Following the closure of the “assault weapon” registration period, NRA and CRPA received complaints from hundreds of individuals who were unable to register their firearms as required because CA DOJ’s online application system was unable to handle the amount of traffic it received. Constant crashes and errors plagued DOJ’s online registration system for weeks leading up to the registration deadline. Because DOJ only provided an electronic means of registration, it was impossible for those who faced these issues to register their firearms.
Another DOJ Data Breach
Possibly even more concerning with DOJ’s online registration system were the reports of the system’s improper disclosure of personal information to other users. There have been confirmed reports of individuals attempting to register their firearms who were improperly given access to the account information associated with another individual, due to a complete breakdown of CA DOJ’s registration application system. In some cases, the system allowed users to see all the personal information (including home address, telephone number, email, and Driver’s License number) for another user and all the information that user had submitted for registering their firearms as “assault weapons”—including the firearms make/model/serial number and all of the photos and attachments to the user’s registration application.
Unsurprisingly, this isn’t the first time CA DOJ has improperly disclosed the personal information of California gun owners. In 2016, CA DOJ admitted to releasing the name, date of birth, and California Driver’s License and/or Identification Card numbers of FSC instructors to a reporter for Southern California Public Radio. In response to that disclosure, CA DOJ offered a one-year membership of Experian’s® ProtectMyID® Alert. Whether CA DOJ will do the same for this blatantly improper disclosure remains to be seen.
CA DOJ Forgets Those Who Serve Our Country
Improper disclosures of personal information aside, CA DOJ’s chosen method of requiring all applications to be submitted online and include photographs of the firearms has prohibited many members of the military currently on deployment from registering. Because many members of the military were required to leave their personally owned firearms at home while on deployment, they were unable to obtain the required photographs for registration. And for those who somehow managed to obtain the required photographs, they were still faced with CA DOJ’s online registration system consistently crashing.
It is equally troubling that many service members who will soon return from deployment now face criminal penalties simply because they were unable to register or are otherwise unaware of the changes made to California law. Their personally owned firearms now classified as “assault weapons” carry a potential felony conviction, all because they were deployed to protect and serve our county.
Miss the “Assault Weapon” Registration Deadline? Here’s How to Stay Out of Jail
NRA and CRPA attorneys have prepared an informative bulletin for gun owners unable or unwilling to register their “bullet-button” firearms as “assault weapons.” This guide provides brief summaries of the legal options available to gun owners besides registration and additional information on how to handle any potential contacts by CA DOJ agents or local law enforcement.
In the meantime, NRA and CRPA attorneys are currently reviewing the situation and will be contacting DOJ for additional clarification on these issues. Continue to check your inbox and the California Stand and Fight web page for updates on issues impacting your Second Amendment rights and hunting heritage in California.