Molly Prince, DCNF
As the deadline looms for California gun owners to register their firearms that have been re-classified as “assault weapons,” the registration system has been crashing, preventing compliance with the law if the site is not fixed.
California passed a bill expanding its already lengthy definition of “assault weapon.” Under SB 880 and AB 113, which became effective in January 2017, “assault weapon” now includes firearms that are required to be equipped with a bullet button or a similar magazine locking device.
A bullet button replaces the stock magazine release, preventing users from releasing the magazine with their finger, or simply a magazine release that requires a tool. California is currently the only state that requires rifles to be equipped with a bullet button.
All applications must be completed and submitted by Saturday at 11:59 p.m. PST. With less than a day until the deadline, the California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS) has had difficulty processing the high volume of applications, according to the Firearms Policy Coalition. The spike in traffic repeatedly crashed the CFARS website, preventing gun owners from registering properly.
If firearms are not registered before the deadline, gun owners could be charged with a felony and receive up to eight years in prison.
The National Rifle Association (NRA), the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) and various other Second Amendment consulting groups and law firms are advising gun owners and have legal representation standing by.
The NRA and CRPA released webinars instructing gun owners on the process, and are advising those experiencing difficulty to maintain a detailed record of registration attempts.
The State of California Department of Justice acknowledged the issues processing applications. Rather than extending the deadline, the Office of the Attorney General advised troubleshooting.
California has 344,622 guns registered as of 2017, according to data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
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