California Attorney General Xavier Becerra wants gun owners affected by recent changes in the law to know that the clock is ticking.
This week Becerra’s Department of Justice issued a reminder that all “bullet button assault weapons” must be registered with the state before midnight on June 30 and has been running a countdown clock on the department’s website on firearms regulations. The registration, required by changes in state regulations from two measures signed into law in 2016, applies to those with lawfully possessed firearms newly classified as an assault weapon without a fixed magazine, including those with so-called bullet buttons.
Those electing to register their firearms have to pay a $15 fee and submit at least four photos of each gun to include close-ups of the bullet button and both sides of the receiver through an online process.
Brandon Combs, president of the California-based Firearms Policy Coalition, told Guns.com that Becerra and state lawmakers are offering law-abiding gun owners little real alternative to comply.
“The State of California has made gun ownership a Hobson’s choice, wherein one must either accept registration that may yet let to a confiscatory ban like Prop 63 and heavy-handed law enforcement or waive fundamental rights by not having guns at all,” said Combs.
Combs argues the state has built a scheme that criminalizes non-compliance, with an ultimate goal of civilian disarmament, “and they’re working towards that by making gun ownership so risky and burdensome that many people will forego exercising their rights, and others will choose to take the risk of non-compliance – and if they’re caught, they lose their guns and right.”
George Lee, a San Francisco Bay-area attorney specializing in firearms law told Guns.com that registration is effectively “what we call generational confiscation,” going on to explain that once a firearm is registered as a so-called “assault weapon,” it can’t be transferred, handed down or held in a trust.
“Once you die, it simply must be surrendered, rendered inoperable, or taken out of state,” explained Lee. “In other words, it’s simply a long-term confiscation.”
As for Becerra, who just picked up a win in the state primary, he is up for reelection in November and is pushing his “tough on guns” record in his campaign.