Drafted language included in AB 2728, Klehs Firearms, that removed the California Department of Justice’s ability to expand the list of firearms deemed “assault weapons” and created a means of civil compromise without criminal penalty for those individuals facing “assault weapon” and “.50 BMG rifle” charges. The list of “Category 2” type assault weapons was frozen at December 31, 2006. This event facilitate the large-scale expansion in the “off list lowers” market, as well as some other opportunities.
Attorney General Lockyer wrote, September 1, 2006:
Due to the growing popularity of lower receivers, the Attorney General’s Office has determined that updating the assault weapons list with new makes and models will serve no purpose other than to completely undermine California law by allowing the proliferation of registered assault weapons.
When the Attorney General’s Office lists a new assault weapon, it is required to open up a registration period. (§ 12285.) Consequently, any person who has imported a legal receiver could then register their receiver as an assault weapon. This would then theoretically allow the registrant to add any and all of the features prohibited under section 12276.1, and would allow the person to possess a fully functioning assault weapon. Unfortunately, as soon as a new list is promulgated, all the current makes/models of lower receivers will immediately receive new “markings” and monikers and the whole process will repeat itself.
Recently, because of the expectation that the Attorney General will list new receivers, thereby opening up a registration period for new weapons, it has been estimated that more than 30,000 receivers have been imported into California.
In addition, notwithstanding the fact that our office has posted a bulletin stating that we will not list new assault weapons, there is still an expectation that we will list the weapons someday. In order to end the speculation as to whether the Attorney General’s Office will or will not list, we believe the best course of action is to remove the provision of law that authorizes the Attorney General to add additional weapons.