Cali DOJ Attempting to Expand Definition of ‘Assault Weapon’ without Public Comment

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (Photo: The Hill)

The California Department of Justice has submitted its most recent slate of draft regulations that ostensibly implement the state’s new “assault weapon” registration process and its ban on “bullet buttons.”

Gun rights advocates have also noted, however, that the regulations redefine, among other terms, “flash suppressor,” “pistol grip,” “threaded barrel,” and “shotgun,” redefinitions that require the participation of the public according to California’s Administrative Procedures Act (APA).

“If the Legislature intended to allow DOJ free reign to amend every single existing definition possibly relating to ‘assault weapons,’ …it would have clearly said so. It did not,” said representatives of the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle & Pistol Association.

The California DOJ claims that its entire set of new firearm regulations is exempt from the standard rulemaking procedure that, under a 1945 law called the Administrative Procedures Act, allows the public time to comment on the new rules.

The Department is granted an exemption from the APA under Penal Code section 30900, subdivision (b)(5). That section, however, only provides the DOJ a limited exemption from the APA rulemaking process for regulations relating solely to the registration of newly defined “assault weapons.”

In other words, the DOJ can create new regulations without public comment, but only those that pertain to the “assault weapon” registration process and bullet buttons.

The DOJ’s new rules go far beyond both of those categories.

“Some [regulations] seek to create or amend a whole host of definitions for ‘assault weapon’ features and other terms,” the NRA’s representatives point out in a letter to the state. The new rules also seek to “regulate activities after the registration process,” which should also be subject to public comment.

SEE ALSO: California City Councilman Uses Gun to Repel Home Intruder

The rule change, for example, unilaterally includes shotguns within the definition of “assault weapon.” Despite the fact that the legislature has never included shotguns in its “assault weapon” policies, the DOJ clarifies that the “[a]bility to accept a detachable magazine’ means with respect to a semiautomatic shotgun, [that] it does not have a fixed magazine.”

“Shotguns with ‘bullet buttons’ are now ‘assault weapons’ not by legislative change, but by DOJ’s action alone,” the NRA’s lawyers note.

Of the regulations that do pertain to the new registration process, the most onerous requires firearms owners to submit pictures of each firearm being registered:

One photo shall depict the bullet button style magazine release installed on the firearm. 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.

The website for the registration system notes, “At this time, the regulations are still pending, however they should be effective in the very near future.”

California legislators placed a deadline to register assault weapons with DOJ by the end of the year, but the proposed regulations allow applications to be received by June 30, 2018.

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over two years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco.

{ 27 comments… add one }
  • Gregg April 9, 2018, 8:26 pm

    No one, I mean no one from California calls it Cali!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Calif. or California ok, but NEVER Cali…..

  • DaveGinOly July 28, 2017, 3:27 pm

    Hahahahahaha! Picture ID for guns (that will mostly sit in closets and never harm anyone) and not for voters (whose votes have an effect on everyone in the state)!

  • Lopaka Kanaka July 28, 2017, 1:41 pm

    We are over voted by the big city Demo in the Golden State. This is why we have filed a notice in the Golden State Court to
    be the State of Jefferson with more Reps for each of the 21 counties sofar that have join this move to get rid of Gov. Brown’s
    power hungry dogs. Our new leadership has promised us no more gun laws that are in Golden State. We will be able to have
    an guns we choose and open carry or conceal carry with out the cost now. No more only one gun purchase a month and buy
    ammunition all you want on line or walk in retail store. No more video on guns purchase in retail store.Teacher able to carry there guns in school or college. College students able to carry there guns to class and everyone have the right to defend there family and protect there property. Sate of Jefferson website for more information

  • James Summers July 28, 2017, 12:09 pm

    This legislation is what the fine citizens of California want.
    If it was not, then why are these politicos still in power.
    Get out the petitions, mobilize the masses, do as the democrats preach, RESIST.
    Form committees and hound your political Masters relentlessly.
    They must be your Masters because you allow them to be so.
    Not by violence but by civic process.
    Break out the petitions of recall for any politician who supports gun control.
    Take back the process, do not allow politicians to rule the public.
    Or just sit there and take what they dish out to you.
    May your chains rest lightly upon your person.

    • James Sutton July 29, 2017, 7:49 pm

      You get the government you deserve. If you vote for looney left wing legislators and constitutional officers, don’t complain about the laws and policies they enact. Californians have been voting in officials who have long records of anti-Second Amendment legislation for decades. Now, they want to secede from the United States. I say let them go; we don’t need them. The state is going broke in another five years anyway and their regulations and taxes have already driven out many businesses and industries.

    • Gary Basor February 9, 2018, 11:58 am

      Kalifornia conservative constitutionalist can not out vote the Demogressives as long as they have 4 million illegal immigrants voting fraudulently.

  • mcFoo July 28, 2017, 11:50 am

    Get rid of the DOJ’s authority over everything relating to firearms. It serves no useful purpose other than perhaps justifying jobs for over paid and under qualified staff. Let’s help save the CA tax payer some money as well as our 2a rights.

    Remember that a quote-unquote “assault weapon” is equally an “anti-assault weapon”. Meaning that if I have one (or more) of these tools in my possession and at the ready, I am much less likely to be assaulted.

  • Jake July 28, 2017, 11:27 am

    Xavier Becerra is communist filth. A smiling liar who hates Constitutional America. Even worse than Kamala Harris, the left’s hoped for new Obama in a skirt.

  • Fred July 28, 2017, 7:43 am

    I would perceive that I’d feel safer if we could get rid of these lifer public officials that like to ru(i)n our country the way they see fit. They all need term limits and ousted if they think they can pick and chose which laws they want to follow. Actually; “perceive” is the wrong word; I know I’d be safer!

    • Ring68 July 28, 2017, 9:54 am

      Good luck with that, there are not enough gun owners in California to control the libtards that are taking God given rights away, it’s a sad time on the golden state😩

    • Dave Hicks July 28, 2017, 10:05 am

      Fred I agree TERM LIMITS

      • davud July 28, 2017, 11:32 am

        irrelevant. a platform of restricting gun rights is going to win votes in the most populous areas of the state, regardless of whether the candidate is an incumbent or challenger.

    • mcFoo July 28, 2017, 11:57 am

      Gov and county employment should be “at will” just like the private sector. I swear you’ll never see so many clock punching, under qualified, self serving, system milking, failing upward individuals as you’ll see working for state and local government. It’s literally impossible to fine anyone for doing a mediocre to poor job. most of time if those people are not tolerated in their present role they are simply promoted out of it to another position of more responsibility, where they can do even more damage without reprise (and keep caching that taxpayer paycheck + enjoy solid health plan and paid for car, and retirement benefits!). what a joke.

      • mcFoo July 28, 2017, 11:59 am

        excuse the spelling errors, new mobile phone… ;p

  • Centerfire45 July 27, 2017, 5:28 am

    We habe the same thing in Massachusetts the DA can just redefine what she thinks a law means and send out a midnight memo now making thousands of citizens criminals but don’t despair she also has the right to make up grandfather clauses so you won’t be a criminal. But then she reserves the right to change the rules at any point. So in Massachusetts the rule of law has been replaced by absolutism

  • IYearn4nARnCali July 26, 2017, 11:55 pm

    I voted Democrat from age 18 until just before 2016, and I was pushed out of my Democrat mentality by watching Democrat politicians use the 2nd Amendment as a hot air balloon to wing them to their ambitions end goal at the expense of Californian’s civil right of self-defense, consistent with what our conscience demands. I will NEVER vote for a Democrat for the rest of my life because of their continuing infringements.
    This unconstitutional action is unabated, and unbound given the Democrat majority in big coastal cities. We desperately need another Supreme to start helping us take back our infringed rights from the jaws of the 9th Circus and their abiding desire to further destroy the legal exercise of the 2nd Amendment in California.
    I cannot wait to leave this state before it descends into 3rd world status, that being said, to any who stay, I pray for you and wish you the best, but get out if you can so that you don’t have to put up with yet another set of infringing laws that treat you worse than a street criminal.

    • Chained July 28, 2017, 8:29 am

      Why should any of you leave, it’s your state not that of those who wish to change it into a happy little fascist Utopia. Kick their asses out. They are at war with conservatives, Christians and those who can think for themselves.

      • Rand July 28, 2017, 9:52 am

        Dont be a refugee and run with your taik between your legs. We dont care for the ones we have now.

        Get some balls and talk to your neighbors to vote differently.

        Personally, I am from another state and will be contributing to the Cali secession movement. The sooner we can help cut that cancerous state out of the nation the better.

    • MB July 28, 2017, 8:52 am

      Good for you, the Independent pool and conservative Republicans groups are comprised of many Democrats that are sick of the party’s blatant pandering to communists, traitors and illegal criminal aliens. Now spread the word to others in California before it’s too late. The tipping point has been reached, vote the traitors out.

  • anonymous July 26, 2017, 1:42 am

    Fuck ’em all. The Supreme Court needs to rule these regulations ate unconstitutional and denies residents their 2nd amendment rights.

    • Ring68 July 28, 2017, 9:59 am

      Well I’d start with the ileagals that they are letting vote in your state, if you do not stop that then it’s over with😕

  • ProtoCulture July 25, 2017, 10:34 pm

    CA DOJ is so stupid. Still, NRA nowhere to be found. Have they completely given up?

    • Jeffrey Warner July 28, 2017, 4:16 am

      The NRA seems more concerned with begging for donations to feed the insatiable appetite of the numerous people being paid to travel around selling the membership benefits, instead of fighting for the members rights of keeping and bearing guns!
      I see many lawyers being paid to do nothing, but collect big paychecks from donations!
      I’m a lifetime member, and receive at least five emails each week asking for more money, but see the NRA so infrequently involved going after the California unconstitutional gun laws and regulations. I see several claimed organizations doing the action of suing, such as CalGunsFoundation, FirearmsPolicyCoalition, CaliforniaGunOwnersAssociation, and others, all begging for money to sue! I see very little action of any suits in courts, but millions going to these so-called groups, all claiming they will sue for the same regulation, law or bill.
      California needs a leader in the courts, not a bunch of so called gun right groups who are all out for money, not winning, in court!
      I had expected the NRA to enter and fight the illegal activities of the corrupt state government, but they are not here!
      I believe they just want to keep collecting money, and playing in Washington DC, rather then fight for the millions of members that have come to expect more from the association.

      Many bills have been passed in California, with several that could be easily overturned, but the NRA, CRPA, or the other groups turn their backs, but still ask for money!
      I wonder if it isn’t just a career some attorneys are creating, living off donations from middle and lower income gun owners, just conning them out of their money, lining the attorneys pockets?

      • Pseudo July 28, 2017, 7:12 am

        Touché I see the same thing. I want a strong organization which actively pursues these issues in court. Not these money grubbing organizations. I have only a few charities I give to for the same money grubbing reasons. They collect only so get can continue to make an outlandish income. So piss on them.

        Greed is their mantra, whereas if they actually accomplished something they would obtain the funds without this begging and mass mailing routines they employ.

        • DIYinSTL July 28, 2017, 9:02 am

          The Second Amendment Foundation and several of your State organizations ARE fighting these issues in court. I think the NRA helps out too. You are just not going to hear about these actions in the normal media, especially since they win a lot of cases. Why else do you think these rules have been delayed so often? Cam Edwards on frequently interviews California second amendment attorney Chuck Michel for updates on the legal battle just as Mark Walters ( ) interviews Alan Gottlieb (head of the 2AF) almost every week in the first hour of his Sunday broadcast. The legal battle in CA is ongoing and discussed almost every week, just not on ABC, NBC, Fox News Channel, etc.

      • Altoid July 28, 2017, 8:41 am

        On the other hand, the NRA is the single most complained about organization by the constitution-hating left. So they must be doing something right.
        I too am a life member and send them $20 a year – that’s it. If the NRA is 5 million members strong and they average $20 a year from each member that’s $100 million a year if my math is correct. That’s plenty of money and they shouldn’t require any more. I’m sure they get large donations in addition.
        To me it’s worth the $20 just to hear the left whine about them. And the constitution-haters wouldn’t be complaining if the NRA did nothing.

      • American July 28, 2017, 10:02 am

        I returned my NRA membership in 1986 when the NRA backed the 1986 NFA act and have not and will not support the NRA until they get one anti firearm bill repealed.

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