Monday, July 24, 2017

While I Was Away - No. 2


Continuing on with the things I missed while at the beach are these two announcement from the Firearms Policy Coalition regarding bullet buttons and proposed ammo regulations in California. The FPC is a multi-state coalition of gun rights groups headquartered in California. They have been keeping a close eye on the regulations being developed for the enforcement of recently enacted firearms laws and propositions.

When you are headquartered in a state where the progressives have a monopoly on virtually everything, you have to fight back anyway you can. Showing that they have learned Alinsky's Rules for Radicals and especially Rule No. 4, the Firearms Policy Coalition is making the California Department of Justice live up to all those progressive laws dealing with public notice and freedom of information.

On bullet buttons:
SACRAMENTO, CA (July 21, 2017) — Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) has obtained a copy of the newest version of the California Department of Justice (DOJ) “assault weapons” regulations. FPC has published the regulations at BulletButtonBan.com, a Web site it established in 2016 for tracking the new California assault weapon laws and regulations.

“FPC’s Regulatory Watch program has once again proved its value in ensuring that the State of California does not advance its gun control agenda behind closed doors,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “Without this program, countless gun-owning Californians would be in the dark about their future.”

Last December, the DOJ submitted its first attempt at “assault weapons” regulations under the California Office of Administrative Law’s (OAL) “File & Print” process, which means that the DOJ believed the regulations were not subject to public notice or comment. However, thousands of FPC members and Second Amendment supporters sent letters opposing the secret process through FPC’s grassroots tools and, without further comment, the DOJ withdrew the regulations near the end of OAL review period.

In May (a quarter of a year later), the DOJ re-submitted regulations under the same “File & Print” process. It took numerous legal demands to DOJ and OAL to finally get OAL to provide FPC with a copy of the proposed regulations. Following DOJ’s numerous attempts at hiding firearm regulations from the public, Craig DeLuz, FPC’s Legislative Advocate, and FPC filed a legal action against DOJ (
DeLuz, et al. v California Department of Justice) in order to ensure that in the future DOJ complies with the California Constitution and Public Records Act.

In the end, these proposed regulations were summarily rejected by OAL a little more than a month later. And now DOJ has submitted almost the same exact regulations, appearing only to have changed the implementation date from January 1, 2018 to July 1, 2018. This new date was established by AB 103, a recently approved budget trailer bill.

“At first glance, the DOJ’s latest package of ‘assault weapons’ regulations are as awful as their first two attempts,” noted DeLuz. “It appears that DOJ keeps submitting the same proposed regulations, over and over again, expecting different results. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?”
The second announcement has to do with California's proposed ammunition regulations and the hearings seeking feedback.
SACRAMENTO, CA (July 20, 2017) — Adding to the growing list of its legal woes, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) was forced to issue a new regulatory notice and postpone a hearing regarding their recently-submitted regulations concerning new ammunition vendors and licenses. Many new ammunition laws were passed last year in Gavin Newsom’s so-called “Safety for All Act” (Proposition 63) and in Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León’s Senate Bill 1235 (SB 1235).

As part of its California regulatory watch program, which holds the State accountable for the improper implementation of various gun control laws, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) recently discovered the new DOJ ammunition sales regulations. That new regulation was officially published in the State’s Friday, July 14 Notice Register, but wasn’t clearly accessible to the public until the morning of Monday, July 17.

“In order for citizens and interested groups to be given an opportunity to advocate for their rights and policy preferences, the DOJ must follow the law,” said Craig DeLuz, a lobbyist and spokesperson for the Firearms Policy Coalition. “We are here to make sure they do.”

On July 17, FPC delivered a letter to DOJ advising them that they had not sent any notification about this proposed rulemaking using the DOJ’s e-mail based notification system it established and solicited participation in for that express purpose. The FPC letter also noted that none of the regulation documents that were discussed in the DOJ’s notice could be found on the Attorney General’s Web page listed in the Notice Register. FPC concluded that the public did not receive proper notice and demanded that DOJ remedy the defects.

Just two days later, on July 19, DOJ e-mailed their entire regulatory notice list -- which they had initially failed to do -- and said that the hearing for public comment, which was originally scheduled to take place August 28, had been pushed back to September 12 -- allowing more time for the public and advocacy organizations like FPC to analyze them and weigh in. Additionally, DOJ updated the public notice to reflect a different Web page that contained a working link to the proposed new regulations and forms.

“When law-abiding citizens and small businesses risk fines and jail time for not following the law, the least the DOJ can do is follow the law themselves,” commented DeLuz. “While their latest move is a step in the right direction, they still have a long way to go. We’ll be keeping an eye on them.”

At www.DOJregwatch.com and its companion page, www.bulletbuttonban.com, FPC tracks DOJ firearm-related rulemakings and provides the public with links to the documents and updates. FPC’s goal is to ensure that the regulations proposed are legal, available to the public, and follow all public notice and comment requirements in the California Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and applicable laws.

So far, FPC has so far been successful in repeatedly thwarting DOJ’s attempts to create law by executive fiat under the guise of the regulatory process. Previously, DOJ was forced to withdraw its proposed “large capacity magazine” and “Bullet Button Assault Weapon” regulations. More recently, the Office of Administrative Law rejected DOJ’s second attempt at issuing “Bullet Button Assault Weapon” regulations.

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