Reference: CA OAL determination at http://www.scribd.com/doc/103439872/Cal-FFL-2012-OAL-Determination-re-DOJ-Corporation-AW-Permits CA-based firearms manufacturer Franklin Armory, Davis & Associates, Cal-FFL lead victory for firearms community.
MORGAN HILL, CA – In a significant decision for firearms manufacturers, dealers, and purchasers throughout California, the State of California’s Office of Administrative Law (OAL) determined that the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms’ prohibition against the issuance of “assault weapon” permits to corporations and other entities to be an unlawful “underground regulation.”
Jay Jacobson of Franklin Armory petitioned the Office of Administrative Law after being informed by the Bureau of Firearms that only “individuals” could apply for permits.
“As a California businessman, I strive to comply with all requirements of the law – and so must DOJ,” said Jacobson. “Companies in the firearms industry, like ours, often face a dilemma of whether to stand up and challenge the regulatory agency that holds licensing authority over them or just accept and submit to unlawful policies. We chose to act in favor of a final resolution and, thankfully, had the support of the firearms community and Cal-FFL.”
As reported by Cal-FFL in April, the DOJ had held steadfast by its opinion that only “individuals” are able to obtain permits to sell “assault weapons” or “.50 BMG Rifles”.
“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.”
However, the express text of Penal Code section 16970 states that “any entity” within the definition of “persons” may obtain such permits.
Franklin Armory argued that the DOJ policy conflicted with the express language of the Penal Code, which defines “person” for the purposes of the Assault Weapon Control Act as “an individual, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, association, or any other group or entity, regardless of how it was created.” In spite of the clear language of the Code, DOJ disagreed, arguing that the language does not permit corporations to obtain the requisite permits to manufacture and sell such firearms. OAL’s determination put the matter to rest.