Gunnery Network News
America's Rifle Not Welcome
AR-15's effectively banned in California!
Can confiscation be far behind?
Written by Joshua Chaffin
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - Californians face a Sunday deadline to
register their assault weapons with the state or face three years in prison, but pro-gun organizations on Friday said they planned to sue to block the new law,
the statute is too vague and confusing.
So far some 10,000 Californians have registered their firearms and paid a $20 fee under the law going into effect Jan. 1 that bans the sale of assault weapons and requires current owners to register their guns. Failure to do so could result in
three years in prison and $500 in fines.
But Chuck Michel, an attorney who represents the California Rifle and Pistol Association, said he plans to file suit next week and seek an injunction to either
lift or extend the deadline for gun owners who don't understand what he described as "confusing" new legal definitions of assault weapons.
"At a minimum, we need the rules clarified and we need more time to comply," Michel said in a telephone interview. "The regulations were only finalized on Dec. 5. So instead of having a year for people to review the regulations and consider whether (they) covered their firearm, they had 25 days."
Michel added the law would affect about 500,000 assault weapons. But state officials disputed that figure, saying nobody knows how many of the guns are on the streets and that pro-gun groups only characterize the statute as confusing in order to bolster their potential lawsuits.
Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for the state Attorney General, also pointed out his
office has spent more than $1 million on a public education drive, ran public service announcements on radio and television and sent firearms experts to NRA chapters around the state.
"We've had more than 10,000 registration cards come in from assault weapon owners," Barankin said. "It appears to us the only people confused about the law
are those who must be confused in order to give their lawsuit a chance."
CALIFORNIA GUN LAWS AMONG STRICTEST IN NATION
California's gun laws, among the strictest in the nation, have been bitterly opposed by pro-gun groups such as the National Rifle Association which argue existing laws should be better enforced before new ones are enacted.
The state legislature approved the new assault weapon statute soon after the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Colorado where two teenage gunman killed 13 people and wounded 23 people before shooting themselves at the school.
The new rules closed a loophole in a 1989 law by banning weapons with certain
characteristics and capabilities, such as pistol grips. The earlier law had banned assault weapons by name and allowed the state to add similar names to the list. But anti-gun organizations said gun makers skirted the law by simply changing the names of the weapons or making small changes.
The brewing battle also comes months after proposals to require handgun owners
in California to register their weapons and get licenses to use them, just as they
do with automobiles, died in the state legislature.
Democratic Gov. Gray Davis had said he wanted a moratorium on new gun control
legislation because it was an election year. Still, last year Davis signed a range of
tough new state gun control laws that included a ban on the sale and possession
of cheap "Saturday night specials" and required locks and other safety devices on