Today, the Office of Administrative Law officially approved DOJ’s proposed “bullet-button assault weapon” regulations. These regulations are a result of the enactment of Senate Bill 880 and Assembly Bill 1135, both of which classify certain firearms required to be equipped with “bullet buttons” as “assault weapons” under California law.
Pursuant to this change in the law, individuals who currently own firearms now classified as “assault weapons” have until July 1, 2018 to register them with the California Department of Justice. The law also required DOJ to enact regulations to facilitate the registration process, and specifically exempts those regulations from California’s typical rulemaking process.
But as first proposed last December, DOJ’s regulations went far beyond what is necessary for the registration of newly classified “assault weapons.” Included in DOJ’s proposal were over 40 new definitions, excessive personal information requirements, requirements on providing information on where and how the firearm was acquired, requirements that individuals provide DOJ with photos of their firearms, requirements for serializing home-built firearms, expansion of the “assault weapon” definition to “bullet-button” equipped shotguns, and restrictions on removing the “bullet-button” once the firearm is registered as an “assault weapon.”
In response to this clear overstep in authority, NRA and CRPA attorneys submitted a joint-opposition letter to the Office of Administrative law highlighting the many flaws with the proposed regulations, and a pre-litigation demand letter to DOJ demanding the regulations be withdrawn. DOJ complied with that demand just days before the Office of Administrative Law was set to make its decision.
Following the withdraw, many believed DOJ would amend their proposed regulations to comply with the narrow exception provided by the new law. But instead of doing so, DOJ re-submitted a proposal that was substantially identical to that of its predecessor, along with a letter responding to the opposition letter authored by NRA and CRPA attorneys. In response, NRA and CRPA attorneys submitted a comprehensive opposition letter that point-by-point dismantled DOJ’s position as unnecessary, lacking appropriate legislative authority, and otherwise vague and unenforceable. Shortly after submission of this second opposition letter, the Office of Administrative Law formally rejected DOJ’s proposed regulations.
With a formal rejection, many once again reasonably believed that DOJ would amend their proposal to comply with the narrow exception to the regular rulemaking process. And once again, they were wrong. Last month, DOJ re-submitted its proposed regulations for a third time without any substantive change, and as of today, those regulations are now official.
But this battle is far from over. At this very moment, NRA and CRPA attorneys are finalizing a lawsuit which will challenge these regulations as a violation of California’s Administrative Procedures Act. You can be a part of it by serving as a plaintiff.
If you or someone you know owns a firearm now classified as an “assault weapon” and intends to register that firearm pursuant to DOJ’s regulations, please contact NRA and CRPA attorneys at [email protected]. Do not hesitate in reaching out, even if you have questions about what it means to be a plaintiff. Act now and help us challenges DOJ’s illegal “assault weapon” regulations!
Additionally, make sure you are subscribed to NRA and CRPA email alerts to stay informed about these illegal regulations and other important Second Amendment issues in California, including the fight against “Gunmageddon” and Proposition 63.