The state of California has agreed in a settlement to provide another 90-day window to allow gun owners to register their legally owned “assault weapons.”
Gun-rights groups argued in a lawsuit that the state’s registration website was down for much of the week prior to the previous deadline, which put thousands of gun owners in legal jeopardy. Gun owners who tried but failed to register their “bullet button” semi-automatic rifles due to technical difficulties will not be prosecuted for missing the previous July 1, 2018, deadline, according to the settlement.
“We’ve always believed that this was about giving gun owners a reasonable opportunity to comply with the law and not be made felons at the stroke of midnight because the State couldn’t operate a website,” noted George M. Lee, an attorney for the pro-gun side. “With the Court’s approval, the injunction will afford significant legal protections for possibly tens of thousands of gun owners.”
The Second Amendment Foundation also celebrated the win.
“It’s fair to say our lawsuit prevented guns from being banned and confiscated, and their owners from being prosecuted,” said Second Amendment Foundation founder and executive vice president Alan M. Gottlieb.
As GunsAmerica reported at the time, hundreds of individuals contacted gun-rights groups in the wake of the July 1st deadline. Some reported constant crashes and errors while using the California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS), and others reported being granted access to personal information that did not belong to them.
A total of 6,213 individuals successfully registered 13,519 “assault weapons” before the deadline. Franklin Armory’s Jay Jacobson said at the time he was “stunned that the number is so low.”
California has not yet announced when the 90-day window will begin, but they agreed in the settlement to accept online as well as paper registrations.
Now gun-rights groups in California are turning their attention to a much more momentous cause: overturning the “assault weapon” ban entirely.
“With this important agreement to protect the rights, liberty, and property of California gun owners behind us, we now look forward to striking down the State’s ban on so-called ‘assault weapons’ and restoring Second Amendment rights through our Miller lawsuit, other actives cases, and future litigation,” said the Firearm Policy Coalition’s Senior Director of Legal Operations, Adam Kraut.
Filed in 2019, Miller v. Becerra would overturn California’s ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms. U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez secured the case last year after striking down the state’s “high-capacity” magazine ban and the state’s requirement to pass a background check before purchasing ammunition.
Anti-gun groups were livid when Judge Benitez was assigned the case while gun-rights groups are hopeful that he’ll hand down a favorable ruling.
To read all the terms of the latest settlement, click here.