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California: Legislature Goes for Semi-Auto Ban Trifecta

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Article first appeared at Ammoland.com

Ammoland – The California legislature is back in session, and politicians are wasting no time seeking media attention by introducing ill-conceived gun bans that would ban millions of commonly owned firearms.

On January 14, 2016, Assembly Member David Chiu introduced AB 1663 (coauthored by Members Levine and Ting and backed by current California Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris). Immediately thereafter Assembly members Levine and Ting introduced AB 1664 (coauthored by Assembly Member Chiu).

Not to be outdone by the Assembly, State Senators Hall and Glazer introduced a similar bill, SB 880, on Friday, January 15, 2016 in the California Senate.

AB 1663 (which is a retread of vetoed SB-374 from 2013) will turn all “semiautomatic centerfire rifle[s] that do not have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept no more than 10 rounds” into “assault weapons.” Generally speaking, if you have a semiautomatic centerfire rifle and you can remove the magazine by pushing the magazine release button or your rifle has a “bullet button,” the rifle will be considered to be an “assault weapon” and you will be required to register the rifle as an “assault weapon” with the California Department of Justice. (A “bullet button” is a magazine disconnect locking device that replaces or covers the standard magazine release mechanism. The device forces a shooter to use a tool to remove the magazine. Under current law, the use of a “bullet button” prevents certain firearms from being classified as “assault weapons.”)

AB 1664 and SB 880 do roughly the same thing. They either redefine or rephrase the current definition of “assault weapon” to include firearms that are affixed with a “bullet button.”

All of these bills have one purpose: to redefine the phrase “assault weapon” in a way that will ban millions of commonly owned and lawfully possessed firearms. The term “assault weapon” is a legal term only, it has no technical meaning in firearms parlance. That’s why the gun ban lobby loves it. It means whatever they want it to mean. So the gun ban lobby is using these bills to expand the definition of “assault weapon” to affect widely popular and lawfully owned firearms. By redefining and expanding the meaning of the legal term “assault weapon,” these bills would dramatically expand the already byzantine legal definition of “assault weapon” and would ban millions of conventional firearms used  by hunters, target shooters, boy and girl scouts, and men and women who choose to own a firearm to defend themselves and their families.

In almost all instances, any one of these bills would require those who possess firearms equipped with a “bullet button” to register the firearm as “assault weapons” or face confiscation, arrest, prosecution, and jail. In almost all situations, gun owners would never be able to sell their firearms or pass them on as an inheritance.

Under each of these bills, the process of registering the firearm will require the owner to pay a fee and provide the following information to the state:

  • A description of the firearm and unique identifiers;
  • The date the firearm was acquired;
  • The name and address of the individual from whom, or business from which the firearm was acquired;
  • The registrant’s full name, address, telephone number, date of birth, height, weight, eye color, hair color, and;
  • California driver’s license number or California identification card number.
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Registered “assault weapons” may never be sold or passed down in the family in California. Those who fail to comply face having their homes searched and their all guns confiscated. They could also face arrest, prosecution, and sentencing ranging from probation to jail. These bills will make another class of accidental felons out of law abiding people who, like the DOJ’s own experts, often can’t determine what an “assault weapon” is!

If any of these bills are enacted, then unless folks realize that their guns are now considered “assault weapons,” and unless they register their guns and pay a fee (tax) to the state, millions of guns that have been owned safely for years will become illegal to possess and their unsuspecting owners would become felons at the stroke of a politician’s pen. That has happened many times in the past, because the state never allocates sufficient  funds to educate gun owners about the requirements of new laws.

Are you mad enough yet? Well, add this to the mix: Harris’ support for these bills is the height of hypocrisy!  It was her very own DOJ that, in 1999, defined “detachable magazine” as it is currently defined in the California Regulations and allowed magazine disconnect locks like the “bullet button” to be used to slow down the reloading process. That definition took almost a year for DOJ experts to finalize, after considering tens of thousands of public comments, including multiple letters submitted by lawyers for the NRA and CRPA. Now, sensing an opportunity to get attention she can use in her senatorial campaign, she doesn’t like it. But if she was serious about reducing gun violence, she would clean up her own messes. Not one but two California Auditor reports confirm that Attorney General Harris has failed miserably to maintain the databases and records that she claims are critical to keeping guns out of the wrong hands. [See Kamala Harris: Another Gun Control Hypocriteby C.D. Michel.] Her support for these bills is an effort to distract attention away from her abysmal failures, rather than a legitimate effort to protect us from violent felons and determined suicidal terrorists who can get any gun they want.

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Needless to say, the passage of any one of these bills would be disastrous for millions of California gun owners. Are you registered to vote and to permanently vote by mail? You will get a chance to show some politicians what you think of these bills in the June 2016 primary. The critical November election will then follow. With the stakes this high in the legislature, and with anti-gun initiatives looming, shame on any gun owner who isn’t. DEMAND that your gun owning friends register and vote! The state has made it easy: Register on line RIGHT NOW at www.sos.ca.gov/elections

Assembly Members David Chiu, Marc Levine, and Phil Ting and Senators Hall and Glazer must hear from all of California’s Second Amendment supporters opposing these erroneous bills.  It is IMPERATIVE for you to forward this CRITICAL alert to your family, friends, fellow sportsmen, gun owners, and Second Amendment supports to contact the authors of these bills NOW.

Contact information can be found below:

TAKE ACTION NOW! Subscribe to NRA-ILA and CRPA alerts to help fight back as the legislative session continues!

About California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA):

The California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA), founded in 1875, is a non-profit membership and donor supported organization with tens of thousands of members throughout California and the nation. CRPA’s members include police, professionals, firearm experts, the general public, and loving parents. CRPA is dedicated to promoting and defending the shooting sports, and to providing safety information, education, and skills training. CRPA also organizes and sanctions competitive shooting activities for both adult and junior shooters.

For more information, please visit www.CRPA.org.

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