Case Against Bingham Bogging Down

The unlicensed gun pretext for the arrest of San Bernardino County Deputy Christopher Bingham, whom prosecutors are alleging led a double life as an outlaw biker, appeared to fall apart this week during his preliminary hearing, as it was demonstrated the firearm was indeed licensed.
It now remains to be seen whether Judge Alexander Martinez will rule that all of the evidence against Bigham that was collected on his premises – extending to what detectives say was an arsenal – as a consequence of a search warrant based upon his arrest and possession of the pistol will now be excluded from the proceedings, ending any viability of the case against him.
Christopher Bingham, who enlisted in the U.S. Marines at the age of 19 in 1998, serving with distinction until he was honorably discharged one day less than four years later in 2002, hired on with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in 2005.
In 2015, just around the time of his son’s first birthday, Bingham registered O’Three Tactical, a limited liability company in which he was the sole owner with California Secretary of State. Located at 73749 29 Palms Highway in Twentynine Palms,
O’Three Tactical was a gun shop, one that dealt in standard firearm sales as well as obtaining for its customers specialized equipment and hardware prized by gun aficionados, particularly ones looking to replicate the actuality or mystique of military firepower.
The gun shop was contained within a shop next to a Mexican restaurant east of Adobe Road in the downtown section of Twentynine Palms on Highway 62, also known at that point as 29 Palms Highway.
As a consequence of Bingham’s military experience and his immersion in the macho world of motoring in the desert on both dirt bikes and dunebuggies, together with his affinity for guns and weaponry, O’Three Tactical found a niche in a place where both current and former military personnel lived and congregated.
O’Three Tactical, was normally manned by one of four different employees, all of whom were current or former military personnel or law enforcment officers. On some normal business days after he had finished his daytime shift with the sheriff’s department patrolling the Morongo Valley and occasionally on his days off, Bingham was behind the counter at O’Three Tactical.
Bingham and O’Three Tactical became known for the ability to track down and deliver specialized firearms, as well as for providing servicing and augmenting equipment to those products, along with, as the shop’s name implied, all order of tactical gear, including knives, bulletproof wear and helmets, ammunition, magazines, cartridges, powders, primers, sights and scopes and all order of other accessories.

O’Three Tactical dealt, legally insofar as the sheriff’s department certified, in some weaponry and equipment that was banned or outlawed in California, such as certain types of firearms and silencers, devices that in some other states can be purchased or possessed legally.
Bingham maintained, however, and the sheriff’s department’s standoffishness seemed to confirm, that such items were being sold, as Bingham stated more than once, to “individual California law enforcement officers properly licensed and permitted to carry them or out of state buyers.” His shop also engaged in gunsmithing, making firearms to order, and legal firearm adaptations.
His second job as a gun shop owner brought him into contact with a subset of the not just the Morongo Basin’s population, but many people from outside the area who traveled hundreds of miles and occasionally from outside of California to look at, examine and buy the oftentimes exotic models of firearms he had obtained.
Bingham fastidiously adhered to the law with regard to regulations about whom guns can be sold to. One report held that he had a policy of asking anyone who came into O’Three Tactical smelling of marijuana to leave. At one point, in 2019, the sheriff’s department’s internal affairs division, referred to as professional standards, initiated an investigation into Bingham when it was alleged that he was improperly using the CLETS – California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System – the data base available to California law enforcement agencies that, among other things, catalogs the arrest histories and criminal convictions of the state’s residents. That investigation came to nothing, however, when it was determined that Bingham was merely delving into whether he could make gun sales to certain individuals seeking to purchase firearms whom he had legitimate grounds to believe might actually be felons who could not legally purchase, own or possess firearms as a consequence of their convictions. The department ended that investigation without taking any action against him.

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