SACRAMENTO, CA (July 20, 2017) — Adding to the growing list of its legal woes, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) was forced to issue a new regulatory notice and postpone a hearing regarding their recently-submitted regulations concerning new ammunition vendors and licenses. Many new ammunition laws were passed last year in Gavin Newsom’s so-called “Safety for All Act” (Proposition 63) and in Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León’s Senate Bill 1235 (SB 1235).
As part of its California regulatory watch program, which holds the State accountable for the improper implementation of various gun control laws, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) recently discovered the new DOJ ammunition sales regulations. That new regulation was officially published in the State’s Friday, July 14 Notice Register, but wasn’t clearly accessible to the public until the morning of Monday, July 17.
“In order for citizens and interested groups to be given an opportunity to advocate for their rights and policy preferences, the DOJ must follow the law,” said Craig DeLuz, a lobbyist and spokesperson for the Firearms Policy Coalition. “We are here to make sure they do.”
On July 17, FPC delivered a letter to DOJ advising them that they had not sent any notification about this proposed rulemaking using the DOJ’s e-mail based notification system it established and solicited participation in for that express purpose. The FPC letter also noted that none of the regulation documents that were discussed in the DOJ’s notice could be found on the Attorney General’s Web page listed in the Notice Register. FPC concluded that the public did not receive proper notice and demanded that DOJ remedy the defects.
Just two days later, on July 19, DOJ e-mailed their entire regulatory notice list -- which they had initially failed to do -- and said that the hearing for public comment, which was originally scheduled to take place August 28, had been pushed back to September 12 -- allowing more time for the public and advocacy organizations like FPC to analyze them and weigh in. Additionally, DOJ updated the public notice to reflect a different Web page that contained a working link to the proposed new regulations and forms.
“When law-abiding citizens and small businesses risk fines and jail time for not following the law, the least the DOJ can do is follow the law themselves,” commented DeLuz. “While their latest move is a step in the right direction, they still have a long way to go. We’ll be keeping an eye on them.”
At www.DOJregwatch.com and its companion page, www.bulletbuttonban.com, FPC tracks DOJ firearm-related rulemakings and provides the public with links to the documents and updates. FPC’s goal is to ensure that the regulations proposed are legal, available to the public, and follow all public notice and comment requirements in the California Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and applicable laws.
So far, FPC has so far been successful in repeatedly thwarting DOJ’s attempts to create law by executive fiat under the guise of the regulatory process. Previously, DOJ was forced to withdraw its proposed “large capacity magazine” and “Bullet Button Assault Weapon” regulations. More recently, the Office of Administrative Law rejected DOJ’s second attempt at issuing “Bullet Button Assault Weapon” regulations.