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California’s Registration Requirements for Assault Weapons

Jan 31, 2018 by Mike McKneely in Weapons Crimes

The Governor of California recently signed into law a bill that makes significant changes in how assault weapons are defined and regulated in the state. The state’s Department of Justice has been proposing new rules on how to interpret various provisions of the new series of laws. Some have protested the actions of California’s DOJ by filing legal action, asserting the regulations they are imposing place an unnecessary burden on large numbers of people who own these weapons by subjecting them to criminal liability for failure to meet all of the requirements. Under the new changes established by the signed legislation, you are permitted to own an assault rifle, but you may not purchase a new one, and you must register the ones you currently have. This includes assault rifles with bullet buttons.

If you are facing a weapons charge in California, firearms attorney Michael McKneely can protect your gun rights by fighting the prosecution’s allegations with an intelligent and vigorous defense. Call us today at (559) 443-7442 or fill out our contact form to arrange a free case evaluation.

New Gun Rules

Under new rules established by the California Office of Administrative Law, persons in the state possessing firearms meeting the enlarged definitions of assault weapons have until July 2018 to register their weapons. Registration is to take place online through the California Firearms Application Reporting System – a $15 mandatory registration fee applies. In order to complete a successful application for assault weapon registration, applicants must upload digital photos of their firearm – this includes photos of the barrel, each side of the receiver, and the magazine release.

California’s New Definition of Assault Weapon

The definition of an assault weapon in California for rifles is a semi-automatic centerfire rifle having a detachable magazine and also one or more of the following features:

  • Forward vertical grip – a grip that protrudes from the front portion of the gun downward for an easy grip
  • Flash suppressor – minimizes the gun flash
  • Adjustable telescoping stock
  • Pistol grip – protrudes below the firearm’s trigger

If you own one of these assault weapons prior to the new law’s implementation, you are permitted to keep it. Originally the requirement was to have your weapon registered by the end of 2017, but the deadline has now been extended to the middle of 2018.

Alternatively, you may make your weapon compliant (such that it falls outside of the definition of an assault weapon) by changing it into a fixed magazine, which means it no longer has a detachable magazine. Or, you can make it a featureless rifle, which is a compliant semi-automatic rifle without any of the features mentioned above that define it as an assault weapon.

All weapons that are not made compliant must be registered with the DOJ. The registration process must be initiated at

Contact an Experienced Fresno Assault Weapons Attorney

Attorney Michael McKneely of Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer understands the intricacies of California’s new assault weapons registration requirements. If you’re facing a weapons charge, he can effectively defend you against the state’s allegations.

To set up a free consultation, call us today at (559) 443-7442 or reach us through our contact form.

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