from people selling reloading accessories for 37mm stuff, and I cannot recall ever seeing flares asked about or mentioned. The idea that launching grenades has nothing to do with 37mm "flare launchers" is utterly disingenuous.
I think the DoJ's interpretation of 12301 is out of line because there is nothing in the law about whether or not a launcher is designed to be attached to a firearm. The Bushmaster launcher is usable only for launching flares, unless you want to be a dumbshit and try firing tear gas or some kind of improvised anti-personnel device. If you do that, you have an illegal destructive device and the law is very clear on that.
IMHO calling an otherwise legal flare launcher an illegal destructive device JUST BECAUSE IT ATTACHES TO A FIREARM goes beyond what PC 12301 is supposed to mean.
Personally I think attaching a Bushmaster flare launcher to an AR-15 would be pointless. It would add a lot of weight and interfere with my favored grip on the rifle. If I owned a boat I'd keep my self-defense firearm and my distress signal separate. But that's just me. I think if someone wants to put a flare launcher on their AR for use as a distress signal or just because it looks cool that should be OK with the law as it is written.
Let's get back to the original reason I started this discussion on the old board - Bushmaster's disclaimer which states that their flare launcher is illegal on post-bans in California is wrong. If we stipulate that Mr. Amador's explanation is a correct interpretation of California law, Bushmaster shouldn't ship their launcher to California at all!
Why [i]would[/i] somebody attach a "flare launcher" to a frigging AR? Not to bring it along in case you get lost at the range. Not because they always bring an AR when boating, and want it just in case they get lost on a 3 hour tour.
They do it 'cause it looks like a M-203. And that looks cool. And some of those people want more than flares, as you observed.
The purpose of a flare launcher is to launch flares. Do you really think that's the primary reason people put the 37mm launchers on ARs? Really honestly? I don't. I think it's to get as close to an M-203 as possible.
California recognizes that, or imagines more, and decides that accordingly, they are "destructive devices." Have you read the list of what California calls DDs? It's a long list. i think it's just a catchall for interdicted weapons or possible weapons and more. Tracer bullets are considered DDs, for Chrissakes!
Whatever, back to your original point, the legislature is allowed to delegate some authority to agencies, and to be realistic, they have to be able to. They can't think of everything. There is nothing wrong with an agency being allowed to fill in the blanks, within permissible limits of how big the blanks are allowed to be.
Mind you, I don't think anybody is getting close enough to the real M-203 effect justify regulating them. I think few of the attached launchers are ever fired more than once or twice, if at all.
Cible, I totally agree with you that the real purpose of BM's flare launcher is to look cool. The launcher itself may be useful as a distress signal, but we all know that's not the reason some people attach them to ARs. It's not suitable for law enforcement or military use, but it's a lot closer to an effective improvised destructive weapon or CS launcher than anything you can buy at Wal-Mart.
My REAL original point is that Bushmaster has a misleading disclaimer on their Web site. If I was their attorney I'd probably have to advise them to:
A) Change the Web site so that it doesn't give people the impression that the launcher is legal on pre-bans, and
B) Stop shipping them to California immediately.
I think it's unfortunate that the DoJ has such a distrustful attitude about citizens. I was expecting Mr. Amador to affirm my analysis that pre- vs. post-[federal] ban has no special meaning in California WRT whether or not one could attach a flare launcher (as opposed to a grenade launcher) on a registered AW. His answer - that the DoJ considers the BM launcher completely illegal - surprised me.
I'm not planning on pursuing the matter with the DoJ any more. I think I've annoyed them enough. If I were to follow up, I'd like to ask these questions:
- Has anyone ever been prosecuted under PC 12301 for merely possessing a Bushmaster flare launcher and no illegal ammunition? If so, what was the outcome?
- If I duct-tape a live Pains-Wessex parachute flare to my rifle, does that make it a destructive device?
- Can I attach a flare launcher to my spud gun?
It sounds like you might make a good attorney. certainly a better one than many on this board. Bushy should remove that advice ASAP, and should never have posted it.
I agree that California is too distrustful of its citizens, and I feel it is based out of suspicion and ignorance. But, sweeping and unfair rules are the norm and always have been. Some people are OK to drink at 16, others never are. Apparently, I'm OK with dope since I don't care for it, but others are addicts from day 1.
I wonder if you've really annoyed the DoJ; many times public employee hacks are bored out of their skulls with the routine drudgery and enjoy off-the-wall questions just like anybody else. Weapons might not be one such area though. If you suspect they are getting sketchy about it, you are probably right.
I did not find a case about launchers attached to rifles. Maybe DoJ would know about one.
If PC 12301 prohibits attaching a flare launcher to a rifle, duct-taping a flare launcher would be illegal.
And I was under the impression that spud guns were illegal here in California.
Anyway, while searching for launcher cases, I found an example of just why some people think they should be illegal in California. Here is part of the case, which is from 1997. The defendant's name was changed to Imbroglio because it sounds like something he would do:
"On March 11, 1993, two police officers arrived at a Hello Kitty store in *****, California in response to an interrupted 911 call. Imbroglio had directed one of the store's employees to place the call so that Imbroglio could report the improper use of a parking space reserved for disabled people, and the store manager had terminated the call because he believed it did not involve an emergency. After the store employees informed the officers of the reason for the 911 call, the officers left the store and Imbroglio approached them to report the parking violation. Imbroglio appeared agitated, was talking rapidly in a loud voice, and the officers had difficulty understanding precisely what he was trying to report. However, they did not initially suspect him of any criminal activity. Soon after Imbroglio initiated the interview, the officers became concerned for their safety because Imbroglio seemed aggressive and wore a large knife in a sheath on his belt.
To ensure their safety, the officers told Imbroglio that if he wished to continue talking to them he would have to give them his knife. Imbroglio balked at this request and became more agitated. He asked the officers why they were picking on him. The officers then told Imbroglio to place his hands on top of his head with his fingers interlaced so that they could take his knife. When Imbroglio did not comply, the officers stepped forward, each seizing one of his arms, and placed Imbroglio's hands on top of his head. Imbroglio did not resist. One of the officers took Imbroglio's knife from its scabbard, and as he did so the other officer noticed a bulge under Imbroglio's clothing in the shape of a handgun. The officer felt the bulge to determine if it was a handgun and found a loaded semiautomatic pistol in Imbroglio's waistband. The officers then arrested Imbroglio for carrying a concealed firearm and immediately searched him for additional weapons. Altogether, Imbroglio was carrying two loaded pistols and twenty-three extra rounds of ammunition.
After taking Imbroglio to the police station, one of the officers returned to the site of Imbroglio's arrest and searched his car. In Imbroglio's car the police found an assault rifle, a large amount of ammunition, smoke grenades, and two loaded pistols, one of which was an assault pistol equipped with a laser sight and a fully loaded hundred-round magazine. Based on the weapons found on Imbroglio's person and in his automobile, as well as independently obtained information suggesting that Imbroglio had grown marijuana on his property, the police obtained a search warrant for Imbroglio's residence. Searches of Imbroglio's residence yielded 825 marijuana plants in a subterranean cement bunker and a large cache of weapons including two grenade launchers, three destructive devices, several machine guns, and more than a dozen other firearms."
PC 12301 defines "destructive devices". It doesn't specifically prohibit attaching anything to any other thing, or having something that is designed to attach to something else. I just like exploring gray areas and "loopholes" in the silly laws. California law has abundant opportunities for loophole spelunking.
I'll give up my spud gun when they pry it from my greasy, salty fingers.
Yes, tattoo, I have hefted an M16 with an M203 attached and can't fathom why anyone would want to add that weight to their rifle. I'd rather have a Mark 19, or whatever that link-fed 40 mm beast is called.
The point is not (as my mom always says) "Why would anyone want one of those?", but why should the government be so deeply into micro-managing what kinds of objects people are "allowed" to own? What is the benefit to society of forbidding us from owning a Bushy flare launcher, silly as the gadget may be?
I am damn innocent and only own a 10/22 and a .38.
My 2 cents worth: That every one should be able to buy, manufacture or trade any weapon they damn well please and can afford. I personally want a fully automatic .50 Browning M2 and a fully automatic 20mm canon and hand grenades, and C4, and all kinds of other weapons and destructive devices... just in case these good fer nuthin', rat, [email protected]@rds decide they want to try and take our weapons by force. I'll blow them up and use their guts to grease the axel on my truck. The next time someone wants to drive a tractor trailer into the state capitol, let some of us know!!!! we'd like to help!!!!
sorry about that, I get alittle excited now then, I'm all better now.