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Thread: Cal Knife Laws

  1. #1
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    Hi everyone, great website

    I wanted to ask if its legal to carry Open in CA or Conceal carry in CA?

    what kind of knife is legal only? fixed blade or folding Blades? Any Size?

    Thanks for your help

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    The state prohibits concealed fixed blade knives (includes opened folders)in PC 12020 and all switchblades (over 2")in PC 653k. But many cities and counties further prohibit the open carrying of knives or restrict the length even of folders.

    So check out the codes for the jurisdictions you'll be in.

    From The High Road.US http://www.thehighroad.us/library/blades/knifelaws.html
    12020(a), 653k;See Jim March's Excellent CA knife law summary and the CA county ordinances in the "local ordinances" link just above this table. For instance, L.A. bans open carry of 3"+ knives (with vague "lawful recreation" exception); Oakland bans 3"+ knives completely. A much despised case, People ex rel. Mautner v Quattrone 211 Cal.App.3d 1389 (1989), held that butterfly knives are covered by CA's switchblade prohibition. People v Rosalio S. 41 Cal Rptr.2d 534 deals with a leatherman and the 2.5" school limit, finding the leatherman illegal because blades are legally measured from tip to handle, not just along the sharpened edge.



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    For example of how wildly jurisdictions may vary...

    Turlock, CA has no ordinances (at least that I could find) prohibiting any sort of knife. In Turlock, you can carry any size folding knife concealed or openly. You can carry any fixed blade knife openly. (Under CA law, swords are considered a 'dirk or dagger' - so technically you could carry your katana around town, though local LE would probably put you through the wringer.)

    Modesto, CA (just a "stone's throw" from Turlock) - city ordinance bans carrying of all 'dangerous weapons' with an exception for sporting (so you can carry your baseball bat to/from the game) and work tools (when not at work or en route to/from work that hammer in your toolbox is a misdemeanor). This statute specifically identifies any blade (fixed or folder) over 2.5".

    counties may have their own ordinances, too, so check that out before traveling between cities.
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    CA_Libertarian wrote:
    Modesto, CA (just a "stone's throw" from Turlock) - city ordinance bans carrying of all 'dangerous weapons' with an exception for sporting (so you can carry your baseball bat to/from the game) and work tools (when not at work or en route to/from work that hammer in your toolbox is a misdemeanor). This statute specifically identifies any blade (fixed or folder) over 2.5".
    Wow. I've always carried a 4 inch bladed folder everywhere and never thought about it. I guess I better do some more homework before I go anywhere.





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    Don't forget to check your County codes too. On a good side note, I've never known any cop to enforce these knife laws UNLESS it is being used toarrest/ticket an individual over other non-prohibitied but suspect activities - OCers may qualify for that in some cops minds.

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    HI All !

    Yeah heres a real good site by the same guy Jim March, kind of an update 2002.

    http://www.ninehundred.com/~equalccw/knifelaw.html

    Cato is right about checking the area your in like LA & Oakland ETC.

    However most places are legal, for a " Pocket knife with thumbstud, or hole, and a Detent, and theres no blade length limit, other then K-12 no blade over 2.5 inches is legal other then work related like kitchen food preperation.

    Colleges theres a ban on FIXED BLADES bigger then 2.5 inches, but no problem with large folding knifes, that are not switchblades.

    Swithblades are illegal, over 2 " long. PC 653k.

    A folding knife is not prohibited by section 653k.

    The key to a Pocket Knife isits carried concealed while folded, Its not"Readily Available" and therefore dosen't meet the "dirk and dagger deffination" need to be open-carry.

    A "detent is a bias towards closure". The little suck or snaping closed, it don't need to be much.

    Anyway those who want to know the knife laws, the above site is real good for California knife laws.

    Robin47

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    Hello,

    In Re Angel R. (2008) 163 Cal. App. 4th 905 now defines any folding knife, which can be opened with a "flick" of the wrist as a switch blade.

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    HI Smac 1,

    Yeah that might be true , however a knife with a "detent" which is Bio's, can't be opened with a flick of the wrist. it must be opened with the thumbstud to get past the Bio's which is the Detent.

    Cal state Senator Betty Karnette of the 27th district in 2002 wrote SB 274 which clarifies 653k the switchblade rule, and as long as a knife has a Detent, and a thumb-stud, Its legal in California. Also "Spring Assist Knifes" are also Legal in Cal.

    A knife that can be flicked open with the wrist, don't have a "Detent" on it otherwise it couldn't be opened with a flick of the wrist. Those type of knifes have always been Illegal in Cal.

    http://www.ninehundred.com/~equalccw/knifelaw.html

    Robin47

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    smac1 wrote:
    Hello,

    In Re Angel R. (2008) 163 Cal. App. 4th 905 now defines any folding knife, which can be opened with a "flick" of the wrist as a switch blade.
    I will have to read this when I have time after work. Taken for what you posted here this ruling doesn't pass the smell test. This ruling would effectively ban about 99% of the knives in the state.

    I have yet to find a single folding knife that I couldn't open with the flick of the wrist. My wife can't do this with most of my knives, but I can. So, who's 'flick of the wrist' does the court consider? Will they get someone like me, who has a knack for flicking knives open, as a witness for prosecuting cases against people like my wife, who can't flick open even the easiest of my knife collection?
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    HI CA_libertairian,

    You said:


    I will have to read this when I have time after work. Taken for what you posted here this ruling doesn't pass the smell test. This ruling would effectively ban about 99% of the knives in the state.

    I have yet to find a single folding knife that I couldn't open with the flick of the wrist. My wife can't do this with most of my knives, but I can. So, who's 'flick of the wrist' does the court consider? Will they get someone like me, who has a knack for flicking knives open, as a witness for prosecuting cases against people like my wife, who can't flick open even the easiest of my knife collection?


    Yes if you hold the blade and flick the handle open, it "might" open that way. However I think they are talking about just using the handle and flicking the blade open. I can bet you will wear your hand and wrist out before you could open mine.I also collect knifes have sence I was a kid. I got a "Wal-Mart" Ozark Trail, pocket knife and its got a thumb stud to use on bothsides, for right or left handed people, or either hand. Its made in china for the Ozark company, but it does keep a good edge. What I like is the good locking part, making is safe to use and it does open fast enough.

    Yes I agree that ruling don't pass the smell test, and I don't think it rules out the one who wrote the intention of the legislators, for legal pocket knifes in Cal, in 2002.

    SB 274 Took effect at that time. Also "Spring Assist knifes" are also legal even though one might be able to flick it open with a "Strong Thumb" pressure or the flick of the thumb. Going to have to work on my "Thumb Push-ups" I guess !

    LOL !!! To CA-Lib ! Robin47



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    As it stands right now, you can be arrested and successfully prosecuted under PC 653k for a folding knife which can be opened with a flick of the wrist.

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    Knives that open with a "flick" of the wrist have not always been illegal in California.

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    Yeah Smac 1, your right there most guns were legal also till 1934.

    At anyrate, I only know of one knife that you could flick open with just the fast swinging of your wrist, I was made in china, and you didn't really need the thumbstud that cames with it.

    However most all don't just "Flick open" but do require the use of the thumb to be opened at least a little.

    Have you heard of the "Spring Assist " knifes ? They are legal and open faster then just a knife with a stud on it , however the Spring Assist knife you could with a strong thumb flick it open.

    Now the definision of a switchblade is one thats all automatic, with just the push of a button. Fully spring loaded.

    BIG 'IF' all onehand opening knifes were made Illegal then no one would be able to carry any knife, other then the old two hand opening type.

    That in effect would "outlaw" all parametics ,hunters, LEO's, and firefighters, and many others also. Also any knife "Could" be opened IF like by buck #501 (squire) if you hold it by the blade then squiz it and then flip it with your wrist and it will come open, however thats not a fast way to open it or a safe way either.

    Besides the "Idea" of a pocket knife makes it (NOT "Readily available" ) and that makes it legal to PC 12020 This covers street carry knifes. Folding knifes that are not prohibited by Section 653k. are legal.

    Can you show me a case where a folding knife with a thumbstud & detent has been prosecuted as a "Flick of the wrist type knife" ?

    Even if you could, that would be like saying"Jeeguns kill people, therefore all guns are illegal". Which of course is balony !

    When people fear, or make illegal laws of objects, then we all lose.

    Robin47



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    I just did provide you with the current case law. Case law governs these things as they govern search and seizure, etc. It does not matter what you think, it matters what the courts rule. You may not agree with it, but it is what it is, don't kill the messenger; (a COP and a third year law student) we just had a huge discussion in class about this. With this new ruling, any folding knife that can be opened with a "flick" of the wrist can be classified as a switchblade. You and I may not agree with it, but that is how it is now.



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    HI Smac 1,

    Yeah Im not berating you, or trying to kill the messanger either.

    As stated in RE:Angel R. (2008)163 cal.app.4th 905.

    How would I look this up ? And I'll research it out .

    Can you direct me to find this case law ? Much appreciated !:?

    Robin47

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    From Findlaw:

    In re Angel R. (2008) , Cal.App.4th [No. G039120. Fourth Dist., Div. Three. Jun. 5, 2008.] In re ANGEL R., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law.
    THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. ANGEL R., Defendant and Appellant.
    (Superior Court of Orange County, No. DL027581, Ronald P. Kreber, Judge.)
    (Opinion by Sills, P. J., with O'Leary, J., and Moore, J., concurring.)
    COUNSEL
    Kurt David Hermansen, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.
    Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Attorney General, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Gary W. Schons, Assistant Attorney General, Rhonda Cartwright-Ladendorf and Deborah La Touche, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent. {Slip Opn. Page 2}
    OPINION
    SILLS, P. J.-
    Angel R. appeals from the order of the juvenile court finding him a ward of the court and placing him on probation after sustaining a petition charging him with possessing a switchblade knife, graffiti tools and less than an ounce of marijuana. (See Pen. Code, §§ 594.2, subd. (a), 653k; Health & Saf. Code, § 11357, subd. (b).) Although Angel brought a motion to suppress evidence, it was not pursued by newly appointed counsel before its hearing, an omission which Angel now characterizes as ineffective assistance of counsel. He also attacks the sufficiency of evidence to support the misdemeanor offenses of switchblade possession and graffiti tools. We affirm.
    FACTS
    In response to a citizen's complaint of four suspicious males displaying gang signs at an intersection, Anaheim Police Officers Salcido and Coursey proceeded to the nearby Palm Lane Park and found Angel in the company of three other young males. Salcido approached them and immediately noticed that Angel had bloodshot eyes and smelled of marijuana. When asked, Angel informed Salcido that he had some "weed" in his pocket. Salcido asked for, and received Angel's consent to search his person: The result was the discovery of a baggie of marijuana, an orange fluorescent marker and a pocketknife.
    Salcido arrested Angel and took him to the police station without giving him Miranda advice. fn. 1 As the two entered the building, Salcido cautioned Angel that if he was carrying any other contraband, he would be charged with bringing contraband into the police station. fn. 2 Angel immediately replied, "It's in my shoe[,]" kicking off his left one. Inside, adhesive stickers with graffiti-style lettering and the initial of a "tagging crew" were found.
    Expert testimony from a knife maker, Ronald Clark, established that the pocketknife was a "liner lock" knife: a folding knife that locks when opened. As {Slip Opn. Page 3} originally designed and manufactured, a hole in the back of the blade prevented the knife from opening without specific pressure exerted on the opening button. However, the knife had been either intentionally modified or accidentally damaged so that the resistance mechanism did not function, which means this knife opens with a flick of the wrist. Nonetheless, the expert opined that this knife still did not meet the legal definition of a switchblade because it had been manufactured with a resistance mechanism, although the juvenile court concluded otherwise because of its present ability to open and lock with a mere flick of the wrist.


    ...(ommitted section discussing innefective council)...



    B. Sufficiency of Evidence for Switchblade
    Angel contends the evidence is insufficient to sustain the court's finding he possessed a switchblade as that is defined under section 653k of the Penal Code. fn. 4 He requested that we physically examine the switchblade itself, which we subsequently received as a trial exhibit. {Slip Opn. Page 6}
    Section 653k proscribes the possession of "a switchblade knife having a blade two or more inches in length . . . ." It then defines a switchblade knife as "having the appearance of a pocketknife and includes a . . . snap-blade knife, gravity knife or any other similar type knife, the blade or blades of which are two or more inches in length and which can be released automatically by a flick of a button, pressure on the handle, flip of the wrist . . . or is released by the weight of the blade . . . . [However, it] does not include a knife that opens with one hand utilizing thumb pressure applied solely to the blade of the knife . . . provided that the knife has a detent or other mechanism that provides resistance that must be overcome in opening the blade, or that biases the blade back toward its closed position." (Italics added.) Angel argues that his knife "falls into the area of overlap between the definition and the exemption: It is a folding knife with a detent mechanism providing resistance to opening the blade, but the resistance is slight and therefore the knife can be opened with a strong flip of the wrist."
    The standard of review is well established: We "must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the judgment and presume in favor of the judgment the existence of every fact the trier of fact could reasonably deduce from the evidence. To be sufficient, evidence of each of the essential elements of the crime must be substantial and we must resolve the question of sufficiency in light of the record as a whole.' [Citation.]" (People v. Carpenter (1997) 15 Cal.4th 312, 387.) Angel acknowledges this rule but argues that it is the lower court's interpretation of the statute that is in question--and refers us to People v. Goldberg (2003) 105 Cal.App.4th 1202, at page 1206--thus permitting us to review the entire issue de novo.
    The language of the statute is clear and unambiguous; nothing in the record indicates the lower court was confused, misled, or unclear as to the terms or language of the statute. When the language of a specific statute has "'no ambiguity, then we presume the lawmakers meant what they said, and the plain meaning of the language governs.' [Citation.]" (Allen v. Sully-Miller Contracting Co. (2002) 28 Cal.4th 222, 227.) By {Slip Opn. Page 7} analogy, when the language of the statute is clear, we do not review a factual finding under it de novo.
    The lower court specifically found, as the trier of fact, that the knife opened if held "upside down with the blade facing the floor and you just drop your hand[.]" The court noted that it was "not pressing anything . . . The mechanism has been modified or worn out where the handle of the knife that covered that portion of the detent or the item that gave resistance to the blade from being opened is just not functioning. And so it does open up with just a flick of the wrist, and it does go into a locking position when the blade is opened." (Italics added.) The court accepted the expert's "credentials and experience, but I do think the broken part of the handle on this knife has altered the knife[,]" fn. 5 a point specifically rejected by the expert who emphasized that this knife was designed and manufactured with a detent. Therefore, in the expert's opinion, even if it had been intentionally altered to eliminate the resistance mechanism, it would never constitute a switchblade.
    Angel maintains that, based on comments provided by the author of the amendment to the statute, even if the blade can be opened easily with but one hand, it does not constitute a switchblade as long as some resistance is provided by the detent mechanism, no matter how slight. However, the language of the statute is not ambiguous or subject to multiple interpretations. Therefore, an examination of the legislative history is unnecessary. (Allen v. Sully-Miller Contracting Co., supra, 28 Cal.4th at 227.) Moreover, for the amendment exemption to apply, the knife must be one that "opens with one hand utilizing thumb pressure applied solely to the blade of the knife or a thumb stud attached to the blade" and has the detent or resistance mechanism. The knife in question was not of that type: It opened by merely a flick of the wrist, not with pressure on the {Slip Opn. Page 8} blade or thumb stud. Thus, the author's statements are irrelevant in attacking the court's finding under this statute.
    The finding is sustained.
    ... (ommitted sections on graffitti tools)...

    O'Leary, J., and Moore, J., concurred.
    *FN 1. See Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436.
    *FN 2. See Penal Code sections 4573.8, 4573.9 and 4574.
    *FN 3. The "doctrine of 'inevitable discovery[]' . . . [pivots on the fact that] 'there is no nexus to the illegality sufficient to provide a taint.' [Citation.]" (Green v. Superior Court (1985) 40 Cal.3d 126, 136-137, citing Nix v. Williams (1984) 467 U.S. 431, 390.) "[T]he doctrine 'is in reality an extrapolation from the independent source doctrine: Since the tainted evidence would be admissible if in fact discovered through an independent source, it should be admissible if it inevitably would have been discovered.'" (People v.Robles (2000) 23 Cal.4th 789, 800.)
    *FN 4. All further statutory references are to the Penal Code.
    *FN 5. At the initial encounter between Angel and Salcido, Angel said he knew the handle was broken.
    *FN 6. Tagging is the term for marking walls and surfaces with graffiti. A tagging crew is a group of taggers formed for the specific purpose of marking surfaces with identifying letters, names or logos. Angel's tagging crew was called "Buzzing with Korona" and the stickers found in Angel's shoe had the black letters, B, W and K.

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    HI Ca_Libertarian, Yeah I found it and did read it all, BIG Thanks Bro ! :celebrate

    Smac 1, yes your right "that knife" was considered a switchblade according to the Interpritation of said statute.

    It went from a "legal knife to a Gravity Knife" making it now illegal. However had the Detent not woreout, or was altered it would have been legal, the way it was manufactured. That one case is RARE !

    So not all pocket knifes are Illegal, as stated in PC-653k also determained in that case. " B Sufficiency of Evidence for Swichblade " Section 4.

    Looks like his "Angel R's" Resistance wore out, on the Detent, making it a "Gravity Knife", which is illegal in California. He should have bought another knife !

    Well so ends the case of the damaged, no resistance mechanism, unsafe functiong knife !

    LOL ! Robin47





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    Make sure all your knives are squared away. All ofmy folding knives (Benchmade, Smith&Wesson) all open with a "flick" of my wrist. I loosened the blade so it would open in this manner. If your a good citizen, I don't think you will have much to worry about.

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    Robin47 wrote:
    Well so ends the case of the damaged, no resistance mechanism, unsafe functiong knife !
    While this case should have only affected damaged/modified knives, I'm afraid the implications are much further reaching. The court jumped at the opportunity to 'make law' rather than simply addressing the issue at hand.

    I guarantee that the wording in this case will be used in future prosecutions, as it is much broader than past case law. This ruling does pretty much make all knives illegal... IF they can find ANYONE that can flick it open. You may think your knife can't be flicked open, but just because you can't doesn't mean they won't get an expert witness who is able to.

    This weekend I had a chat with a switchblade vendor at the gun show in Turlock. (In case you're wondering, all his switchblades are under 2 inches, so they're CA legal.) He told me about a couple great organizations for us 'knife nuts.' (We also discussed open carry a bit.)

    Check out:

    KnifeRights.org
    American Knife & Tool Institute
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    smac1 wrote:
    Make sure all your knives are squared away.
    My plan, since every folder I own is now illegal:

    Ship the "illegals" to a friend out of state for safe keeping until such a time that I can possess them again legally.

    Buy a 1.998" switchblade - this would be my utility blade. Never know when you're going to need to cut something when you only have 1 hand free. If I can't have my 4" folder because the court calls it a switchblade, I may as well have a true switchblade.

    Switch to fixed blade knives worn openly for self defense. As much as I prefer a pocket knife to a belt knife... it seems the court hasn't given me much choice. I am force to open carry my knife. Since the legislature has disarmed its subjects (of firearms, at least), I feel a decent sized fixed blade is the next best alternative. (Luckily I was a collector of blades long before I was a collector of firarms, so my options here vary from 0.5" to 42" blades.)

    (Disclaimer: Check your local ordinances for knife laws. This is not legal advice.)
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    Seems to be some FUD spreading in this thread. Robin47 already posted this, but everybody needs to go reread it:

    California Knife Laws: A Comprehensive Guide

    The case sited in this thread was essentially a gravity knife. Any good quality locking folder that you can open "with a flick of the wrist" still does not meet the definition of a switch blade.



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    CA_Libertarian wrote:
    (Luckily I was a collector of blades long before I was a collector of firarms, so my options here vary from 0.5" to 42" blades.)
    42" blades? Wow, I'd be hesitant to even call that a knife (although I understand that by law it's classified as a knife), sounds more like a sword. I actually have a "medieval style" one-handed sword that isn't quite that long.. lol

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    stevenh512 wrote:
    CA_Libertarian wrote:
    (Luckily I was a collector of blades long before I was a collector of firarms, so my options here vary from 0.5" to 42" blades.)
    42" blades? Wow, I'd be hesitant to even call that a knife (although I understand that by law it's classified as a knife), sounds more like a sword. I actually have a "medieval style" one-handed sword that isn't quite that long.. lol
    I don't call them knives either, but since there is no statute against katanas or 'bastard swords' it would fall into province of a 'dirk or dagger.' As long as it's not concealed, it's legal (except for those pesky local laws).
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    HI All back to the fun !

    Yeah a "Dirk and Dagger" has a blade thats sharp on both sides.

    A Katana sword is sharp on one side of the blade.

    Anyway there was an article I read about Australia when the gun bans came there and many were opencarrying swords, then they also banded them to. WOW ! :what:

    Makes one wonder "whats Next"? I wonder if people will wakeup when it comes to baseball bats ! and kitchen knifes !

    I think in this next year we might find out !

    Interesting that I remember when in the 1950's when they tried to ban Bows & Arrows in this country, however there was a "Back-lash" and all went out and bought them, and Archery became a big thing in the late 1950's and many shooting ranges opened up all over the country. I still got my first Bow a recurve, and it workes fine even today !:celebrate SO Yeah to usactivists& the merry group ! Robin47

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    Robin47 wrote:
    Yeah a "Dirk and Dagger" has a blade thats sharp on both sides.

    A Katana sword is sharp on one side of the blade.
    While us sane people only refer to double-edged blades as dirks and daggars, we are talking about our legislators' definition (from PC 12020):

    [code]
    (24) As used in this section, a "dirk" or "dagger" means a knife or other instrument with or without a handguard that is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death. A nonlocking folding knife, a folding knife that is not prohibited by Section 653k, or a pocketknife is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death only if the blade of the knife is exposed and locked into position.
    Participant in the Free State Project - "Liberty in Our Lifetime" - www.freestateproject.org
    Supporter of the CalGuns Foundation - http://www.calgunsfoundation.org/
    Supporter of the Madison Society - www.madison-society.org


    Don't Tread On Me.

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