The average Californian who wants to own a firearm especially a handgun has to deal with a whole host of rules and regulations that are enough to make your head swim. Now, in what can only be termed schadenfreude, so too must Federal law enforcement officers stationed in the state of California.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris, deemed by Obama to be “the best looking attorney general in the country”, has changed the policy of the Department of Justice that previously exempted Federal law enforcement officers from Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale. She determined California law had not carved out an exemption for them.
California gun law attorney Chuck Michel has this to say about the issue:
California citizens are just as frustrated as federal law enforcement officers with the situation. When the roster of available pistols they can purchase dwindles down to a limited few – because manufacturers are refusing to implement “microstamping” – federal law enforcement’s objections will grow louder. And if pending legislation (SB 293) concerning “smart guns” passes and is signed by the Governor, federal law enforcement will also be forced to choose from an even more limited number of models … just like civilians.
Forgive us mere civilians if we aren’t completely sympathetic to the plight of the feds.
The Feds predicament stems from a recent (and correct) change in the Attorney General’s interpretation of existing California law. While California law restricts the sale of “unsafe handguns” by dealers, there are some exceptions to the restriction. The exception used by most law enforcement agencies and officers, and the one used until recently by federal law enforcement officers, was the following:
The sale or purchase of any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, if the pistol, revolver, or other firearm is sold to, or purchased by, the Department of Justice, any police department, any sheriff’s official, any marshal’s office, the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency, the California Highway Patrol, any district attorney’s office, or the military or naval forces of this state or of the United States for use in the discharge of their official duties. Nor shall anything in this section prohibit the sale to, or purchase by, sworn members of these agencies of any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
Pen. Code, § 32000(b)(4)
You might notice, as did the California’s Attorney General, that federal law enforcement officers are not mentioned in this exception! The “Department of Justice” referred to in this section is the California Department of Justice, not a federal agency. So the AG’s analysis is correct: federal law enforcement is not exempt from the “unsafe handgun” restriction.
He has much more on the issue here.