California's state capitol building in Sacramento

California’s state capitol building in Sacramento

Gun owners and their organizations who sued the state of California for creating a new gun ownership registration demand, then letting the online system owners were expected to use fail, now are asking for an injunction against the state’s application of its law.

Lawyers for the Second Amendment Foundation and three other advocacy groups have filed an amended complaint against California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, asking for a preliminary injunction that would halt California’s enforcement of a new law restricting possession of so-called “bullet button assault weapons” because of a problem with the registration system during the week prior to the deadline.

Calguns Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation, and seven individuals are joining SAF in the effort.

The motion was filed in Shasta County Superior Court where the original lawsuit was filed. The case is known as Sharp, et al v. Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

“At issue is the apparent failure of the online California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS) operated by the state Department of Justice during the days prior to the registration deadline. During the week of June 25-30, which was the statutory registration deadline, the CFARS system was inaccessible and inoperable on a variety of web browsers across the state,” the SAF reported.

“Many users who were able to initially log in and begin the process could not finish because the system crashed, obliterating all of their work,” the SAF explains.

The problems are traceable to the state’s decision to underfund and understaff the program.

The gun owners now want to prevent enforcement of the ban against people who could not comply with the law because of the system failure, SAF said.

“This unjust California government created problem must be stopped immediately,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Gun owners should not be put at risk due to state regulatory incompetence.”

“This is fundamentally a simple lawsuit about a troubling issue,” Firearms Policy Coalition President Brandon Combs said, “Attorney General Becerra and his DOJ had one job to do: Provide a functional system for gun owners to use in registering their eligible firearms. But instead of doing their jobs, they created a huge new mess for law enforcement and put innocent people and lawfully-owned property at serious risk.”

“California cannot have it both ways,” said Calguns Foundation Chairman Gene Hoffman. “If it’s going to register and ban guns it cannot, through ineptitude, also make registration an illusion and defacto confiscation.”

WND reported in July that the lawsuit names California’s Department of Justice and AG Xavier Becerra as defendants.

Gottlieb explained that those who wanted to follow the state requirements simply couldn’t.

SAF said the goal is to have the court prevent DOJ from enforcing the law to allow individual plaintiffs and other citizens in the same situation to register their legally possessed firearms through a “reliable and functional registration system.” reported three gun owners each tried “for weeks” to comply with the state’s demands through its own system.

The complaint says Becerra’s office knew as far back as March the site was essentially nonfunctioning and the staff was underfunded.

“[One owner], for example, documented 50 attempts which either timed out or froze up without completing while multiple calls to technical support only met with automated instructions on how to clear browser settings and delete cookies,” said.

“Many people, including our clients, did everything they could to comply with the law and avoid criminal liability,” said George M. Lee, a lawyer on the case. “They used updated web browsers, hardware, different devices, and even did internet speed tests to make sure it wasn’t a problem on their end.”

The report pointed out that of some 13 million gun owners in the case, “a public records request filed by GunsAmerica detailed that just 6,213 individuals successfully registered 13,519 weapons before the June 30 deadline. Some 5 million rifles have been legally sold over the counter in the state since the use of bullet buttons became available in 2001.”


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