DOJ, Bullet buttons, Assault Weapons, and Extra Constitutional LawSteven Lieberman
DOJ, Bullet buttons, Assault Weapons, and Extra Constitutional Law
On Dec 29th the California Dept. of Justice filed proposed regulations regarding assault weapons. Nothing like waiting till the last minute. Literally, as the laws regarding what constitute, and what prevents a weapon from being an assault weapon were set to change in a few hours on Jan 1.
When the California Legislature under SB880 and subsequently Prop 63 amended the law regarding black scary looking rifles, there was only one certainty… the law would take effect on Jan 1 2017.
Without getting into all of the specifics the gravamen of the legislation turns on what is required to be constituted a “fixed magazine.”
You see, if the magazine is permanently “fixed in place”, then by definition the weapon is not an “assault weapon”.
For years the “Bullet Button” a device that requires the use of a tool (or a bullet) to release the magazine was considered permanent enough to keep the weapon from being classified as an “assault weapon”.
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Now, the non-shooters of California came to the conclusion that the bullet button should not be enough to take the rifle out of the “assault weapon” category. Now you need to physically “crack” the action before removing the magazine.
The law was also drafted to allow individuals that owned a “bullet button” rifle prior Jan 1. to register said rifle as an “assault weapon.”. Now let’s think logically here for a second. If the rifle is an “assault rifle” what would the logic be to force the placement of a device that was designed to keep it from being an “assault rifle” in the first place?
Well… apparently DOJ sees no problem in this logical inconsistency.
Additionally, their desire to operate in contravention of the Constitution also does not seem to bother them too much.
In their proposed regulations designed to implement the “assault weapons registration process” (A process that should have been completed months ago)… the DOJ has finally said, “Yeah.. you know what…. you can register that rifle you got there… but it has to stay in the same exact configuration it was in on Dec. 31 2016.
Well… this is problematic for the following reasons:
- The legislature, as well as the drafters of Prop 63 could have very easily stated that firearms must be kept with the bullet button in place. They didn’t. They don’t even provide evidence of this intent through supposition. They are silent on the matter. The DOJ cannot create it’s own extra-legislative law that goes beyond the CA Penal Code, in an effort to satisfy their own political agenda.
- What exactly is a rifle? This gets a little complicated. According to the Feds, a rifle is the serialized receiver. If you have a barreled action, you have a rifle. If you have just the action you have a rifle. If you have something on the barrel that they want to regulate and you claim that that regulation violates the second amendment you will get thrown to the curb,… that is because the 9th has already stipulated that anything outside the receiver is not a firearm and thus subject to regulation without violating the Second. So you can’t have it both ways….either the receiver stands alone as a firearm or it doesn’t
- Nothing in the law demands that you build out your rifle. Let’s say that you owned a stripped lower on December 29th. Are you now prohibited from ever building out your rifle? Of course not. Here is the thing. If you build it out in March and put a bullet button on it you instantly become a felon. Your picture of your rifle (A requirement in the proposed regs) that you send to DOJ violates your 5th amendment right against self incrimination.
So… where do we stand now?
We don’t know.
As of this writing it is impossible to register your Assault Weapon, because even though the website has been provided via the DOJ… the mechanism to register as required by law is not functioning yet.
(The website is https://cfars.doj.ca.gov/login.do)
Once again DOJ has failed miserably at the most basic of tasks… and the reason behind this failure unfortunately is not incompetence… it’s to further a political agenda.