File this one under, “inevitable”—the Second Amendment foundation is suing the California DOJ and Attorney General Xavier Becerra over the state’s disastrous implementation of its bullet button rifle registration system.
“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 SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “For a whole week, the system was largely inaccessible. 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.”
Bullet Button Rifle Lawsuit
The deadline for registering a bullet button “assault rifle” in California was 11:59:59 p.m. on Saturday, June 30. Bullet button rifle owners rushed to register their rifles in the week leading up to the deadline. The CFARS system couldn’t handle the influx of traffic and experienced significant outages as a result. Many users who started the registration process were unable to finish because the system crashed, wiping out their work.
Gottlieb argues that the CFARS system was underfunded and understaffed.
“It’s like a bad version of ‘Catch-22,'” Gottlieb said. “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.”
Joining the SAF in the lawsuit are the Calguns Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation and three private citizens.
“Attorney General Xavier Becerra seems to care about everything but the constitution, the rule of law, and law-abiding California gun owners,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “If Becerra spent as much time doing his job as he does talking about his pet crusades against the federal government, hundreds of thousands of Californians would not be in legal jeopardy right now.”
“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.”
To make matters worse, the NRA revealed in a recent report that there was a data breach during the registration process.
“There have been confirmed reports of individuals attempting to register their firearms who were improperly given access to the account information associated with another individual, due to a complete breakdown of CA DOJ’s registration application system,” the NRA’s report said. “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’—including the firearms make/model/serial number and all of the photos and attachments to the user’s registration application.”
Faulty Registration System
Harry Sharp, a 52-year-old stay-at-home father and hunter, told the Sacramento Bee he managed to register his Steyr AUG, but he was unable to register his three other rifles because the system kept crashing.
“I got very little sleep that weekend,” said Sharp, a 52-year-old stay-at-home father and hunter from Redding. “I worked late on Friday, and on Saturday morning, I had a couple pops of coffee and kept going at it the whole day.”
Sharp said he called a DOJ customer service line and asked what he should do. He said he was told the registration, or lack thereof, was his problem, and that the deadline couldn’t be extended.
The person responding told him that the registration was his responsibility, Sharp said. The person also said they could not extend the deadline.
“…I had a responsibility to my wife and children to register,” Sharp said, adding that he “can’t be a felon. I can’t go to jail. I’ve never been arrested or been in handcuffs. I had a couple of speeding tickets when I was younger. But all of a sudden, like with the other bans, I became a bad guy.”
The SAF is asking the Shasta County Superior Court to stop DOJ from enforcing the law until a “reliable and functional registration system” can be put into place.