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Calif. Shifts on Assault Weapons

August 18, 1999

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ The state attorney general has agreed to drop an appeal of a lawsuit over gun registration, clearing the way for the state to order owners of about 1,600 assault weapons to give them to law enforcement.

Attorney General Bill Lockyer will ask the Legislature to provide funding to compensate owners who turn in the weapons, valued at $750 to $1,500 each, spokesman Nathan Barankin said Tuesday.

A 1989 state law prohibited the sale and possession of 62 models of military-style assault weapons. But it let residents who owned the weapons at that time keep them if they registered them with the state by March 30, 1992.

Lockyer’s predecessor, Dan Lungren, let people who owned the guns before June 1989 register them without prosecution or confiscation after the 1992 deadline.

Nearly 50,000 assault weapons were registered by the deadline.

Handgun Control and the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence sued Lungren and won a ruling from a San Francisco judge in 1997 that any registration of the banned weapons after March 1992 was invalid. Lungren appealed.

Lockyer, a Democrat who succeeded the Republican Lungren as attorney general eight months ago, plans to ask a state appeals court this week to approve the settlement, Barankin said.

Lungren did not respond to a message left Tuesday on his home answering machine by The Associated Press seeking comment on Lockyer’s decision.

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