Firearm Owners Find Loophole, Foil California’s AR-15 Registration Scheme

Colt AR-15, now legal with a bayonet mount, flash suppressor, collapsible stock and a high capacity magazine that holds more than 30 rounds, sits on the counter of Dave's Guns September 13, 2004 in Denver, Colorado.
Thomas Cooper/Getty Images

Firearm owners in California have discovered a way around the state’s latest “assault weapons” ban, which requires registering AR-15s with bullet buttons.

Bullet buttons are a mechanism law-abiding Californians placed on their AR-15s to allow their rifles’ magazines to remain detachable, yet compliant with the state’s last “assault weapons” ban. A bullet button is a button located where the normal magazine release is located, but designed so that it can only be pressed in with pressure from a sharp object, most commonly the point of a bullet.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the updated “assault weapons” ban—signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on July 1, 2016—contains a “ban [on] the sale of semiautomatic rifles equipped with bullet buttons.” And it requires that rifles possessing such buttons be registered the state, where they are listed in a database.

The California Department of Justice just launched an online registration website to accommodate bullet button registration, and Fox News reports gun owners find the new registration scheme “more intrusive” that previous registration requirements. For example, attorney and Artemis Defense founder Steven Lieberman said, “The registration is seen by many as a trap to purge the owner since they ask for very specific information about acquisition of the original rifle that most owners don’t have or remember. As a result, [they] ‘guesstimate’ as most would…[but] are potentially committing perjury.”

But bullet button owners have discovered a way around the registration process, an option by which they can mark their guns as a “featureless” firearm on the state’s website. Assemblyman Marc Levine (D) is hinting that this option may be short-lived, but it is there now. Levine said, “By closing the bullet button loophole, it is slowing down the reloading mechanism. Lawmakers will continue to do whatever it takes to keep communities safe.”

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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