My New Rifle

For 2019, California has outlawed the use of lead ammunition for all hunting. Apparently, the deer hunters in the mountains of Northern California were spraying so much lead around the hillsides that it was poisoning the condors in Santa Cruz.

Well, hell, I realized that I had better break down and buy some of the new, hyper-expensive non-lead ammo, if I was going to hunt this year, so I went into Sportsman’s Warehouse to buy some. Before they could sell me any, they had to do a background check. Should be no problem; I have been hunting in California for over 50 years, have valid ID and no criminal history. Hah! I did not pass the background check! Apparently, I was not in this particular system.

Time to do a little research. It turns out there is an administrative procedure to get into the system, but most sources say it doesn’t work. Confusing, time-consuming and unreliable. The only practical way to get into the system is to buy a gun!

After thinking this over for awhile, I realized this was OK with me. The deer rifle I have been using weighs almost 11 pounds, and wears me out just lugging it around. So I went into Olde West and found a nice light Ruger American in 30.06. I think I will enjoy hunting with it.

I am one of the lucky ones, with enough computer savvy to do the research, and enough money to buy a new gun and the ridiculously expensive ammunition now required. Too bad for the poor country folk who just want to go hunting! California is making it harder and harder for us, every year. We are not criminals, but we are being punished by an increasingly complex and confusing legal system. You almost have to have a law degree to go hunting, these days.
So, please do not tell me these laws are not aimed at the honest gun owners. And don’t try to convince me, or any other California hunter, that what we need is more gun laws!

I wrote the above as a Facebook blurb, in consternation over the ridiculous state of affairs in California, but I did not expect the massive response from other gun owners, nor the numbers of “Shares” it engendered. It seems that I am not alone in my anger over this.

The thing that struck me hardest, is the great number of truly upstanding citizens, mostly rural, who have failed the background check. These people include mill workers, loggers, teachers, CalTrans workers, housewives, and retired military personnel. Many of them I know personally, and I personally guarantee that they are not criminals, nor mentally unstable.

Perhaps just as odious is the fact that rural stores are being run out of the ammunition business by the Byzantine complexity of the laws. Ernie’s Dept. Store in Hayfork is one example. For many years they supplied local hunters and target-shooters with ammunition, but they have given up on it because of the administrative headaches involved. Hayforkers now have to go into Redding, only to find out that they do not pass the background check.

In large part, this is an urban-versus-rural issue. The fact is that rural people are virtually disenfranchised in this state. The Supreme Court, under Earl Warren, made sure of that in 1969, by eliminating area representation in state legislatures. We are now reaping the results of that decision; tyranny of the majority is now the status quo.

The urban liberals who control California politics are fond of saying that these gun laws are not intended to harass hunters, nor to deny the right to keep and bear arms to honest citizens. They should stop saying this. It is now plain that this is, indeed, the result of the gun law mess they have created, whether intended or not.

The NRA has been telling us for years that this is the left-wing plan to disarm the nation, and do away with the Second Amendment, a little at a time. I left the NRA awhile ago, because of their increasingly strident right-wing ravings, but it appears that they have been right about this all along. I may have to re-join. I really hate to do this, as I am a fairly liberal person on many issues, including health care and civil rights, but I am a country boy, and this hits me personally. I am throwing in my lot with the right wing, even though I hate a lot of their rhetoric and policies. I wonder whether the Democratic party may not be shooting itself in the foot, so to speak, by alienating the gun owners and rural people across the nation.

The cause célèbre in the media is “assault rifles.” The last media blitz was for background check laws. We can see how that is working out.

So here’s the deal;

Give us hunters back our lead bullets. They are more accurate and more effective on game, besides being less expensive. The lead ammo ban is based on fraudulent science, plain and simple. No one who drives a car can claim that a few rifle bullets in the mountains are a significant source of pollution.

Then fix the background-check mess. Honest citizens should not have to jump through hoops to buy ammunition for our guns. This is just wrong.

Do this, and then we can talk about how many bullets a clip should hold, and what an assault weapon really is. Until then, do not be surprised at the bitter resistance you get from honest gun owners.

James Montgomery

James Montgomery calls himself a broken-down logger/garbageman who went back to school, got a law degree, and worked as a nonprofit administrator, before retiring. His interests include hiking, fishing, computers, kayaking, hunting and writing. He is now serving as president of the board of directors of Empire Recovery Center.

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