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News & Editorials


A Verbal Confrontation with California DOJ Lackeys

(A compilation of interviews with Brian Puckett, David Codrea, and Charles Carner) 

by Angel Shamaya

AS: First, tell me the basics -- who, what, when, where. 

BP: The NRA Members Council of Ventura County East held a public meeting in a restaurant’s conference room in Simi Valley, California [about 30 minutes from Los Angeles] on July 13. The featured guest was one Randy Rossi, who is the Director of the California Department of Justice Firearms Division, who is engaged in enforcing the new regulations that support SB23. Now, SB23 is the state edict that bans the purchase or sale of any center-fire rifle that accepts a detachable magazine and also has at least one other designated cosmetic features or attachment, including a thumbhole stock, a pistol grip, a forward grip, a flash suppressor, or a folding stock. 

AS: Who came to this meeting?

BP: I’d guess there were about 150 citizens, mostly the Simi Valley NRA people. Rossi arrived with two other unmemorable lackeys. There were also some uniformed Simi Valley police officers present, presumably to protect the DOJ employees in case the public became violent. I attended the meeting with writer/director Charles Carner and writer David Codrea.

AS: What was the purpose of the meeting?

BP: The stated purpose was to ask technical questions about California’s new militia rifle ban and the requirement that owners of such guns register them. Of course they’re actually registering themselves, to be identified when militia rifle confiscation extends beyond the current confiscation of SKS rifles.

AS: So what happened?

BP: The meeting started with an introduction by California’s State Representative of the NRA, whose name I won’t mention. He put on a revolting display of fawning over and boot-licking the DOJ employees. He was clearly pleased that they had allowed him to work with them in disarming us. He couldn’t say enough good things about them, calling “honorable” and the like. Keep in mind that these men are actively engaged in taking away our right to buy and sell militia rifles, and are preparing to imprison or kill any citizens who don’t obey this illegal edict and register themselves – perhaps some of the citizens in that very room. It’s worth noting that the NRA Member’s Council thoughtfully provided table space for a pile of California DOJ’s Assault Weapon Registration Applications. I suppose they’ll provide table space for the DOJ’s Bible registration or computer registration cards at the next meeting. We’ll have to wait and see.

AS: You sound a bit angry at these NRA people.

BP: No! Not at the members. Most of them are good and decent citizens. Most don’t yet realize that the NRA’s current management – La Pierre, Baker, Heston, and state NRA representatives like this one – are working hand-in hand with the Government to disarm us through laws like SB23 and “Project Exile”.

AS: For the benefit of those who don’t know, what is “Project Exile”?

BP: Project Exile is an NRA management program that calls for the strict enforcement of all current gun control laws. This includes every law that we have spent time and money over the last few decades to prevent being passed, including the 1994 Crime Bill outlawing the manufacture and sale of new over-ten-round magazines and certain militia rifles, called “assault weapons” by our enemies. All of these rifles function identically to dozens of other militia rifles. When I say militia rifles, I mean any rifle that is useful to the militia, which includes all military-pattern rifles. In any case, “Project Exile” is supposed to be directed against criminals, but of course every one of these laws can be used against any American citizen. And that is happening right now. For this, LaPierre gets a reported $20,000 a month plus expenses.

AS: We both have strong feelings on that, of course, as do the leaders of scores of other major gun rights organizations, like GOA and JPFO. Our statement on “Project Exile” and the list of those who are adding their voices to ours is on the website. But back to the meeting. What happened after the DOJ people were introduced?

BP: One of them – I believe it was Rossi – began droning on about he and his fellow DOJ employees didn’t have to come meet with this group, that they were doing it because they cared about us and didn’t want us, or any gun dealers, to be put “in harm’s way” by this law. In other words, the servants had deigned to appear before us — the people who pay their salaries — and we should be damned grateful for that. And we should be aware of their concern that we citizens would be imprisoned or shot to death for exercising our Constitutionally-protected rights.

AS:: Very thoughtful.

BP: Very. This sort of blather seemed to go on forever, but I suppose it was only ten or fifteen minutes. One of the DOJ spokesmen stated that in U.S. v Miller the Supreme Court established that the only protected right in the Second Amendment had to do with the right of states to form militias, and that this was now the National Guard—two lies in a row. In other words, we have no right as citizens to keep and bear arms.

AS: How did the crowd react to this?

BP: There were a couple of unprintable shouts from the audience. As for myself, the first time I spoke was when one of the DOJ lackeys stated that our DROS [Dealer’s Record Of Sale, or gun purchase records] records had been destroyed as required by law. I asked out loud, “Who believes that?”

AS: How did the DOJ people respond?

BP: They insisted that the records didn’t exist.

AS: And then what happened?

BP: There were a couple of technical questions on this unconstitutional law, SB23, with incomparably irrelevant and boring answers from the government people. One of them repeatedly stated how “complex” or “complicated” this law was. I raised my hand and Mark Bell, the moderator of the event, pointed to me. I stepped into the center aisle while another man finished asking his question.

AS: What did you ask the DOJ employees?

BP: I don’t know every word I said, but I wrote down the actual question before coming so I wouldn’t have to rely on my memory during a stressful moment. I said, “You keep saying this “law” [SB23] is complicated, but it’s very simple. The Democrats in the California legislature and the governor have passed a “law” intended to take away our militia rifles. But everyone here knows that’s unconstitutional. So here’s my question. Because everyone understands that many patriots – including active and retired police officers –will not register their militia rifles and therefore are in danger of being arrested, prosecuted, and sent to prison by you and your co-workers, or if they resist of being murdered by government thugs with whom you work hand in hand; and because most Americans would shun taking part in such state terrorism, my question is this: were you offered any extra pay, or material rewards, or a higher government position for betraying your countrymen, your Constitution, and your country?”

AS: And how did they respond?

BP: Blandly, calmly. I had expected one of them to come at me with his fists to defend his honor, but of course they have no honor to defend so that didn’t happen. The DOJ employees began mouthing words to make themselves feel better about betraying their country. When I grew tired of that I held up one of the “Assault Weapon Registration Applications” and said “Here’s one of your applications to register my militia rifle, with a space on it for my thumbprint. Here’s what I think of it.” I tore it up and tossed it to the floor.

AS: What was the reaction of the people in the room, the NRA members, to all of this?

BP: There was some applause and shouts of support, but I think many of them were shocked to hear someone talk to their servants that way. Even though these servants intended to disarm, imprison, or kill them. Many in the audience seemed passive, as though they were watching something on television. I don’t blame them. It’s not something one sees at most meetings.

AS: Then what occurred?

BP: This Rossi character stated that he and the other DOJ employees had served their country in law enforcement and in the military and were doing what they thought was right. I said, “Regardless of what you’ve done in the past, you are now betraying your country.” There were some more talk from the DOJ people but I turned around and walked to the back of the room to wait for David and Charlie.

AS: (To David Codrea) David, what was your question to the DOJ representatives?

DC: As Brian was tearing up his registration form, I was standing behind him. I raised my hands so the room could see me following suit and tore up mine. When Brian moved to the back of the room I said, “My name is David Codrea. I'm from Redondo Beach. I'm speaking only for myself, as a free American with unalienable rights endowed by my Creator. I added this to my prepared statement, because when Brian was speaking, one woman found it necessary to proclaim that “He doesn’t speak for all of us!” True, I thought, only for the Patriots in the room. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to state that out loud.

I then asked the DOJ overlords, “If we defy your terms of dictated surrender, how many SWAT raids do you estimate it will take to crush and destroy us? And how many patriots, including military and police personnel and their family members, are you and your masters in Sacramento willing to imprison or murder enforcing this treasonous edict?"

AS: What was the response?

DC: The DOJ flack standing at the microphone said, "None," which is a transparent lie, as the California Attorney General has pledged to vigorously enforce both Roberti-Roos and SB-23, and they spent much of the evening telling us how they intended to do so. In essence, this liar, acting in his official capacity as a law enforcement official, told a crowd of citizens at a public meeting, in direct response to a specific question, that they have no plans to enforce the law and prosecute resisters. As the Members’ Council had a camcorder running during the meeting, I hope they save the tape as evidence should some hapless citizen be prosecuted because he took this agent at his word.

I pointed out that I had also torn up my registration form, and that copy was the only one I would submit to them – not true, since I later decided to reassemble and frame it. I said, "Here’s where I draw the line in the sand,” and added, “if you do decide to raid my home, my kids’ rooms are in the front of the house, so just knock and show your warrant and I won't resist. There’s no need for an Elian-style raid.”

AS: David, I think this point is really important for gun owners to consider. Would you please explain your position a bit?

DC: I mean I’m not going to engage in a firefight in my home with my children present. I ain’t stupid, I know my limitations, and I’m not going to commit suicide or volunteer my wife and kids for martyrdom. Besides which, contrary to how the media portrays us, gun owners are the most peaceable folks I’ve ever known, and the thought of resorting to violence goes against who we are and how we live our lives.

I’m committed to using every moral means of redress available to fighting tyranny, and that may even include paying a penalty for engaging in civil disobedience. But I want to make it clear that we are the people who simply want to live unmolested and free- it is these agents of tyranny who employ coercion, who use force and intimidation and violence to impose their dictates. God forbid they don’t push free people to the point where they start pushing back, because the consequences will be terrible. If and when things devolve to that point where there is no recourse but to take up arms, it would be wiser to choose the time and place rather than have it thrust on you.

AS: Understood. And then?

DC: I had said my piece, so I joined Brian at the rear of the room to wait for Charlie to speak. He came after a couple of other people, one of whom was an older gentlemen, a patriot, who stated that he wasn’t going to comply with the law.

AS: (To Charles Carner) Charlie, what happened when your turn to ask a question came?

CC: I stated my name and said that I was a free American and a member of the unorganized militia and took my second amendment rights very seriously. I noted that at least two of the three DOJ men were military veterans, then I asked “Have you always been traitors to our country and its constitution, or did you become traitors when this unconstitutional and illegal edict was passed?”

AS: What was the response?

CC: One of them replied that anyone who did not comply with these regulations would be a traitor. I noted that he had repeatedly stated "I didn't write the law, I just enforce it. I don't question my orders, I carry them out," . This prompted me to reply, "How is that different from what the Nazis did?" This guy said, "The Nazis dissolved their courts." Of course he didn’t know his Nazi history any better than his American history. I said, "That's incorrect, everything the Nazis did was legal."

The questions which followed mine didn’t continue in the "rabble-rousing" vein, but were all of a technical nature. David, Brian and I stayed for a few more minutes and then left the room.

AS: What was your overall impression of the meeting?

CC: To me, the most striking things about the evening were 1) how calmly and nonchalantly the DOJ reps presented their disarmament program, and how little distressed they were by our aggressive questions, and 2) how meekly the NRA members present accepted this savage blow to their constitutional rights. There were a few dark, defiant mutters - but generally speaking, the DOJ will encounter very little resistance to their scheme. If I recall correctly, compliance with Roberti-Roos was around 15%. Sadly, I think that compliance with this far more onerous and ominous edict will be much higher.

AS: (To David Codrea) David, do you think this meeting accomplished anything?

DC: I do. I think it put the DOJ on notice that they just may have signed up for more than they can handle. Brian, Charlie and myself, while now no doubt at increased risk for daring to identify ourselves and speak up publicly, represent untold thousands of decent citizens who believe as we do. They have to know that for every outspoken citizen that they harass, tens of thousands more are going to figure the odds are worth taking their chances with, and that freedom is worth taking risks for.

It also put the NRA reps on notice that there are a growing number of gun activists who are simply sick of their shit, and tired of their engineering compromises with agents of evil. These guys acted like it was an honor to be included in the application of disarmament laws- all the talk of which reminded me of philosophers arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Discussing the technical aspects of a gun ban misses the wider point that the entire ban is an abomination, and that the only proper response is not to fine tune it, but to defy it. It’s like they’re pleased that they were consulted to decorate the cattle cars — really, they reminded me of nothing so much as the Judenrat, selling their people out to certain death in their pathetic attempt to appease the Nazis. As an NRA Life Member, I expect better from my organization’s management, especially when you consider the principled-sounding rhetoric about defending inalienable rights that they employ in their fund raising efforts.

AS: (To Brian Puckett) Brian, how do you feel about this event now that it’s over?

BP: It left a bad taste in my mouth, seeing these robotic people reiterating almost the same words as the Nazis after World War II. “We are only following orders.” The DOJ employees repeatedly stated that California’s legislators had passed the laws and they were simply enforcing them – the same way the Nazis passed laws persecuting the Jews that were enforced by men identical to these. By their own words, it follows that if the California legislature passed a law prohibiting Blacks from coming outside after eight PM, these men would enforce them. Very depressing. As if nothing has been learned by history, as though we have to start all over again in this country.

AS: Brian, you wrote “Why I Will Not Obey California’s Gun Registration Edict” which is posted on the website, among other places including your own website. With that in the background, and now this incident, are you worried at all about your personal safety? About them coming after you to make an example of you, or doing something illegal?

BP: I have thought about it and I’m aware it could happen, but I don’t dwell on it. I’ve been warned by friends in law enforcement that they might try something underhanded or physical, so I’m watchful for that when I’m in public.

AS: Anything else?

BP: Just that I was struck by the emptiness of these men. No patriotism, no respect for their oath to support and defend the Constitution, no integrity. They have the current California socialist political system and law enforcement and the judicial establishment on their side, all the “official” power, and that made them feel superior. To them, even a good citizen – someone who has always obeyed the law, supported law enforcement, so forth– is now automatically a “puke” if they own militia rifles and refuse to register themselves. They think any citizen who disobeys this illegal California edict and exercises his rights is no different from the criminals. We’re all just dirtbags, and you can see it in their faces. And…

AS: And?

BP: I just want to draw a distinction between these sort of soulless hacks and regular police officers. We know from poll after poll, from informal testimony, and from anecdotal evidence that most regular officers support the right to bear arms. They know good citizens carrying guns lower the crime rate, making their jobs easier and safer. And they know they will be retired some day and they will want to own guns – including militia rifles. And I think most of them love their country and respect the Constitution. So the regular patrolmen are basically on our side. The DOJ people were something else. What, I can’t say.

And one final thing. We’ll never see the end of firearm bans and registration and so forth until the Supreme Court rules correctly on the Second Amendment, so we must push for a ruling now. If the court doesn’t rule according to the historical and moral meaning of the amendment, or refuses to rule, then we are left with no options but re-asserting our rights by force. And we will.

Feel free to distribute this item in any format. All we ask is that you put this footnote with it. Brian Puckett is the President of Citizens of America: David Codrea is a founder of Angel Shamaya is the Executive Director of Charles Carner is a writer, director and producer of films whose writings and bio are available here:


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