We all know that California has some of, if not the, most restrictive firearm laws within the United States. And, for many, it is tempting to avoid these laws by crossing the border of California and entering the “free states” (Nevada, Arizona, etc.) for the purposes of buying some firearm accessories and/or firearms (with an “out-of-state”ID) that are more stringently regulated here in California. Or, while on a nice trip to Las Vegas, Californians take the bet that they can stop by their favorite Las Vegas Gun Store to pick up some “large capacity magazines” to bring home and no-one would be the wiser.
While the odds may be with you in such transactions, they are not 100%. On too many occasions individuals pull in to a gun show or gun store parking lot not realizing that they have just raised a red flag of an undercover California police officer (LAPD), sheriff (LASD), or California Department of Justice agent lurking in the parking lot. How did they raise a red flag? The individual’s license plate!
California law enforcement have, over the past years, found easy prey by stalking the parking lots of out-of-state border city gun stores and gun shows . . . waiting for a car with California license plates to pull in. Once they see their target, the law enforcement officers exit their vehicle and shadow the persons who exited the California plated vehicle waiting for them to purchase “large capacity magazines,” firearms, or other items regulated in California. But the story does not end there.
The law enforcement officers do not arrest the Californian on the spot. Instead, they continue to trail them back to their car … and back into California. Once the individual is well into California the law enforcement officer switches their lights on. At the point, the individual has crossed the border with “large capacity magazines” and, unless they are a permittee or are otherwise exempted, the crime of importing “large capacity magazines” has been committed. Though not always placed under arrest at the scene, individuals are often released to wait in anxiety for a letter from the local District Attorney notifying them that they are being criminally prosecuted and that they must appear in court for their arraignment at a specified date.
Some individuals think they can out smart such law enforcement officer snare traps by not heading back into California after visiting a out-of-state border city gun-show or gun-store. Not true. Law enforcement officers simply visit the residence of the registered owner of the vehicle with the California plates for a “knock-and-talk” or with a search warrant – which can sometimes result in more violations.
While there are many methods to beat such law enforcement officers’ hunting of California residents at out-of-state gun stores or gun shows, don’t even try! Why bother? It is not worth it. Attorney fees, criminal prosecution, loss of privacy due to search warrants, etc. California has come a long way, against their will, towards permitting things that were once before deemed unlawful. Ride the wave with the rest of the gun rights activists, contact your representative about your firearm concerns, support your local association in their efforts to change the law and/or file litigation, and stay informed.
And, next time you visit an out-of-state border city gun show or gun store . . . remember to support your police – turn around and give them a thumbs up!