Well, as many of you know the California Department of Justice last week released their “new and improved” proposed regulations for the registration of “Assault Weapons”.
Well… this is not entirely true. They “filed” their regulations with the Office of Administrative Law, but did so blindly. They did not want people to see what they actually were until they were approved. As it turned out, the regulations were leaked… so we at least now know what they are. For those of you that would like to take a look at the 60+ pages, click here
You may remember that last December 28th they issued their first proposed regulations for a legislatively mandated program that was to begin on Jan 1, 2017. Those were widely pilloried for engaging in executive overreach and being volitive of federal law. They were pulled and some of us (me included) naively believed that the DOJ would simply enact the simple directive of the Legislature when in came to SB 880.
Yeah, that didn’t happen.
Basically DOJ waited until mid year, well into the legislatively mandated time frame and then proposed substantially the same damn thing.
They also are potentially engaged in an indictable criminal enterprise.
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So, let’s review the whole concept here:
If you own a firearm that was acquired prior to Jan. 1. 2017 (as proved through DROS registration) then you have the opportunity… for a period of one year… to register that weapon as an “Assault Weapon”.
So… for those of you that are new to this whole thing let’s go through a basic primer about California rifle laws.
A centerfire rifle with a detachable magazine, and one or more “evil” features (such as a pistol grip, telescoping stock, flash suppressor, et. al) is considered an “assault weapon”.
The key here is “detachable magazine”.
This has been the case for many years. The work around to ensure that you had a fixed and yet removable magazine was the use of a bullet button. DOJ had clarified that a magazine that can only be removed with a tool was in fact a fixed magazine. Well a bullet button requires a “tool” to be activated and have the magazine release. Hence, for years a rifle with a bullet button on it was not considered an “assault weapon” since it did not pass the threshold of having a removable magazine.
Then SB 880 came around stating that a bullet button was not sufficient to allow a rifle with one affixed to it to be considered a “fixed magazine”.
So…. on January 1, 2017, ALL rifles with bullet buttons on them would now be construed to have “detachable magazines” and thus fall into the category of “assault weapon”.
If you are in possession of an “assault weapon” and it is not registered with the State of California as an “Assault Weapon” then YOU ARE COMMITTING A FELONY.
Now… the State cannot simply through legislative fiat engage in what is called a “taking”. They have to compensate you for your loss.
In an attempt to avoid considering this a “taking”, the legislature envisioned a scheme where someone who owned the rifle prior to the law taking effect would be able to continue to own it as a registered weapon even after the law’s effect. Basically a grandfather clause.
This is where things go a little sideways.
SB 880 articulates that there are two types of firearms out there: “Assault Weapons” and “Non-assault weapons. It is a binary universe. Either the AR-15 is an assault weapon or it is not. The DOJ proposed regulations decided to create a third category: “Bullet Button Assault Weapons.”. If you look through the California Penal Code for this special category of weapon… you will not find it. The legislation exists only at the executive halls in the Dept. Of Justice.
Please remember… the only governmental body allowed to craft “laws” are the legislature. The DOJ simply enacts regulations to allow them to effectively enforce the laws established by the legislature. They are not allowed to expand on laws to achieve an objective that the legislature was not able to garner enough political support for, during the legislative process.
They are also not allowed to mandate that a law abiding citizen commit a felony in order to ultimately be compliant with the law.
You see… according to the DOJ in § 5474 (b) you have to build out your rifle, make sure that there is a bullet button on it, and then go to work taking photographs of said rifle. Once those photos are uploaded onto your computer you need to send them (along with a payment of $15) to DOJ so that they can “inspect” the photos to determine if the firearm is one that is capable of being registered as an “assault weapon”. If it does fall into their category of an “assault weapon”, they will then perform a second level check to ensure that the weapon was acquired prior to January 1, 2017.
Here is the issue… on January 1, 2017, if you had your weapon rigged with a bullet button then you instantly became a felon, since you were in possession of a “non-registered” assault weapon. Moreover, if you did not have your weapon system completely assembled (stripped lower only), the only way for you to register the firearm as an “assault weapon” is to build it out, install a bullet button, and start taking pictures.
This is extremely problematic.
So… let’s think about this.
It is May 21 and you want to register your gun. Your gun is currently illegal. (Remember… the bullet button is no longer “enough”.) Yet DOJ wants to see pictures of your gun with a bullet button on it.
So now you are going to take evidence photos of you committing a felony and send it to Sacramento??
Sorry… the 5th Amendment mandates that you can not be compelled to testify against yourself.
Moreover… it states explicitly in the new proposed regs that you cannot register anything other than a fully built firearm. So… if you have a stripped lower you have to build it out…. and… put a bullet button on it, which as we mentioned above is (after Jan 1) illegal.
So, DOJ is now demanding that you perform an illegal act.
They are also economically benefitting from that illegal act (remember that pesky $15 filing fee)
That means they are engaged in a criminal conspiracy.
What we need now is a brave District Attorney that is willing to go prosecute employees of DOJ!
See… gun laws can be dangerous.
So this begs the next question…. what do you do?
- Go featureless, this is admittedly a disgusting alternative for many… however, if you do… you can install a traditional magazine release.
- Break your gun down (remove the pistol grip, and the stock, take the upper off) and wait to see what the ultimate outcome is of all of this.
- Leave the State… many have opted for this… and I can’t say that I don’t understand their desire to emigrate to America. However, personally… I feel that freedom is something that must be defended… and retreat for me is not an option.
- Bitch. Bitch loudly. Bitch with others. I always shake my head when I see people doing gun retention training. (Training to ensure the proper skills are honed that can be used to defeat someone that is actively trying to take away a firearm in a violent encounter). They spend countless hours working on these skills, but they do little if anything to fight politicians that are effectively trying to do the same thing. There is strength in numbers. Join the NRA. Join the California Rifle and Pistol Association. Fight!!!
Freedom lost is only one generation away. You... ALL of you... are sentinels standing watch protecting our liberty. Your sacred responsibilities do not end with shaking your head in frustration.
1 Well actually that is not entirely true. The legislature envisioned that the registration process would begin on Jan 1, 2017 and last through Dec. 31, 2017. As of the date of this writing (May 24th, 2017 the ability to register your weapon is still not available.
2 Actually this is one of the main problems with SB 880, since the firearm cannot be transferred to any third parties in the State of California they value of the property has effectively been reduced to zero. For a “taking” to be legal the property holder must be compensated for their economic loss.