Gun Dealers Flee California As Local Authorities Ratchet Up Red Tape

Second Amendment

By Ryan Meilstrup

Firearms dealers are leaving California as localities in the state increase the amount of red tape needed to open stores, the Los Angeles Times reported.

California saw over 518 dealers shut down in the last 20 years, a 17% decline, according to the Los Angeles Times. California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, including requiring a “safety certificate” to purchase handguns and a ban on certain semi-automatic firearms, according to the National Rifle Association.

One local jurisdiction passed a new ordnance that imposed new requirements for video surveillance and storage of firearms, among other aspects of running a firearms dealership as Stephanie Gilreath, the wife of a U.S. Navy sailor with 32 years of service, attempted to open an outdoor store in the San Diego area, the Los Angeles Times reported. Gilreath described one rejection of an application for a necessary permit which was due to the wording of another license she’d obtained.

“I just thought that was hilarious,” Gilreath told the Times. “They’re getting picky. They’re doing what they can to hold things up and not let it through.”

Gun store owners told the newspaper that the state’s high taxes and strict gun laws are significant factors in dealers deciding to relocate or shut down.

“California has gone too far. The amount of time and paperwork is totally crazy,” San Diego County Gun Owners PAC Executive Director Michael Schwartz told the Los Angeles Times. “They’re trying to stop criminals by making it difficult for law-abiding gun dealers to exist.”

Over six months after Gilreath applied for the permits, she was able to sell firearms at the store she opened, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a 28th amendment to the United States Constitution that would codify some of California’s state laws, including its ban on certain semi-automatic weapons, the imposition of a waiting period and raising the firearm purchasing age to 21.

“The 28th Amendment will enshrine in the Constitution common sense gun safety measures that Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and gun owners overwhelmingly support – while leaving the Second Amendment unchanged and respecting America’s gun-owning tradition,” Newsom said in a June 8 news release touting the proposed amendment.

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