Exclusive: Public Records Prove California Gun Registration Was a Total Disaster

Many Californians have been unable to register their “assault weapons” using the DOJ website. (Photo: Youtube KPIX CBS)

No one is surprised that the California gun registration website crashed and burned last week, but that doesn’t make it any better for the thousands of Golden State gun owners who unwillingly (or unwittingly) became criminals on July 1st.

Hundreds of individuals contacted the NRA-ILA and the California Rifle and Pistol Association 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.

“In some cases, the system allowed users to see all the personal information (including home address, telephone number, email, and Driver’s License number) for another user and all the information that user had submitted for registering their firearms as ‘assault weapons,’” according to the NRA-ILA.

Franklin Armory’s Jay Jacobson summed it up for a Bay Area CBS affiliate: “Everybody that’s doing this is doing so to comply, they have a willingness to follow the law. And yet they’re making it as difficult as possible,” he said.

New California law required owners of certain semi-automatic rifles fitted with “bullet buttons” to register their firearms with the Department of Justice before July 1. GunsAmerica submitted a California DOJ public records request to determine how many individuals had registered, and we received a response this week.

A grand total of 6,213 individuals successfully registered 13,519 “assault weapons” before the deadline, according to Deputy Attorney General Robert D. Wilson. That number does not include registrations that, like Jacobson’s, have been held up, but Jacobson still says he’s “stunned that the number is so low.”

“They are, quite frankly, manipulating the application process to restrict the number of people who would successfully complete the process,” Jacobson told GunsAmerica. “I would be willing to bet that more people have applied and have not received their permit yet due to manipulation by the department.”

SEE ALSO: See the Ways Californians Are Circumventing Gun Control Set to Roll Out in 2018

By “manipulation,” Jacobson means that bureaucrats in the DOJ are trying to create regulations that do not comport with the law. In his case, the DOJ has been holding up registration on one of his rifles, he believes, because they’re classifying a stock with an adjustable length of pull as a “telescoping stock” (pictured above). The real problem is that because it’s already outfitted with a pistol grip, it shouldn’t matter what kind of stock it has: it’s an “assault weapon” that must be registered, and Jacobson is trying to do so.

“They have no right to deny an application because they feel that that’s a feature that I didn’t check on the form. For them to harass a gun owner by saying, ‘You didn’t check the right box,’ they are outside the bounds and they’re going to pay a price for that,” he said. “It’s not right. The bottom line is, I respect the government that follows the law. I don’t respect the government that is willing to subvert the law to their own ambition.”

After website malfunctions, data breaches, and the threat of legal prosecution, many Californians have also likely opted not to comply with the law or to modify their semi-automatic rifles to make them compliant.

The NRA-ILA released a bulletin outlining the options for those who failed or were unable to register before July 1st. Along with modification, gun owners can disassemble their rifles, sell them, transfer them out of state, or surrender them to law enforcement. Registration is no longer an option.

Jacobson told CBS he’s tried unsuccessfully to register his AR-15 three separate times. In all three instances, his registration attempts were delayed, but he wasn’t given a rationale. When we spoke to Jacobson two weeks after his CBS interview, the status of his registrations hadn’t changed.

“I look forward to the day when we have a legitimately-run attorney general’s office in the state of California,” Jacobson said. “We haven’t had that for a long time.”

UPDATE 7/12/18: The Second Amendment Foundation along with several other pro-gun groups sued the Attorney General and the state DOJ requesting an injunction on the bullet-button registration mandate until the broken website is fully and reliably operational. Read more here.

***Shop GunsAmerica for your California Compliant Rifles and Pistols.*** 

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six 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 Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 45 comments… add one }
  • Bill Prusinski July 20, 2018, 5:32 pm

    Armed citizens are who the California govt. fears most, Why else would they want to criminalize and dis-arm innocent citizens? Its awfully difficult to oppress an armed society. I think we should dis-arm Gerry Brown and his gang of thugs in the state legislature. Or at least dis-arm their body guards.

  • Al July 19, 2018, 12:26 pm

    And on another note, it’s time for Cali to split into three States.
    I won’t mind buying a Flag with 52 Stars.

  • FWiedner July 17, 2018, 3:21 pm

    Let’s not be naive here… The crash of the website was orchestrated by the State of California.

    The direct intent was, as the article observes to render thousands of Golden State gun owners, unwillingly (or unwittingly) into criminals on July 1st.

    This is how totalitarian states work. They make no account for inability to comply. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. These citizens are now law-breakers who are just waiting for their turn at having their door kicked in and their families murdered by jack-boot thugs in the middle of the night.

  • Al July 17, 2018, 11:57 am

    So, are we to understand that the land of Silicone Valley had computer problems?!?
    Sorry, I don’t buy it. I agree, this was a deliberate setup to prevent registration, in order to get rid of or even seize once lawfully owned firearms.
    Someone pointed out these are fascist, not communist tactics, and I agree.
    They don’t want people owning these guns, this was a set up.

  • walter stephens July 15, 2018, 10:50 am

    It will be much easier to get people to turn them in than you think. Here is how they will do it. Once they have established their data base they will say you have x number of days to turn them in or after a certain date they will fine you $1000 per day per gun. they won’t have to come to your door, they will lien your house, bank account, pay check. Then they will send you a letter saying turn in these firearms that you registered with the State. Comply or we will fine you. How many can afford to resist that? This is why I have urged people NOT to comply with the registration mandate or you will give them to the State when they decide to demand them. They will not be going door to door as people have imagined. The bureaucratic method is their weapon of choice. Why do you think they want to know who has them and where they are so badly?

  • C.Aldridge July 15, 2018, 12:02 am

    What do you expect from the CA DOJ and CA AG? Stupidity comes to mind. The only reason they have for this BS is confiscation, whether legal or not according to the US constitution. Watch what happens if that butthead Newsom gets elected. Everyone needs to vote against him and for the Second Amendment supporting candidate. Vote these FOOLS out of office.

  • Mike Watkins July 14, 2018, 12:48 pm

    Here’s the scary part of living in CA with a firearm (“assault weapon”) that you didn’t register: first, it’s likely they know you have it. There are LOTS of records, from retailers sales to credit card records to ammunition sales. I doubt that more than 10% of the firearms in question have absolutely NO records somewhere pointing towards them/their owners. California Government is quite likely already in possession of many of those records, is acquiring what they don’t now have.

    Second, they now have “justification” to seize them. They aren’t going to send tens of thousands of police simultaneously to homes and businesses to grab them all. No, they will make you “want” to voluntarily turn them in.

    Third, the beginning will be a few highly publicized and extremely violent raids on “dangerous terrorists.” Gun owners, their families, and cops will die, and the fearsome-looking weapons will be displayed to highlight to the public just how fanatical and horrible these “assault weapon” owners are. Just how they select which gun owners to initially label as extremely dangerous, we can only guess. Maybe by the Molon Labe bumper sticker on your pickup?

    Fourth, tens of thousands of terrified gun owners will rush to get rid of these firearms, for fear of seeing their own families ruthlessly slaughtered.

    Fifth, there will be resisters, and they also will be severely dealt with, as the general public applauds the removal of those “horrible terrorists” from our midst.

    Yeah, I would be getting the eff out of CA by now.

    • I Love Liberty July 19, 2018, 1:14 pm

      I left California over fifteen years ago and have absolutely no desire to go back. Vote for candidates that support the American citizen’s rights. Expect to earn your own way and do not vote for candidates that will give you “free stuff.”

      Now I own two semi-automatic rifles chambered in .300 AAC Blackout and .308 Winchester. Both have thirty and twenty round “standard capacity” magazines in a state that supports our right to keep and bear arms. Arm up citizens and learn how to use your rifles. We have three big hedges against tyrants: the jury box, the ballot box and the gun magazine box. Hopefully we never have to use our firearms and can keep tyranny in check with the courts and the ballot box.

  • OlCrustyVet July 14, 2018, 12:39 pm


  • OlCrustyVet July 14, 2018, 12:38 pm

    Damn straight, brother.
    Can’t wait to get my Fam outta this S#! Th0le.

  • JoshO July 14, 2018, 2:16 am

    I love it — less than 7k people registered in a state of 40 million! I wouldn\’t have either. Good on ya, Cali gun owners. Maybe there\’s hope for America yet.

  • G July 14, 2018, 12:06 am

    Back in the 90’s, during the original registration, I lived in Sacramento. I had a gun that required registration, but didn’t know featureless at the time. = )

    I headed to the downtown Sheriff’s station. I walked up to the window and was asked my business. I told the Officer I needed to have my fingerprints done to register an AW with the DOJ. Nope, we will not print you for that. After some discussion, no it was.

    I know, the actual DOJ, it’s their game. They did my previous prints for work. Got there, filled out the paperwork, under reason, to register an AW with you guys. Short time later I’m called back to the window. Yeah, Sir I’m sorry but we won’t print you for this reason. WTF, it’s your requirement. Nope, sorry. Then I noticed there were a few employees standing around staring at me. I asked who would print and was told the Sheriff’s would.

    OK, thanks. As I was leaving a print Tech approached me and told me to contact a Sheriff Sub station, their print Tech are independent contractors. Sure enough, the Elk Grove Tech printed me. This time around it was featureless.

  • MJ July 13, 2018, 8:44 pm

    Everything and I mean everything the government touches turns to incompetence.
    How many thugs registered their illegal weapons?
    Law abiding citizens become instant criminals just because they said so.
    The reason? Because only law abiding citizens would comply with a totally asinine law with no merit to public safety. Let me fix this: 1. Any gun used offensively for purposes other than a declared war is ILLEGAL. 2. Any type of gun used lawfully to protect and defend against number 1 is allowed.
    Since liberals are mentally incapable of separating reality and fiction, how did they come into power? Because we weren’t listening.

  • Mikial July 13, 2018, 5:25 pm

    Honest Patriots living in California . . . move out of there. And don’t make the excuse that you can’t move because of work, etc. I was stuck there for 18 months after getting out of the Army while stationed at the NTC in the Mojave Desert. I had a family of five and still managed to find work in another state that respected our rights and move out without any major drama.

    California is an atrocity, just like New York and Maryland. Yeah, there’s some nice countryside but there’s nice countryside in lots of places.

    Move and find freedom.

  • Bob July 13, 2018, 2:53 pm

    The NCIS law of 1993 prohibits registration of guns or gun owners… Let them stuff it..

    • Z July 13, 2018, 4:16 pm

      It’s NICS and the background provision went into effect in 1998 as part of the Brady legislation that passed in 1993. Individual states can implement their own NICS programs and they become the point of contact between the FFL and the NICS.

  • mka July 13, 2018, 2:07 pm

    Take your anger to the nuts that make these rules. It’s easier and has fewer reinforcements to deal with.
    The man making a living in law-enforcement follows orders. The communist ordering him is the place to take your arguments.

    • Z July 13, 2018, 3:49 pm

      Facist, not communist.

      • Poggy jones February 17, 2020, 9:26 am


  • Mike Watkins July 13, 2018, 1:30 pm

    Sorry, Californians, but your state is a 3rd world shithole, and you have allowed it to happen by not being diligent for the past 50 years. Yes, many of us saw it coming that far back. How, you ask? When you don’t bother to show up for such things as school board and city council elections, for starters. The asshole libs who run your state, and others, mostly started with lesser local offices where they applied their liberal crap to schools and towns, then moved up to the state level. By the time they ran for state offices, they had name recognition and a following of determined fellow liberal airheads.

    This is a lesson the rest of us need to learn from. You get out and do the work, or in the future you really don’t have the standing to bitch at how your state has been taken over by queers and commies.

  • JOHN T. FOX July 13, 2018, 1:13 pm


  • Floyd July 13, 2018, 12:27 pm

    This is exactly why we have a second amendment and a big thumbs up to all who did not register they are real patriots!!

  • David Welsh July 13, 2018, 12:10 pm

    Why the hell is Jacobsen trying to register his AR? Hasn’t re read the 2e? Doesn’t he know the CA gubment is the enemy of freedom?

  • Z July 13, 2018, 11:30 am

    Read the Federalist Papers No. 29.

  • tyler kent July 13, 2018, 11:22 am

    So, um, how do the state records of 13,519 registrations “prove” that the gun registration scheme was a “disaster”? If you are claiming that the registration system is a mess, that certainly seems likely. But how do the state records prove that the system is a disaster? The headline appears to bear little relevance to the story.

  • SuperG July 13, 2018, 10:49 am

    It is simple really. The state makes more money off making the gun owners criminals, so the fix was in, as they care covered from “clerical errors”. People do not understand how evil their state government is there.

  • RGE July 13, 2018, 9:24 am

    The people of the State of California have an obligation to vote against these morons that run their various agencies. The problem is the vote is packed. Its packed by a system designed to favor only a small swath of voters, its stacked and gerrymandered to the point that no matter how much people will vote, their votes don’t count because the liberals who have hijacked the electoral system in California have rigged it so that only they will win and the rest will lose.

    So what did many Californians do? They opted to vote to split their state into three states, thereby removing and thwarting the politically corrupt people that have long held them hostage. The “Left Coast” is not so named because it is on the Western coast of the US. Its named this way because of its extreme leftist ideals: “Disarm, socialize, communize, and discriminate against and jail anyone who opposes their ideals. Free speech is only free if it contains their message; freedom of choice is only free if the choices are the ones they choose; individualism is not an option, its all collectivism clothed in the word “individualism”. To me they are a self-destructive bunch and soon, I predict, there will be a mass white flight from CA leaving it a high tax, bankrupt state far more in debt than it is today.

    • Commiforna July 13, 2018, 10:27 am

      So true.. Dreamed everyday to leave this sh!thole.

    • David Welsh July 13, 2018, 12:14 pm

      It will become a defacto Mehico. But the elite will always have theirs. Most people are pathetic to vote for those commie pricks/punks.

    • jim July 13, 2018, 12:33 pm

      I am not sure I understand the intent of your second paragraph. It reads like you think the plan to separate into three states is good for conservatives. If that is the case, you are so off the deep end, that I hardly know where to start. Conservatives did not concoct the plan, it was developed by a Bay Area IT magnate, very liberal, who wants to split the state into three states. The boundaries will ensure that a Democrat majority is present in each new state. Instead of one far-Left Democrat state, we will then have three, which will give the Democrat party FOUR MORE SENATE SEATS, which will give them near permanent control of the U.S. Senate. This plan MUST NOT BE IMPLEMENTED!! We must accept the fact that Kommiefornia is a lost cause, at least in the short term. And, we must protect our Senate majority BY GETTING OUT TO VOTE. Any Conservative that does not vote should be humiliated by their own laziness. FAILURE TO VOTE IS A VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRAT PARTY, because you have failed to cancel out a vote of that vile party.

      • Gib July 13, 2018, 1:26 pm

        You sir are 100% correct.

      • OlCrustyVet July 14, 2018, 12:41 pm

        By golly.. I think you have something there. Thinking about it that way proves, without a doubt, splitting should never be done. Thanks for sharing. MAGA

      • Poggy jones February 17, 2020, 9:31 am

        Constitutionally a state cannot split without the approval vote of the federal legislation, which is the U.S. Congress.
        Now who is dumb enough to think that will fly?

    • bill July 13, 2018, 1:15 pm

      Jacobson is an idiot for trying to comply with a Nazi like regulation unless he is trying to show that Kalifornexicos’ gun laws are anti bill of rights and illegal. the article says 13,000 some semi auto rifles were registered. that is the disaster and it’s for the Nazis running the state. there are estimated that there are somewhere between 100,000 and 11,000,000 firearms illegally classified as “assault weapons”. I truly hope that the latter is the correct number.

  • Mark Are July 13, 2018, 8:56 am

    So sad to see that so many are willing to get on their knees to placate their so called public servants. Those that register will give them up when the time comes, if it does, because life is sweet them at the price of chains and slavery. But the intolerant 3% will not give them up and may start going out on a hunting spree for tyrants.

  • DENNIS F CONNOLLY July 13, 2018, 8:32 am

    They should hold onto their arms. They will need them when the California storm trooper Nazi’s come to get them

  • Reginald July 13, 2018, 8:31 am

    The solution is to pack up and get on I-10, I-15, or I-40. Go east until someone says to you how y’all doing, then you will know you have arrived in the USA

    • Johnny July 13, 2018, 11:51 am

      I don’t mean to be combative here and I can’t say I totally disagree. You do have a good point…but, some of us aren’t the type to tuck our tails and run away when things get tough or worse than tough. The 1% of good law abiding folks that are willing to stand fight back are the only chance we have. Sorry, I don’t believe in that new little cutesy III% term…95% of that “III%” will run away the firs time they hear the word fight.

      What was it that Edmund Burke said? The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

      And with that quote #2 to close ‘er out: The best thing you can do in any situation is the right thing. The next thing you can do is the wrong thing. But, the worst thing you can do in any situation, is NOTHING.

      We need some good people to stick around and do the right thing.

  • Jay July 13, 2018, 7:52 am

    Insurrection: an act or instance of rising in revolt, rebellion, or resistance against civil authority or an established government.
    The State of Commiefornia is in a state of insurrection against the Constitution and the Federal government and now we can only hope are brothers and sister with firearms are doing the same to them!

  • Jim's Firearms July 13, 2018, 6:38 am

    What’s telling is the lack of concern the State of California has for it’s citizenry. They should be doing all they can to alleviate the burden of becoming a criminal for those that choose to comply.
    This will be challenged on a federal level and dismissed as an unreasonable law. Californians, even the most liberal, are becoming fed up with the direction of the State.

    • Fal Phil July 13, 2018, 9:31 am

      Since when have leftist-collectivists cared about citizenry. For them, citizens are a possession to be used as the ruling elite sees fit. Think of it as a form of neo-feudalism, and the citizens are serfs. We can’t have armed serfs running around now, can we?

    • Z July 13, 2018, 3:46 pm

      By what mechanism would a state law requiring registration be challenged on a national level? Who exactly would bring the suit forward? Can Texas prove that California’s registration requirement somehow causes it financial harm?

  • Dr Motown July 12, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Hate to ask, but I know many that would be interested in purchasing these “unregistered” firearms…

  • Bobs your uncle July 12, 2018, 10:14 am

    Disaster!! and who is surprised? add it to the list.

    • joefoam July 13, 2018, 9:13 am

      Another gov’t run disaster, say it isn’t so. This instills so much confidence in my safety I’m going for a walk in some downtown area or slum with money hanging out of my pockets, knowing that I am safe from those deadly ‘assault weapons’.

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