Gun rights advocates in California are celebrating a settlement with the state which will allow residents more time to lawfully register their weapons after a system roll-out botched by Democrat officials threatened them with possible prosecution, as the Washington Free Beacon reports.
The agreement comes after advocacy groups in the state sued California’s Democrat-led Department of Justice over a requirement that that “bullet-button assault weapons” be registered by a July 1, 2018 deadline, alleging that the registration system itself was unavailable for much of the week preceding that date.
Gun owners reported attempting to fulfill the registration process multiple times using different web browsers and devices, with no success, repeatedly encountering system timeouts and crashes along the way, as KTLA in Los Angeles noted.
Because of the registration website’s inaccessibility and non-functionality, gun owners who were unable to complete the process ahead of the deadline were subject to possible prosecution through no fault of their own, a fact which prompted legal action on their behalf.
Under California law, transporting any unregistered assault weapon – even to take it to a shooting range – is chargeable as a felony offense that can yield a sentence of several years in prison, as KTLA further noted.
According to the terms of the settlement, the state will reopen the registration process for affected gun owners and halt prosecutions for a period of at least seven months. Furthermore, the state will be required to pay more than $151,000 in legal fees to the Firearms Policy Coalition.
Upon court approval, the state will also launch a public awareness campaign to inform gun owners of the new registration opportunity and provide an additional three months for those with the AR-15-variant weapons to comply.
Those who brought legal action on behalf of California gun owners lauded the terms of the agreement, with attorney George M. Lee saying:
We’ve always believed that this was about giving gun owners a reasonable opportunity to comply with the law and not be made felons at the stroke of midnight because the State couldn’t operate a website…
…the injunction will afford significant legal protections for possibly tens of thousands of gun owners.
The much-maligned registration system at the heart of this dispute was implemented by then-California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D), who has since been confirmed as President Joe Biden’s secretary of Health and Human Services.