The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

July 31, 2013
Unusual California state government jobs: Gunsmith

_DSC1142.jpgThis is the third installment in our series of interviews with California state employees with unusual jobs.

State worker: Frank Higginson

Job Title: Lead gunsmith for the California Highway Patrol

Number of years with the state: 23

What does a typical week in the life of a gunsmith look like?

"Well, we have field repairs to do, those are guns that come in from the field ... so we can repair it and send it back to field. ... What I mean by from the field is area offices throughout the state; we inspect the guns, refurbish them, make sure they meet all factory specifications, test fire and make sure they are ready for reissue. We are responsible for about 20,000 firearms throughout the whole state."

What is the most extraordinary or interesting thing that has happened while you were on the job?
"It's not a super glamorous job, we repair guns all day long or refurbish them. I personally do the evidence guns, so I personally destroy the guns that are taken in from the field ... (that) they take from people who are not allowed to have them any more."

How did you come to be a gunsmith?
"I joined the United States Marine Corps in 1976, joined competition firearms for the Marine Corps shooting team, and I have been a gunsmith ever since."

Is there anything you want people to know about your job?
"The most important thing about my job is making sure the officers go home alive and safe to their families every single day."

Helicopter Fire Pilot
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PHOTO: Frank Higginson. California Highway Patrol/Joe McHugh.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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