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Dear Firearms Industry, Let's End Gun Sales to California Government!

After failing to enact any national gun control laws for two and a half decades, the anti-gun lobby changed their tactics, and started focusing on passing legislation in blue states. We in Washington have been on the receiving end of these efforts, with I1639, I1491, and I594 being pushed through local initiative process in quick succession. But gun owners also suffered in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and countless other places.

Normal, usual debate about legislation is no longer happening. Instead, people vote on party lines - the number of votes for I1639 for example almost exactly matched the votes for a Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell in all counties, both rural and urban. This means that rural Democrats voted for this law, and urban Republicans voted against it. This is a new development. Gun control used to be an urban-rural issue, but now it is strictly partisan.

A few gun stores - including ourselves - distributed leaflets and signs, and funded Facebook ad campaigns, but other than that, there was almost complete radio silence. Democratic leaders simply told their voters to vote certain way, and there was not enough Republican voters to counter at the polls. So now Ruger 10/22 is legally an assault rifle in Washington State.

So what do we do in an environment where media simply repeats whatever lies politicians are saying, or not saying anything at all? Establishing truth, changing minds does not seem either possible or relevant. Do we simply accept that gun rights are gone in half of the country dominated by Democratic Party? Judging from complete lack of engagement, this seems to be the position NRA is taking.

There is, however, a lever that we, the gun industry, can pull in defense of gun rights. Political "leaders" themselves do use guns. Billionaires who finance anti-gun campaigns do use guns. Anti-gun electorate who vote for anti-gun laws do use guns. They simply delegate the direct control of these guns to their body guards and their police officers, but they certainly are very reliant on guns for their own protection, just like anyone else.

What if we, the industry, were to simply stop selling to them, or restricted firearms available to their security apparata to whatever is available to a regular common citizen?

"Assault weapons belong on a battlefield, not on American streets", you say? Splendid. Your police force nor your bodyguards are operating on a battlefield, so... only bolt action rifles for them, then. No AR-15s for your SWAT teams, and nor NFA-restricted machineguns for your personal security detail, either. No "high capacity" magazines. Let Gavin Newsom go to his political fundraisers protected by what he thinks common citizens of California should use for self-defense, and I promise you, his anti-gun rhetoric will moderate quickly.

The two question you probably have by now are, is this financially feasible, and is this enforceable. The answer is an easy yes on both counts.

Law enforcement firearms market is tiny compared to the civilian market. For example, Seattle PD has 1300 police officers, not all of them are on patrol duty. They replace guns once every several years (many years, judging from condition of surplus firearms that are returned to the distributor). And when they do, they sell used guns to the distributor in exchange for new ones, which they get with a steep military and police discounts.

Selling for cheap to law enforocement and military and making bank on civilian market sales is a well known strategy that Glock has been using for years. They use visibility created by police officers sporting their goods to enhance their brand.

The profitability of police sales per transaction is questionable, and the number of these transactions per year is small. Our little gun store easily sells an order of magnitude more guns to citizens of Seattle than Seattle PD buys from all sources. Firearms industry can certainly afford losing law enforcement market to protect their civilian sales.

Enforcing this policy is trickier, but also possible.

Large organizations don't just buy guns - they buy maintenance contracts. If Glock, for example, were to decide stopping sales to California law enforcement organizations as a matter of policy, they could simply stop honoring warranty requests resulting from rogue sales by individual dealers, leaving all out-of-policy sales unsupported. Access to parts and warranty services is essential to any arsenal.

Also, while there is a large number of gun dealers in the US, there are very few distributors. Distributors today enforce minimum advertising prices for manufacturers - a dealer who is running afoul of Glock MAP can find itself cut off by all distributors in the country if Glock decides to take action. Very similar controls could be used to ensure either none at all, or only compliant sales to law enforcement and security agencies in anti-gun states.

There are even fewer manufacturers who would be the policy makers here. If you wanted to drop them a line in support of this idea, here is the list.

These 12 companies cover 90% of all firearms sales, and close to 100% of all law enforcement sales in the country. If these 12 were to agree, we would be on our way to restore gun rights in half of the country. People need to understand that they need their rights, and this is one way to show them.