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Police Officers Association Seeks Court Order to Allow Officer to Carry Assault Rifles

A statewide reserve police officers association is seeking a court order directing state officials to allow reserve officers to acquire and possess assault rifles, noting that one of its members who responded to the Dec. 2 terrorist attack in San Bernardino was equipped only with a handgun.

The California Reserve Peace Officers Association and reserve San Bernardino police Officer Martin Llanos filed the petition Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court against Attorney General Kamala Harris and Stephen Lindley, chief of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Firearms. The plaintiffs maintain that reserve officers deserve the same exemption that regular sworn peace officers have to possess assault rifles.

“Officer Llanos was one of the first responders in the recent terrorist incident in San Bernardino and was only armed with his duty handgun, clearly no match for the better equipped terrorists,” the petition states.

After the terrorist incident, the department and Chief Jarrod Burguan authorized Llanos, 43, of Apple Valley, to acquire an assault rifle for his patrol duties, the petition states. The SBPD has been unable to equip him with such a weapon because of budget problems, so Llanos bought one on his own, the petition states.

However, the Bureau of Firearms recently rejected an assault rifle registration request from Llanos and other reserve officers, according to the petition.

“Officer Llanos performs general law enforcement duties and the same functions as full-time SBPD police officers,” the suit states.

A representative for the Attorney General’s Office did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

The petition includes a copy of an April 29 letter Llanos received from the BOF rejecting his assault rifle registration application.

“We have found no clear statutory authority to support the proposition that a reserve officer may purchase one for his or her own use,” the letter stated, according to the petition.

The letter writer also directed Llanos to either render his weapon inoperable or turn it over to a law enforcement agency.

A copy of Llanos’ registration application also is attached to the petition. It states that he acquired the assault rifle on Feb. 23 at a business in Huntington Beach.

The petition seeks a court order finding that reserve police officers are covered by the same exemption that allows regular peace officers to possess assault rifles and that the BOF be directed to register Llanos’ weapon.

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