Several prominent gun-rights organizations are suing California this week because the state’s plan for the mandatory registration of certain firearms was a total disaster.
“We’re suing because California DOJ’s Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS) broke down during the deadline week for people to register their firearms in accordance with new state laws,” said Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb.
“For a whole week the system was largely inaccessible,” he continued. “People who wanted to comply with the law simply couldn’t and now they face becoming criminals because they couldn’t do what the law requires.”
Filed in Shasta County Superior Court, the lawsuit specifically targets the state Department of Justice and Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
Joining SAF in this legal effort are the Calguns Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation and three private citizens. Filed in Shasta County Superior Court, the groups want to block the requirement until a “reliable and functional registration system” is implemented.
“Predictably the state of California wants to take guns away from the law abiding. In this instance they couldn’t even build a working system to respect gun owners’ rights,” explained CGF Chairman Gene Hoffman. “We simply want to allow those who want to comply with the law to have more time with a working registration system.”
Not only did the registration website crash periodically, but it was leaking personal information. Users would have access to the home address, telephone number, email and Driver’s License number of someone else, as the NRA-ILA reported.
Compliance numbers further indicate just how poorly managed the system was. A grand total of 6,213 individuals successfully registered 13,519 “assault weapons” before the July 1st deadline, according to public records request obtained by GunsAmerica.
While the number of so-called “assault weapons” equipped with bullet buttons in the Golden State is unknown, it’s fair to assume there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in circulation. Sales on long guns in 2016 alone exceeded 750,000, according to Sacbee. Presumably many of those are AR-pattern rifles with bullet buttons because of the impending ban that was set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.
Under the new laws, gun owners were given one year to register their ARs, or until Jan. 1, 2018. However, lawmakers pushed back that date to July 1, 2018. Even with the added time, the whole thing was a disaster.
“It’s like a bad version of ‘Catch-22’,” Gottlieb observed. “The government required registration by the deadline, but the online registration failed and people couldn’t register. They’re required to obey the law, but the system broke down, making it impossible to obey the law. Now these people face the possibility of being prosecuted. We simply cannot abide that kind of incompetence.”