Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sunday Stills~ The Letter F


Finance Building



Sunday, January 20, 2013

How to Buy a Gun in California

It isn't easy to purchase a gun in California, at least compared to other states like Idaho or Texas, but it can be done. Of course I have been listening and watching the current gun controversy with some interest. What my Hubby and I have found is that the regular 'Joe or Josephine' wanting to purchase their first gun for home defense really has little education on the actual HOW TO of doing such a thing. The information is on the ATF and DOJ websites, of course, but somehow it remains veiled in secrecy and myth.

 It isn't as if you can just go over to your neighbor's house and say " Hey Jack, I am going to buy my wifey a .357 Magnum for her birthday this year. Wadda ya think?"
The average household here in the Bay Area would do one of three things.
1. Look at you as if you were the Devil incarnate and then call their kids away from yours, never letting them step foot in your 'evil' household again...
2. Shake their heads in dismay and try to convert you away from the Evils of Firearm Ownership, spouting the knee jerk lines about Peace and Love and how the Police will take care of us in case of an Emergency and that no one really needs a gun any more and the Constitution is a really an antiquated document...
3. Or they will offer to introduce you to someone who can help you- and that is IF they really know you well...because Us Gun Fanatics are a sketchy and distrustful lot.

So if you have stumbled upon this blog by accident, and really have the intent to purchase a legal firearm, here is some good and true information for HANDGUN Purchases.

You get a license for getting married, for your dog, for fishing or hunting but you do not get a license for owning a gun.You get a Hand Gun Safety Certificate and your gun gets registered. Some people think that having a HSC is the same as having a CCP. It is not. Here in California the only Concealed Carry Permits are give by individual County Sheriffs, and in only a very few Counties. You have to have a valid reason for wanting one, and in the East Bay Area, you have to practically BE the Sheriff. More desolate and less populated Counties, like Lassen, Modoc,Empire and Kings will issue CCP's with a lot of rules attached.

Step one- apply for a Handgun Safety Certificate. You must have one to register a handgun.
To get your HSC, you will need to have ID, pass a fairly simple 30 question test and have the required $25-$35 dollars. The test is administered by an HSC Instructor or a Federal Firearms Dealer, the same place you must go to register your Handgun. You can generally walk into a Gun Store, pick out a handgun , take the test and purchase the gun all in about an hour. If you want to study for the test, ask the FFL or the HSC Instructor for a booklet, or go to the DOJ website and purchase the video. The test booklet is about $.50 and the video is about $5.00.
You will need two forms of valid ID that shows your current address- no PO boxes. One of them must be your California Drivers license or California ID card. The other can be a Phone, water, garbage bill or a car registration (preferred). It cannot be a cell phone bill, a Social Security card or a Passport.

When you purchase your gun, weather it is from your neighbor, the internet or from a Gun Store, you must register the handgun via a local Federal Firearms Licensee and go through a back ground check, which requires the FFL to run a NICS check. NICS is an abbreviation of National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The FFL will require you to fill out the ATF Form 4473. It has three pages of questions, and must be signed and dated by the person buying the handgun. If for any reason you cannot answer any of the questions, you will be denied the privilege of buying a handgun. Some reasons for being denied would be, Indictment for a Felony, a user or addicted to various drugs, adjudicated mentally defective or under a restraining order. There are a few others as well.
The FFL must make sure you are old enough to buy the handgun. The age you can purchase a handgun in California is 21 years.
The gun is run through the State Database to see if it was stolen or used in any criminal activity.
If there is ANY reason the FFL Dealer thinks you should not receive the firearm, he can stop the sale. Some reasons might be aggressiveness to staff, a strong smell of alcohol or grass or acting in anything but a civilized manner.

Then you must wait the required ten days to make sure you aren't buying a gun in the heat of passion planning to go out and shoot someone immediately.

After ten days, you will be required to sign the 4473 again, and date it. Your fingerprint will be taken as well as copies of your Drivers license and the other two forms of ID showing your address. You pay for your handgun and the FFL dealer will administer a Safety Test to make sure you understand how to safely load and handle the handgun. If there is any reason you fail this test, the sale will be stopped. You sign a certificate saying you have gone through the test and understand how to use the gun safely.
The buyer must also purchase a lock, or provide proof that they own a lock box or safe. A receipt will do. The buyer must sign a form to this effect.

This whole packet, consisting of all of this paperwork, is stapled together and kept in the FFLs files for at least five years. A Handgun buyer can only purchase one new handgun from a dealer a month, one every thirty days. A buyer can purchase more than one a month from a private party, but the process of registering the gun remains the same and must be adhered to each time a firearm is purchased. To purchase from a private party, the buyer and seller of the handgun must both go to the FFLs store to transfer the handgun and both parties must have ID, although the seller need not have all the other forms of ID or sign any of the required forms except the transfer form.

So- with all of this Government paperwork- it is already a wonder than anyone in California has the fortitude to continue to purchase handguns: But we do!

A few more tips for a new or first time gun purchaser~
Find a good Instructor BEFORE you go to purchase a Handgun. There are more than a few Gun Stores that will sell you the newest and 'hottest' firearm, and it might NOT be the right fit for you. A good instructor will allow you to take a lesson on a few different kinds of firearms so you can see what fits your hand, how much recoil you can handle, etc.

If you are purchasing a gun over the Internet, check the ATF or DOJ websites to make sure that the gun you want is legal to own in California. There is a List and the gun must be on the List to be able to be registered. If the gun is illegal to own, the FFL dealer will ship it back to the seller and will not register the gun. The List changes all of the time, so you should check every time you purchase a handgun.What is not on the List today, may be on the List tomorrow. You must have any out of state gun sent to an FFL for registration, you cannot have it sent to your home.

First timers- stay away from the Glock. They are great firearms, but for someone that hasn't handled a handgun much it can be a bit much. I suggest a short barreled revolver. It is easy to load,clean and aim.As your confidence improves you can decide weather the Glock is the right weapon for your home defense.

Listen to your Rangemaster. They don't make the rules up just for shits and giggles!  The rules are in place so everyone stays safe and can continue to enjoy the Range.

Of course everyone wanting to buy a handgun should take the responsibility of learning these rules for themselves.These are just a few tips and guidelines to help you on your journey.

 An educated public is a powerful public!

Happy Shooting!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Rest of the Adventure

Fourteen days into 2013.
There have been no deaths, accidents, trauma or major explosions. Whew! That is some kind of record for me! Seems like the New Year always brings me New Problems.

But this year I have sent Remington to Trainer Jaq for a few months. I miss him, but it is a good thing mostly because it had been raining, now it's super cold. Plus he's a youngster and Trainer Jaq will really ride him more than the three days a week I had been able to ride- preparing him for the upcoming Horse Show season.

Trainer Jaq even said I did a good job with him this summer- High Praise!

So here I am with all this time on my hands. I'm working at the Auction as much as they will let me, and I have been hiking around the hills to burn off excess energy and keep my legs strong.

Here are a few of the photos I've been able to take with the new camera.


This is Mt Diablo. The peak is one of the places that all of California maps are measured by. It is by far the tallest thing around here about 5000 feet or so. Martinez, my home town, can be seen between the cow and the mountain and is at Sea Level. What you can't see is the Carquinez Strait that flows at the bottom of this hill I'm standing upon. 

Eckley Pier on the Carquinez Straits
The town on the other side of the Strait is Benicia. It was once the Capitol of California, just before the Capitol was declared in Sacramento. This is a great view of the Strait looking East. This is also the place where the Ferry Boats came to dock, carrying trains and even before that, the Pony Express Riders when they missed the boat from Sacramento to San Francisco. It is the narrowest piece of water and in one place is about a mile across. But the current flows fast through here, so it is not a good idea to try to swim it. This day the water was flat and calm- a rare thing.

Port Costa and the Carquinez Straits
Another view of Benicia and Vallejo on the opposite ( or Contra) Coast. In the foreground is the small and obscure town of Port Costa- once the biggest Wheat shipping port on the West Coast. The docks used to go out to where the first line of dark water shows. Those are the remains of the pilings ( and can still be seen quite clearly when you are standing on the coast). Site of Murials Famous Doll Museum (now closed).

Red Tailed Hawk

Finance Building in Martinez
Martinez is the County Seat for Contra Costa. This is our beautiful granite Finance Building. Our Court House is right next door. It was once in a movie starring Jeff Bridges (Tucker). During a weekday this street is full of people and cars- but on Sunday afternoons it belongs to me.

The Marina in Martinez

Martinez was a big fishing village for many years, and the Marina still houses a few boats. Joe Dimaggio and his family used to have fishing boats that were berthed here.


Canadas' in Alhambra Creek

New Years Day playing in the water of the Straits

Love Note in Martinez

We have a large population of homeless people here in town. Mostly because the county hospital and the jail are here. This sad love note must be from one of them to another. How many people have walked past this and not stopped to read it I wonder? 

I'm still in the process of learning about how to take better pictures with this camera but it is a labor of love. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Stills- Barns

I received a beautiful new camera for Christmas and so now I am in the process of learning how it functions. It is the same make as my last camera, but of course this one has a lot more bells and whistles. Sheesh~ It's like my phone- smarter than I am! So if the photos look too over processed or grainy it is because I am still in the process of learning how it should be set.

These were some of yesterdays Photo Adventures.

 There is a lot of 'wild land' around the San Francisco Bay area. But though the land will support cattle or horses, most of the barns have been pulled down.What few historic and photogenic barns are left are off of the main highways and byways.  The challenge for Sunday Stills required some amount of driving and some degree of stealth and a long telephoto lens. Here in California you are likely to be shot at if you trespass on private property!

Rusty lock
This little barn was one that is on private property, but the road goes completely through the property, dividing it into two pieces. I remember there had been a larger barn once upon a time, right behind this one, but it was rubble now.
Small barn

Large Red Barn
This barn is just off the same road, but owned by a different family. I've always liked the way this barn has been sided, the planks set on a diagonal. 
Brick Yard Barn
There was once a Brick Factory on the Straits of of the Carquinez. This is all that is left of that operation. The East Bay Regional Parks have taken over the land, and may have some plan for this old barn. For now it is abandoned at the end of a long and winding road. 

I did manage to get some better shots of the Straits~ but I'll post those on a different day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What is old is new...again...

" Today is the first day of the rest of your life."

When I was a youngster, this quote was printed on posters and sold in places like 'Spencer's Gifts". I had a copy thumb tacked to the back of my bedroom door. I saw that quote every day for years and for years I woke up and said to my self; " This is the first day."
Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Yep. I still think about that quote.
Today the sun was shining.
Today I took a long walk around the town I have lived in all of my life. I hadn't done that in awhile.
Today one friend went with me. We laughed and talked and reconnected
Today we talked to people we didn't know. We said Hi to homeowners on their front porches, people working on their houses, in their gardens and walking down the street. We met strangers with smiles.
Today we sat on her front porch and watched the sun set for the first time in 2013.
Today we made plans for our futures.
Today we made resolutions that we intend to keep.
Today was the first day of the rest of our lives.