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2017 AW regulation: Withdrawn by CADOJ 2/10/17

Posted 02-18-2017 at 2:57 PM by CandG

Acronyms used

DOJ = California Department of Justice (writes the regulations)
OAL = Office of Administrative Law (middleman who approves/publishes "regular" regulations, or publishes without approval "file & print" regulations)
PC/GC = California Penal Code / Government Code (or a specific statute contained therein)
APA = Administrative Procedures Act (GC 11340-11361, the rules that all regulations must follow, if not exempted by statute)
AW/RAW = Assault Weapon (usually a felony to possess) / Registered Assault Weapon (usually legal to possess)
CFARS/CRIS = The DOJ's online firearm reporting/registration system, where AW registration will take place
CRPA = CA Rifle & Pistol Association, the organization leading the charge against these laws and regulations. Donate to the CRPA Foundation!
BB = "Bullet button", or any other typical 2000-2016 "removable with a tool" magazine-lock device.

Timeline of the regulatory process

6/30/2016 - The CA legislature passed two identical AW bans, SB880 and AB1135, changing "has a detachable magazine" to "does not have a fixed-magazine", defining "fixed magazine" as "cannot be removed without disassembly of the firearm action", and grandfathering previously-legal firearms that as a result became AWs, provided the owner register them as RAW by 1/1/18.
7/1/2016 - Governor Brown signed both bills into law. The bills tasked the DOJ with writing APA-exempted regulations for defining how the registration process will operate.
12/29/2016 - DOJ finally submits their regulations to the OAL, claiming all were APA-exempt, while most were really not exempt (including the famous "post-registration removal of BB" regulation).
1/1/2017 - The new/amended AW statutes (PC 30515, 30680, & 30900) took effect.
1/9/2017 - CRPA sent pre-litigation letters to the DOJ and to the OAL.
2/10/2017 - DOJ withdrew all their proposed regulations, except the amendments for existing regulations 5469 ("Who must register") and 5473 ("CFARS Account Requirements").
2/15/2017 (most recent movement) - OAL confirmed that 5469 and 5473 are in indefinite "limbo" while they wait for new regulations.
At some point - (there's no due date) DOJ may submit replacement regulations.
After that - When (and if) regulations are approved/published, the AW registration website will eventually go online (no due date for that, either).
12/31/2017 - Last day for AW registration.
1/1/2018 - If DOJ fails to make registration available before this date, the AW ban would essentially be unenforceable, as it would be a law that is impossible to comply with.


Why did DOJ withdraw them?
Most of the regulations were not, in fact, exempt from the APA. Pressure from CRPA likely helped them realize it was a losing battle.

What will the next round of regulations look like?
There are a few possibilities.
-They could remove all the non-exempt regulations and submit it to OAL as "file & print" again, which wouldn't be subject to APA rules, underground regulation laws, public comment period, or OAL approval, and are usually published by OAL after 30 workdays.
-They could include non-exempt regulations as they did before, but waive their APA exemption by filing them all as "regular", which would subject them to the public comment period, OAL approval, underground regulation laws, due dates, etc.
-They may be able (I'm not sure about this) to submit 2 regulation packages, where 1 set is simple registration regs for "file & print", and the other set is complicated and overreaching but subject to APA rules, underground regulation laws, public comment period, and OAL approval.
-They could double-down and try the same shenanigans again, trying to mix non-exempt regulations with exempt ones and trying to pass off the whole package as "file & print", which would be very embarrassing for them and result in a lawsuit.
-They could just call it "good enough" and run with only 5469 and 5473 as their only new regulations.

Could registration not be available before 2018? What happens then?
The DOJ still has 10 more months to get regulations published and begin accepting registrations, so don't get too excited yet. Nobody knows exactly what happens if they fail to make registration available this year, but it would certainly be very embarrassing for them at the very least. It's not very likely that all of us would get rounded up and arrested.

Can the DOJ reject an AW application for (fill in the blank) reason?
We don't know. The PC doesn't strictly say that the DOJ has to approve anything. They might not treat it as "shall issue" even though that was clearly the intent of the legislature. A denial for invalid reasons, however, would create an impossibility for you to comply with the law.

Do we have to leave the Bullet Button on after we register?
DOJ withdrew regulation 5477 (the "keep your BB on" mandate). While they may try to push it through again later, it's outside the scope of their APA exemption, so it's unlikely they'll be stupid enough to try to push something like that through again as "file and print".

Pros vs Cons of registering?
-Registering allows you to keep your evil-features, semi-auto, and non-fixed-magazine, but you're subject to transfer, lend, transport, and use restrictions. Any future litigation that changes the way RAWs are treated may help you. Future AW legislation probably wouldn't affect you. You can always convert back to non-RAW later. But, you're subject to transfer, lend, transport, and use restrictions.
-Not registering allows you to transfer, lend, transport, and use it in the same manners as any other gun, but you'll be missing evil-features, semi-auto, or a non-fixed-magazine. Any future litigation that changes the way RAWs are treated wouldn't help you. Future AW legislation will probably affect you. You can never convert to a RAW, it's a one-way street.
-Many of us are "not putting all our eggs in one basket."
-Many of us are waiting until the last minute to see if any new options present themselves.

12/29/2016 Proposed RAW Regulations - Summary & Status

5469 (amend) - "Definitions" "Who must register" - Pending
-existing definitions related to AW
-anyone who lawfully possessed a non-fixed-magazine (at the time called "non-detachable") AW from 2001 to 2016, must register.

5470 - "Which weapons must be registered" - Withdrawn by DOJ
-AW's that do not have a fixed magazine
-Rimfire AW pistols that do not have a fixed magazine

5471 - "Explanation of terms related to AW designation" - Withdrawn by DOJ
-44 new definitions ("detachable magazine", "bullet button", "disassembly of the action", etc.)
Note: DOJ is not allowed to define what an assault weapon is. The penal code already defines that, and it doesn't grant the DOJ authority to regulate their definition.

5472 - "Weapons that will NOT be registered" - Withdrawn by DOJ
-Anything bought after 2016
-Anything that was a registered or illegal AW under the pre-2017 laws (see the flowchart)
-featureless, fixed magazine, or not assembled and functional
-weapons without a serial number
-weapons without a DOJ-assigned serial number, if home-built

5473 (amend) - "Voluntary Cancellations" "CFARS account requirements" - Pending
-instructions for de-registration
-registrations must be filed electronically
-Must create a CFARS account and accept the terms (non-liability, true & accurate information)
-Must provide full name, email, security questions, and password

5474 - "Applicant & Firearms information" - Withdrawn by DOJ
-Your basic info (address, hair and eye color, driver's license, etc.)
-Must provide weapon type, make, model, serial, caliber, barrel length, color, date & place acquired
-Four clear digital photos: magazine release, whole weapon, left side & right side of receiver (at least 1 must include the serial etc.)

5474.1 - "Joint registration" - Withdrawn by DOJ
-must provide relationship to the primary registrant
-must be a spouse, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, domestic partner, or sibling
-must provide a scanned proof of address

5474.2 - "Firearms manufactured by unlicensed subjects (home builds)" - Withdrawn by DOJ
-Must obtain a DOJ-assigned serial number
-Must have serial and other required info applied to the weapon, following both state & federal law

5475 - "Fees" - Withdrawn by DOJ
-$15 per person per transaction
-$5 for duplicate registration letters

5476 - "Processing of applications" - Withdrawn by DOJ
-Must be received by 12/31/2017, processed in the order received by DOJ
-Must submit missing info within 30 days, or app is rejected
-No fee refund for rejected apps
-DOJ runs a firearms eligibility check
-DOJ will inform you by email if application is rejected or needs more info
-DOJ will inform you by snail mail (not email) if application is approved

5477 - "Post-registration modification of weapons" - Withdrawn by DOJ
-Can't change the type of magazine release device after registration
-Can only repair or replace it with a like-kind device
-Can change the device after you initiate a de-registration request

5478 - "Voluntary de-registration" - Withdrawn by DOJ
-De-registration will be accepted for no-longer-possessed firearms
-De-registration will be accepted for firearms modified to no longer be an AW
-Proof of sale required
-photographs or human inspection may be required as proof of modification


I'm not a lawyer. While I have done my best to provide accurate information here, nothing in this thread is intended as legal advice.
CRPA is doing a lot of stuff behind the scenes, and I am not privy to any of it. See their February Report for more info.
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