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OAL accepts petition challenging DOJ

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, and Madera, CA (April 20, 2012) – In an important step forward for gun dealers across the state, the California Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) has accepted a petition from Cal-FFL member Franklin Armory, filed by the law firm of Davis & Associates, which alleges that the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) is unlawfully enforcing an “underground regulation” regarding the issuance of permits to sell common firearms that are in high demand.

“If a state agency issues, enforces, or attempts to enforce a rule without following the [Administrative Procedures Act], the rule is called an ‘underground regulation.’ State agencies are prohibited from enforcing underground regulations,” notes the OAL on its website. The specific alleged underground regulation prohibits corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities from obtaining the necessary permits to sell “assault weapon” or “.50 BMG Rifles.”

“We filed the petition instead of a lawsuit to resolve this matter in the most amicable manner possible,” said Jay Jacobson of Franklin Armory.  “The burden that the DOJ’s interpretation places on legitimate firearm businesses seeking to supply law enforcement and other lawful purchasers such firearms is too great to bear and contradicts the express intent of the legislature."

The DOJ has opined that only “individuals” are able to obtain permits to sell “assault weapons” or “.50 BMG Rifles”. However, the express text of Penal Code section 16970 states that “any entity” within the definition of “persons” may obtain such permits. Under the DOJ’s currently-enforced rules, a corporation or other entity is obligated to have each and every employee or agent working on or with “assault weapons” or “.50 BMG rifles” to obtain the costly permits that can take a year or more to obtain. Not only do the rules impact manufacturers and dealers with significant additional costs and delays from the outset, but businesses are also required to have any new or replacement employees undergo the same costly and time consuming permitting process.

“We have cleared the first hurdle - the California Office of Administrative Law accepted Franklin Armory’s petition challenging the DOJ ‘assault weapon’ policy,” said attorney Jason Davis. “We believe that the law is clear and that we will obtain a favorable decision for legitimate California firearm related businesses.”

“We are fully supportive of this petition and applaud Mr. Jacobson’s approach to this significant firearms industry issue,” said Cal-FFL president Brandon Combs. “Our members are often placed in the difficult position of having to decide whether and how to challenge a governmental agency that has the power to close their doors or deny discretionary business permits. Cal-FFL exists to provide the tools, information, and support firearms business owners need to make those decisions – and help them take the agency to court for remedy, if necessary.”

Cal-FFL will be filing a letter with the Office of Administrative Law on behalf of its members.


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