On Friday, May 25, the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms (CA DOJ) formally submitted a proposed regulation expanding the application of the definitions for terms relating to “assault weapons” to apply in all circumstances. The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) will decide whether to approve the regulation on or before July 10, 2018.
As previously reported, the proposed regulation incorporates all the definitions CA DOJ adopted for the registration of newly classified “assault weapons” under Senate Bill No. 880 and Assembly Bill No. 1135. Definitions which CA DOJ originally attempted to improperly apply to the identification of “assault weapons” for enforcement purposes. But because CA DOJ’s regulatory authority was limited to the registration of such firearms, OAL formally rejected CA DOJ’s attempt at applying those regulations to the enforcement of CA “assault weapon” laws.
This latest regulatory action, however, is just another example of CA DOJ overstepping its regulatory authority and avoiding OAL’s formal rejection of their previous attempt at doing so. As stated in CA DOJ’s Initial Statement of Reasons, “there currently are no definitions of the terms” used to identify “assault weapons.” What CA DOJ conveniently fails to mention, however, is that CA DOJ intentionally repealed prior definitions which had been in place for nearly two decades to make way for their new definitions?
The proposed regulation is also strictly limited to expanding the currently enforceable definitions for registration to apply to enforcement and does not contain any newly proposed definitions. As a result, CA DOJ’s responses to many public comments simply read:
This comment is irrelevant because it is not specifically directed at the agency’s proposed action or to the procedures followed by the agency in proposing or adopting the action. Thus, the Department does not need to provide a response.
In other words, CA DOJ is not interested, nor does it care, if you disagree with the language of any of the definitions which will now apply to the enforcement of CA’s “assault weapon” laws—definitions which you were denied an opportunity to provide comment on.
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