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Calguns Foundation Wiki FAQ: What is a REGISTERED “ASSAULT WEAPON”?

Simple answers for simple questions

Link to discussion thread

The emphasis here is on REGISTRATION.

California created its ‘assault weapon’ law in 1989.

Numerous rifles owned at that time were classified as ‘assault weapons’, and during 1990 the owners were supposed to submit a registration form and a fee to the state to register the weapons.

That process is DIFFERENT from the DROS when the rifles were originally purchased; upon successful registration, the State returned a letter verifying the registration.

Similarly, in 1999 the law was amended to include rifles by feature instead of by name. A new registration period was opened for 2000, with similar extra form, fees, and a confirmation letter.

All registration periods are ended. No ‘assault weapons’ may now be registered except by authorized law enforcement.

There is much confusion regarding ‘assault weapon’ registration; evidence suggests that many owners believed, in error, that the DROS at the original purchase was sufficient.

It is illegal to own an unregistered ‘assault weapon’.

It is illegal to transport an unregistered ‘assault weapon’.

It is foolish to post on Calguns “I have a weapon which may be an ‘assault weapon’ and I do not think it is registered.”

The standard advice for that situation is

  • do not say anything in a public forum known to be read by CA-DOJ and other law enforcement agencies;
  • immediately disassemble the weapon;
  • get a lawyer;
  • have the lawyer arrange the surrender of the weapon to local law enforcement.

Reference1, Reference2