Last night, FPC broke the news that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms withdrew former Attorney General (now U.S. Senator) Kamala Harris’ “Bullet Button Assault Weapon” regulations.
The regulations were submitted by DOJ and Kamala Harris in December following the enactment of Assembly Bill 1135 and Senate Bill 880 (two of the “Gunpocalypse” package of gun control bills signed by Governor Jerry Brown last July), which reclassified virtually all semi-automatic firearms having “evil features” and a magazine locking compliance device (like a Bullet Button) into so-called “assault weapons” and banned them from being sold or transferred after January 1, 2017.
What does it mean for you?
Our legal and policy teams have been and will continue to review this latest development for potential challenges, but here are 5 things you need to know right now:
1. The statutes that were added or changed by AB 1135 and SB 880 are still in effect. The withdrawal of the regulations does not mean the underlying laws have been repealed (i.e, the ban on the sale or transfer of “Bullet Button Assault Weapons” is still in effect).
2. As we explained in our article “10 Things Every California Gun Owner Needs to Know on January 1, 2017,” All lawfully possessed “Bullet-Button Assault Weapons” must be registered before January 1, 2018. However, with DOJ having now withdrawn their proposed regulations (many of which had no legal basis or were just an attempt to “sneak in” new laws), it is not clear when the registration process will be finalized or when the DOJ will open up the registration system. Unless the Legislature passes a new bill, the statutory deadline will not change.
3. While you must still register your “Bullet Button Assault Weapons” by January 1, 2018, or face serious criminal liability, the DOJ is preventing you from doing so by not allowing people to register their firearms in accordance with the law. With over 10% of the deadline year now behind us, this is a very serious problem.
4. Some of the withdrawn proposed “Bullet Button Assault Weapons” regulations dealt with the registration process. The DOJ’s proposed process included submitting a number of pictures of each registered firearm, the creation of a new category of “assault weapons” (those that are assault weapons but could not have their magazine locking device removed even after registration), and requiring that the firearm be fully assembled (meaning stripped or complete lowers would not meet that definition.
5. It is not clear when, exactly, DOJ will release new proposed regulations, but the law does require (mandate) them to. (“The department shall adopt regulations for the purpose of implementing this subdivision.” Cal. Penal Code Section 30900(b)(5).) And we know that they must in order to provide a system of registration for the “Bullet Button Assault Weapons” that the Legislature and Governor Brown created in AB 1135 and SB 880. It’s very possible that DOJ will submit new regulations under the “file and print” process (no public comment or review) and/or more regulations under the “emergency” regulation process (virtually no no public comment or review) – like they did, unsuccessfully, with their proposed Large Capacity Magazine regulations (see “Calif. DOJ “Emergency” Magazine Ban Regulations Withdrawn”) – in order to try and bypass you and pro-gun advocacy groups like Firearms Policy Coalition.
There’s no way to perfectly predict how DOJ and Attorney General Becerra will move forward. But, given their outright hostility towards you and your Second Amendment gun rights, it is very likely that their next steps will be even worse than what Kamala Harris had proposed. And the clock is still ticking away.
That’s why we need you and every gun owner to stand with FPC and be ready to go into a very tough battle with the State of California. We’ve come this far because the support of very committed gun owners, and we need your help if we’re going to take on Goliath and win.
P.S. Don’t forget to bookmark our “Bullet Button Assault Weapons” news and updates Web page at BulletButtonBan.com! We’ll post all of the latest news and updates there.
P.P.S. If you’re not yet an Official Member of Firearms Policy Coalition, there’s never been a better or more important time than now. Not only do FPC Official Members get awesome gear, most importantly, Members are the driving force that funds our critical pro-gun lawsuits and legal action, grassroots advocacy, direct lobbying, research outreach, and education programs.