California Gun Registration Fails

When the registration deadline arrived, the state's website wasn't working, causing 1,000s of gun owners to become felons overnight.

"As much as I don't agree with what they're doing, I had a responsibility to my wife and children to register. I can't be a felon. I can't go to jail. I've never been arrested or been in handcuffs," Harry Sharp told the Sacramento Bee.

California instituted a June 30 deadline for their latest firearm control measure, a newly created registry for “bullet-button assault weapons.” These firearms have earned the nickname because they require the use of the tip of a bullet or similar implement to change magazines.

The bullet-button regulations were implemented in 1999, but California outlawed the device in 2016 in response to the San Bernardino shooting.

It bears noting that one of the rifles used in the attack was not legal under state law, as it was modified with a standard magazine catch. Another rifle used was illegal under federal law, because it had been converted to fire in full-auto.

Constitutional issues aside, California failed when it came to the the rollout of this new measure at the beginning of the month, with website issues preventing registration and making thousands non-compliant despite their best efforts. Sharp, and countless others, spent hours trying to register their firearms on the state’s web-based system, only to experience errors that prevented them from doing so, according to reports.

Sharp told the Sac Bee that he called the Department of Justice on July 2. The following Monday, was told that registration was his responsibility, and that they could not extend the deadline.

According to the Sacramento paper](https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article214798695.html) there could be tens of thousands of people so affected by the state's failure to provide working infrastructure for the new measure, based on records that California requires at the point of sale.

According to records the Bee obtained from California's Office of the Attorney General, there have been five million long gun sales in the state since 2000, though there is no way of knowing how many of those would require registration.

Lawsuit

In response to the state's failings, a suit has been filed against Xavier Becerra, California's Attorney General, by a coalition of gun owners and Second Amendment advocate groups.

Critics of the bill, such as Sean Brady, who represents the California Rifle and Pistol Association in the suit, believes many Californians weren’t even aware of the registration requirement to begin with, because it was poorly publicized.

Brady told the Bee "This law has created thousands of criminals, if not tens of thousands, of people who became unwitting criminals who didn't know they had to register their guns. They're felons now."