Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt.

I encountered quite a bit of it today at a local gun store, and it was pretty unsettling. I guess I shouldn't expect legal advice from a guy making minimum wage behind a gun counter, but it was pretty annoying to hear him talk about legalities here in CA that he obviously had little idea about. For example, "Gun Store X down the way is selling Saigas which have been banned so they're breaking the law, but DOJ just hasn't gotten around to them yet". Uh, OK dude...
He also exemplified a way of thinking that our government - especially the CA DOJ - encourages, in that if there is not a ruling allowing a particular feature (in this case, he was referring to a bullet button), then it must be illegal.
That is the mindset of a serf, not a citizen. Laws do not grant permission; laws forbid behaviors (and in CA, guns sometimes). If there is no law in place banning the particular item in question, then by definition it must be legal. The DOJ may not care for some of the items Californians choose to avail themselves of, but if they are not banned by law, then it's just tough.
Obviously the spirit of the law here in CA is designed to discourage Californians from possessing EBRs altogether, but if one scrupulously adheres to the letter of the law and complies with all the requirements then it can be done.
Guys like the clerk I encountered today aren't helping; they're doing DOJ's work for them, by spreading their flawed perceptions of California gun law to their customers. I swear sometimes, gun owners can be worse than fishwives for all the rumors that you hear spread throughout the community.
I suppose I could have corrected him, but I didn't envision that ending well. If you've ever been in a gun store, you'd know the type. It's the store owner's responsibility to educate their employees anyway.
I doubt I'll be doing business there again.


DirtCrashr said...

Besides naive and stupid that guy is just absolutely clueless - nobody would think twice of selling that which is so illegal, the penalties are just too incredible.

Kevin said...

Maybe I should have said something to him, but I didn't think it would have been productive. I've found that trying to correct gun store clerks is a waste of my time. Luckily for them, they were the only ones around who had a bore snake in .22 cal, but that's the last purchase I'll be making there. It's too bad; people tend to assume that because these guys are on the other side of the counter, they're speaking from a position of authority on the laws (which they should be, really. If you sell guns, you should know what's what).

Larry said...

That's the point you could have made. Rather than trying to correct his every error, you could have talked to a manager and informed them that you found the ignorance of their help dismaying and that you would henceforth be making your purchases elsewhere.