By David Codrea
“Any person who from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2016 inclusive, lawfully possessed an assault weapon that does not have a fixed magazine as defined in Penal Code … including those weapons with an ammunition feeding device that can be readily removed from the firearm with the use of a tool (commonly referred to as a bullet-button weapon) must register the firearm before January 1, 2018,” the State of California mandated in a May regulation notice.
It’s grand of them to finally share that with us, particularly after an earlier notice advised “The draft regulations are not open for public comment due to the exemption set forth in [the] Penal Code … Per the stated exemption, the Department is not required to provide further clarification.”
It would not have been surprising had they added “So there.”
Still, as the antis often ask us about guns, how many so-called “assault weapon” bans does “the Golden State” need?
They already had a 1989 ban on specific firearm models. A follow-up ban 10 years later on cosmetic characteristics inspired The New York Times to proclaim, “California enacts the toughest ban on assault guns.”
“This is a prototype for reasonable gun-control legislation,” the measure’s sponsor, State Senator Don Perata (holder of an elite “may issue” concealed carry permit), said at the time. “And if it can be done in California, I would argue that it can be done in the United States as a whole.”
That, of course, is one of the goals, along with promoting rabid gun-grabbers as the arbiters of what is “reasonable.”
As for the new edict, assuming a firearm was ‘legally acquired on or before December 31, 2016” and other qualifiers are met, there are all kinds of other hoops gun owners will be required to jump through. That includes typical and expected registration stuff, like name and identifying information for both the owner and the gun. They have to know who you are, what you’ve got and where they can find it (and you). “Common sense gun safety” and all.
Not content with just that, the gun-haters in Sacramento are also requiring “joint registration,” and I’m not talking about for legalized weed (see “A Mess of Pottage,” October 2016 issue). This decree applies if you want to be able to share enjoyment of your property with qualifying family members, and requires a “primary registrant” along with “acceptable forms” of “proof of address for each joint registrant.”
As an aside, compare that to “progressives” objecting to Voter ID laws because they claim proving you are eligible to vote “disenfranchises minorities.” You’ll note they never pull that argument when it comes to gun ownership requirements.
Imagine the cow they’d have if those voters were also required to have Internet access, because that’s also a mandate.
“Assault weapon registrations must be filed electronically using the Department’s California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS)” the order specifies.
That shows nothing if not bureaucratic zeal, and the motivation appears to be gloating, in-your-face harassment. Because half-a-year in, California gun owners are still unable to comply with the new “law’s” requirements. The utility to register isn’t working yet. At this writing, this language still appears on the California Department of Justice website in bold red letters:
“UPDATE AS OF Thu Jun 01 2017 15:10:35 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time) : The ability to register an Assault Weapon … is not yet available… Assault Weapon registration regulations must be effective before any registrations can take place. At this time, the regulations are still pending, however they should be effective in the very near future. Please continue to check the Bureau of Firearms website for updates.”
But wait, there’s more!
Because now imagine those “disenfranchised voters” also being required to own a digital camera. Gun owners are required to provide “Clear digital photos of firearms listed on the application.
“One photo shall depict the bullet button-style magazine release installed on the firearm,” the regulations order. “One photo shall depict the firearm from the end of the barrel to the end of the stock if it is a long gun or the point furthest from the end of the barrel if it is a pistol. The other two photos shall show the left side of the receiver/frame and right side of the receiver/frame.
“These locations are typically where firearms are marked when manufacturing is complete,” the instructions elaborate. “At the discretion of the Department the last two photos shall be substituted for photos of identification markings at some other locations on the firearm.”
“Discretion”? How? When? It’s like they’re trying to create compliance violations based on applicants not knowing what the … uh … heck they want.
For a “Firearm Manufactured By Unlicensed Subject (FMBUS),” there’s a department-issued serial number that needs to be taken in to a “Federal Firearms Licensed Manufacturer (type 07),” who is “under no obligation to perform this work.” Alternatively, “Persons who have manufactured their own firearm may also use non-licensed parties to apply the serial number and other required markings, however, the owner of the weapon must not leave the firearm unattended with an unlicensed party in violation of firearms transfer and/or lending laws.”
Then there are the fees, “$15.00 per person per transaction.” If you want “a copy of the original registration disposition letter,” that’ll be another 5 bucks. And they’ll only accept payment via credit or debit card.
Again, think of those “disenfranchised” voters.
Then think of something else. Think of the Second Amendment. Think of “shall not be infringed.” Think of the Founders who envisioned an armed citizenry capable of meeting “enemies foreign and domestic” with equivalent weaponry.
Here’s what it boils down to: Those of us who believe government exists to serve the people believe we have a right to keep and bear arms. Those who believe people exist to serve the government believe we do not.
The California Rifle and Pistol Association, with the backing of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, filed a lawsuit in April challenging the new ban. It will go through the courts for years. When it reaches the “liberal” Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, expect them to cite precedent and side with the state. When that’s appealed to the Supreme Court, all they need do for the law to stand is… nothing. If they decline hearing the case, the law will stand. And even if they hear it, there are no outcome guarantees.
In the mean time, gun owners have been dictated the terms of their unconditional surrender. Obey or be declared a criminal, and suffer all the penalties the state can bring down on your head to make an example of you to everyone else. Or flee to another state; one of those Don Perata envisioned exporting his “reasonable” disarmament to.
Let’s work toward reclaiming our right to keep and bear arms, heeding Patrick Henry’s warning to “guard with jealous attention the public liberty.” And let’s hope the Supreme Court ends up doing the right thing.
If they don’t, you’re going to have to ask yourself “What would Captain John Parker do?” If you don’t know who he was, you probably ought to make it a point to find out.