California gun owners win first round in a pair of rights battles
By JIM MATTHEWS
Gun owners have won the first round in a pair of gun rights battles that are being waged in the courts and government regulatory offices, including one that would have taken effect on Saturday, July 1.
A San Diego-based U.S. District Court judge granted a preliminary injunction against California’s total ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition that would have become law July 1.
Judge Duncan Becerra said the voter-approved law banning possession of the magazines would mean “hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of otherwise law-abiding citizens will have an untenable choice: become an outlaw or dispossess one’s self of lawfully acquired property.”
Becerra said the law “amounts to the government taking people’s private property without compensation” in his ruling.
California has banned purchases of magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds since 2000, but those who already possessed the magazines could legally keep them.
The total magazine ban had been approved by voters in a referendum last November known as Proposition 63. The law required gun owners to dispose of magazine’s holding more than 10 rounds or face up to a year in jail plus a $100 fine per magazine.
The law will likely be appealed to the Ninth Circuit court, which has been far more willing to abridge constitutional rights.
Also this past week, the California Office of Administrative Law rejected proposed regulations attempting to eliminate so-called “bullet button” rifles from private ownership. The Department of Justice submitted regulations, asking them to become law without any public notice or comment, a clear violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.
So-called “assault guns” -- more commonly known as modern sporting rifles in the firearms community because an there is no such thing as an “assault gun” -- are still banned for new sale in California, but existing gun owners have until July, 1, 2018 to register their pre-owned firearms. These administrative rules would have included broad definitions of bullet-button guns, which are now included in the ban.
With the current biased and prejudicial climate in Sacramento, most gun owners in California considered both of these victories merely a step in the process of restoring rights of gun owners in this state.
Cady Mountains bighorn sheep drinker replacement
finally approved, volunteers needed July 21-23 work
Volunteers are needed for a hot and sweaty work project to replace and expand a critically important bighorn sheep drinker in the Cady Mountains east of Barstow the weekend of July 21-23, according to the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep (SCBS), which is spearheading the work.
The drinker has been described as a “mediocre [water] collector that receives heavy bighorn sheep use,” by Steve Marschke, president of SCHS.
“Over the years many modifications have been implemented to increase the storage and the collection, but bighorn use still outpaces the capacity,” said Marschke. “We typically haul several thousand gallons of water per year to this drinker.”
A few years ago, SCBS suggested to the Bureau of Land Management that the drinker be replaced, installing a larger and more effective collector system and larger capacity tank. The new system would also reduce the visual impact of the water system and reduce or eliminate the need to haul water to the drinker.
The BLM finally agreed and SCBS received grant money from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to pay for the new system, but permitting delays forced SCBS to file for two grant extensions. Since the current grant extension is only until Sept. 1, the group decided they had to pull the trigger now on this work.
“I realize that this is a tough time to install a Mojave guzzler, but with all the hoops we have to jump through these days, we have to be tougher than our adversaries,” said Marschke.
Volunteers are needed for this project. If interested, you can call or e-mail John or Linda Roy at 562-697-7232 or email
DFW promises Protrero Unit
of San Jacinto Wildlife Area
will open to public in 2018
While first was scorching most of the 9,000-plus acres of the Protrero Unit of the San Jacinto Wildlife Area in Western Riverside County, wildlife area manager Scott Sewell promised the unit would be open to the public by 2018.
Sewell explained that the management plan was going to be released in concert with the environmental impact report and they should be available for public review this year.
“It should be out already, but it keeps getting delayed [by Sacramento],” said Sewell.
Sewell said he’s proposed permit-only dove hunts more than three times during this never-ending process.
“Every single year I want to pull the trigger and get people out there to hunt, and each time we’ve been shot down,” said Sewell.
The management plan has provisions for public hunting and habitat improvement projects -- including guzzlers and food plots -- much like the main unit of the San Jacinto Wildlife Area adjacent to Lake Perris.
Cottontail rabbit season opened July 1
Almost forgotten, the first rifle and shotgun hunting season of the “fall” opened Saturday, July 1. Cottontail rabbit season opener is always July 1 and it will continue through the last Sunday in January.
The best reports of rabbits have been coming from the east Mojave Desert, especially the foothills at a little higher elevations on the Mojave National Preserve, all along the Colorado River (especially adjacent to agriculture fields), and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada adjacent to Highways 14 and 395.
Hunters can send photos and reports to Jim Matthews at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Jim Matthews is a syndicated Southern California-based outdoor reporter and columnist. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 909-887-3444.]