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|01-10-2010, 09:06 AM||#1|
Join Date: May 2009
Large Cap Mags- good article from CRPA
Really good article on the ins and outs of the stupid large capacity magazine law in CA. There are some things I didn't know about!
Large Capacity Magazines - What is the real story?
|01-10-2010, 03:14 PM||#2|
Advanced Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: THE FORUM MASCOTT...
Re: Large Cap Mags- good article from CRPA
I have tried to get that page to load properly 3 times now. I give up. Could someone copy and paste it here?? Thanks.
Where O where are you tonight? Why have you gone and left me alone? I searched to world over and a thought i found true love... You met another and PTThhh you were gone....
|01-10-2010, 10:32 PM||#3|
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Sacramento area, CA
Re: Large Cap Mags- good article from CRPA
Large-Capacity Magazines- What is the real story?
Posted in: Guns
By Gene Hoffman
Jan 8, 2010 - 12:43:19
There is a lot of confusion about the regulation of so-called "large-capacity" magazines in California.
First, a note on terminology: I use the term "large-capacity" magazine because that is exactly the term used in California law. Federal law used to have a similar definition but that definition and set of restrictions ended with the sunset of the Federal assault weapons restrictions in September 2004. California law prohibits a surprisingly small amount of conduct regarding large-capacity magazines in Penal Code 12020 (a)(2):
Commencing January 1, 2000, manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives, or lends, any large-capacity magazine.
It is very important to note that possession and use of a large-capacity magazine is not at all prohibited in California. The only prohibited acts are importing or manufacturing a large capacity magazine. Importing a large-capacity magazine includes things like driving one across the state border, flying in with it, or ordering it to be delivered from out-of-state. Importantly there is an exception for re-importing magazines that were legally possessed in the State of California prior to January 1, 2000 at Penal Code 12020 (b) (23):
The importation of a large-capacity magazine by a person who lawfully possessed the large-capacity magazine in the state prior to January 1, 2000, lawfully took it out of the state, and is returning to the state with the large-capacity magazine previously lawfully possessed in the state.
Subsections 19 to 33 have various other exceptions to the restrictions on large-capacity magazines for law enforcement and other state actors. It also includes an exemption for loaning large-capacity magazines at, for example, ranges as long as they stay within the "accessible vicinity."
Another important pair of issues are (1) the repair of legally possessed large-capacity magazines and (2) converting "large-capacity" magazines to become "10-rounders."
First, regarding the repair of large-capacity magazines, the California Department of Justice has opined in a letter dated November 10, 2005 that one can import any part of a large-capacity magazine to repair an exist*ing large-capacity magazine. This means that over time a large-capacity magazine can, in fact, have had all parts repaired or replaced. The basic rule of thumb is that one cannot end up with more large-capacity mag*azines than one started out with! The other important thing to know is that once a magazine is a large* capacity magazine, there is no further "size limit." For example, a 20 AR round magazine can become a 30 round magazine with the replacement of the body and spring, while retaining the remaining parts. Just don't rebuild a 10-round magazine into a 20-or 30-round magazine.
Second, with the rise of the "Bullet Button" as a way to legally own what might otherwise be deemed an "assault weapon" (and its requirement that you only use 10-round magazines), many California gun owners are buying parts for "high-capacity" magazines and converting them to "10 rounders." (For more information about the "Bullet Button," see "GETTING AN AR OR AK STYLE RIFLE IN CALIFORNIA: It's Easier Than You Think!" published in the October 2009 issue of The Firing Line).
As long as you make "permanent" modifications so that a magazine can only hold 10 rounds of the ammunition, it is not a large-capacity magazine anymore. Generally, a simple block is not "permanent" enough, but a rivet through a body or a block that is held in by epoxy or similar methods (that would take more than a simple screwdriver to disassemble) appear to meet the permanence requirements.
A violation of Penal Code 12020 (a)(2) can be punished as either a misdemeanor or a felony under California law and is referred to in California legal circles as a "wobbler." The statute of limitations for a person to be charged with a wobbler is 3 years. One of the 58 DAs would have to have evidence that you manufactured or imported a magazine in the 36 months prior to charging you with a violation of 12020 (a)(2). Absent of watching you drive across the border, or having documentary proof of manufacturing, or being able to use a statement against you, enforcement of the restriction on large-capacity magazines is quite hard.
If you've got old or worn out large-capacity magazines, you should feel completely free to repair those magazines at will. If you have a place outside of California where you can legally use large-capacity magazines, you can break down large-capacity magazines into parts before you return to California and simply store the parts as parts while you're back in California. With a little bit more understanding of California law, life as a gun owner can be even simpler. Keep watching too, as a post McDonald world may well make such point*less regulation invalid.
For more information:
CGF Wiki on Large-Capacity Magazines:
CA DOJ Large-Capacity Magazine Letter:
About the author: Gene Hoffman is the Chairman of the Calguns Foundation, the co-inventor of the Bullet Button, a life member of the NRA, and a CRPA board member. When he's not using his C&R FFL, punching holes in paper, or punching holes in unconstitutional laws, he amuses two darling daughters and can sometimes be found shopping for his next boat.
The Firing Line, California Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc. Entire contents copyrighted, all rights reserved.
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