California wanted all so-called “assault weapons” to be registered by July 1, 2018. The state wanted it so badly that it created a website in hopes that it would make the process easy enough that most would comply with the rule. It was smart, not because registration will do anything, but in that, if you want people to comply with the law, you’d better make it easy.
However, as with so many other things in California, what worked well, in theory, turned into a colossal case of fail.
As the deadline looms for California gun owners to register their firearms that have been re-classified as “assault weapons,” the registration system has been crashing, preventing compliance with the law if the site is not fixed.
California passed a bill expanding its already lengthy definition of “assault weapon.” Under SB 880 and AB 113, which became effective in January 2017, “assault weapon” now includes firearms that are required to be equipped with a bullet button or a similar magazine locking device.
All applications must be completed and submitted by Saturday at 11:59 p.m. PDT. With less than a day until the deadline, the California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS) has had difficulty processing the high volume of applications, according to the Firearms Policy Coalition. The spike in traffic repeatedly crashed the CFARS website, preventing gun owners from registering properly.
If firearms are not registered before the deadline, gun owners could be charged with a felony and receive up to eight years in prison.
Now, waiting until the last minute is usually not a recipe for success, but as long as there was time on the clock, people are free to procrastinate. It’s up to the state of California to make sure its website works.
And it didn’t.
Constant crashes delay people being able to comply with the law, and it’s not their fault. Like I said, waiting until the last minute might not be ideal, but it’s not illegal, and it’s not their fault the state can’t build a working website. <Insert random “lowest bidder” joke here.>
Now, those who weren’t able to register their guns despite trying to may well be guilty of a felony as you read this. Hopefully not. So far, though, there’s been no mention of an amnesty for those who tried but were turned away by the state’s ineptitude.
To err is human. To really foul stuff up, though, you need the government involved.
This is a prime example.
Meanwhile, the state has made modern sporting rifles an endangered species, and the state’s violent crime rate has increased over the last couple of years despite the full-court press on “assault rifles.” Maybe it’s not the guns that are the problem in the first place? You know, California, I’m just throwing that out there for consideration.
Unfortunately, it’s not like the state is known for listening to reason or doing anything except the most anti-gun thing it can manage to do. California has never met a gun control proposal it didn’t like, and there’s no reason to expect that to change in the near future.