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San Diego Union Tribune: California Law that Lets Cops Buy 'Off-Roster' Guns Expanded to Include More in Law Enforcement

"Brandon Combs, executive director of The Calguns Foundation, a group that advocates for gun owners and gun rights, said the law puts the onus on licensed firearms dealers — who have to broker any sale through a private-party transfer — to verify that the buyer and seller are both in law enforcement and can make the sale."

Via The San Diego Union Tribune:

California maintains a list of handguns that can be legally purchased by the public. But the law establishing that list also includes an exemption that allows some members of law enforcement — police officers and sheriff’s deputies, for example — to buy “off-roster” guns.

The Sierra Madre search came five months after Gov. Jerry Brown signed an Assembly bill that widely expanded the number of peace officers eligible to purchase weapons that are otherwise unavailable to the public.

The legislation, AB2165, specified sworn peace officers in 19 different agencies qualified for the off-roster exemption. It said that if they passed a three-day basic firearms training course they were covered under the exemption. One gun control advocate said the bill made tens of thousands of peace officers potentially eligible to buy off-roster weapons.

The legislation includes state peace officers in the Parks and Recreation Department, Alcoholic Beverage Control, Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of State Hospitals, and state university and community college systems. It also includes rangers with water districts, county welfare fraud investigators and probation officers.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, does tighten one part of the exemption: It limits the newly exempt officers to reselling the off-roster guns to other law enforcement members only.

That might not be all that it seems.

Brandon Combs, executive director of The Calguns Foundation, a group that advocates for gun owners and gun rights, said the law puts the onus on licensed firearms dealers — who have to broker any sale through a private-party transfer — to verify that the buyer and seller are both in law enforcement and can make the sale.

But Combs said there is no database or any other method available for dealers to verify that information.

“The state doesn’t give any mechanism for dealers to understand … are you subjected to this exemption, are you bound to this limitation,” he said.

So if a person on the latest list decided to break the rules and sell the weapon to someone who wasn’t in law enforcement, the buyer could simply claim to be an employee of one of the many groups that now has permission from the state to buy them — and there’s no way for the dealer to check.

Combs said some dealers, concerned they could lose their license or face criminal charges if they unwittingly facilitate an illegal sale, have resorted to obtaining signed declarations promising no laws are being broken from anyone who wants to transfer an off-roster gun.

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