California Single-Shot Pistol Loophole Closed

California Single-Shot Pistol Loophole Closed

tracy-rifle-1114When anti-gunners use the word "loophole," they are generally referring to some morsel of our rights they haven't yet gobbled up. That is not to say that loopholes are like unicorns and just don't exist: they exist wherever resourceful manufacturers, dealers and gun owners can find them in boneheaded anti-gun legislation.


When you think of boneheaded legislation, you need think no further than California, which specializes in it. The land of fruits and nuts maintains a handgun roster of sidearms deemed suitable for its populace. It costs about $100,000 to get a pistol listed on the roster, and virtually any change to it requires recertification at the same price. Not surprisingly, manufacturers have come to the conclusion that it makes little sense to certify any but the largest-selling models, which means Californians will eventually be deprived of all but the most prosaic pistols, which surely was the intent of those who wrote the law.

Those legislators were smart, but not enough to outsmart California dealers, who noticed that the law didn't apply to single-shots. By installing a dummy magazine dubbed a "loading platform" and a long barrel, a dealer could sell an otherwise verboten pistol to a customer who could then acquire a functioning magazine and proper barrel to restore the gun to the configuration enjoyed in the other 49 states.


The combination of getting the gun you really want while tweaking the noses of the antis was irresistible to many California gunners, and enough "single-shots" were sold to attract the attention of the authorities, who slammed the door on sales as of Jan. 1.


There is no law they can propose that we can't eventually find a way around, and that has been the case for years. A century ago, central European governments tried to outlaw .25 cal. pocket autoloaders. The result? Pocket pistols with 6-inch barrels. I don't know if they were marked with a ring saying "cut here," but they may as well have been.

My old boss Pete Dickey was importing revolvers from Brazil when the 1968 Gun Control Act went into effect. The 2-inch barreled gun didn't score enough import points to cross the border. The solution? Make a 3-inch gun with a triangular front sight and lead-lined grip panels. Once it was safely inside the country, replace the grips with regular wood and cut the barrel down to 2 inches. The heavy grips were returned to Brazil for installation on the next lot to be sent.

The minute the antis propose any sort of restriction, creative minds go to work on how to circumvent it. And it will always be that way. So as we bid a fond farewell to the faux single-shot, let's keep thinking of new ways to give California legislators a richly-deserved finger.

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