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View Full Version : Large Capacity Magazines in California


56Nomad
03-05-2016, 11:07 PM
Nick and I bought a couple of Ruger 10/22 Takedown Semi-Auto Rimfire Rifles with a 10 round magazines. While we were in our Arizona, we purchased 25 round magazines but are hesitant about using them in this state.

What is the real story about owning/using them in California? I found this on one of the gun forums

I am sure this has been posted before but i'll repost it just in case. Its a good read. I am not sure exactly who originally posted it

I am a prosecutor in California. I believe this law is unworkable from a prosecution perspective for a number of reasons. Before I go further I need to impose this caveat: none of us, especially me, know as much as all of us. And this is only my opinion and I was wrong as recently as last week.

The law criminalizes the following conduct: importation, sale, transfer, offering for sale, and manufacture of large capacity magazines. It does not criminalize possession or, interestingly, purchase of large capacity magazines.

My experience with this law is that many law enforcement officers believe possession of large capacity magazines is proscribed. As has been pointed out correctly and often, possession alone is not a crime.

I have had many cases where people who possessed assault weapons or machine guns and were engaged in robbery or other serious felonies, also had large capacity magazines. My office has never (repeat NEVER) brought a charge based on violating the large capacity magazine ban. Why?

Because it is all but impossible to prove, absent some very unwise admissions by the suspect. The law enforcement officers involved, believing possession violates the law, never ask the right questions and don't get the necessary admissions. By the time I see the case so has the defendant's lawyer and we are not getting any more admissions.

Here is my analysis. First in order to prosecute anyone for any crime I have to be able to assert jurisdiction over the conduct. This can be somewhat complicated when dealing with offenses such as conspiracy or that can occur in multiple jurisdictions. The large capacity magazine statute is simple in this regard: it is not a continuing offense. So the first question is this: did the crime happen in my county? That would be the importation (hmm? not a border county), manufacture, etc.

The next hurdle is the statue of limitations. The general statute applies and because the crime can be charged as a felony it is three years. I don't see any of the exceptions as being generally applicable (perhaps the absence of the defendant from the state, but that implicates a new importation charge and again there is the jurisdiction issue.) Even if the circumstances do not implicate a new importation I still need to know when the criminal conduct occured and absent something unusual and unlikely that isn't going to happen.

With two major hurdles in the way we have the fact that, at least in my opinion the importer is the person who causes the magazines to pass into the state and that is the shipper and not the person placing the order. Others might disagree, but I see it this way. The person placing the order is only inviting the person filling the order to engage in the conduct.

Oh, but it could be a conspiracy? Yes, but conspiracy is devilishly hard to prove. First, it is a specific intent crime and that means there had to be an agreement and a specific intent to violate the law as part of the agreement. Mistake of law is a defense to a specific intent crime. If the only facts available are the fact of possession it is overwhelmingly unlikely that I can prove jurisdiction, that a crime happened within the limitations period, or that the conduct specifically proscribed by the statue occurred at all.

Despite this being a generally a crime that cannot be prosecuted I recommend exercise if care not to run afoul of the statute. For instance, I recently purchased an HK P7M13 from a list member. I got a magazine kit with the gun. I assembled the magazine kit into a magazine blocked to 10 rounds. I then found a supplier willing to ship magazines to California in a disassembled condition as kits. I will assemble this "kits" as magazines blocked to 10 rounds. Everything is kosher. If someone were to assemble them as 13 round magazines there are three hurdles to overcome before there could be a successful prosecution: jurisdiction, statute of limitations, and proving the actual criminal conduct. None of these could be proved without admissions from the person being prosecuted.

Thus we have an unworkable law. But let's not say that too loudly lest the law be changed to the disadvantage of us all. If a law enforcement officer takes exception to a person possessing a large capacity magazine there is no obligation to offer any explanation and probably no good reason to do so.

These are my thoughts and the beauty of this forum is that if there are any flaws in my facts or analysis someone will quickly point them out.

toolio
03-06-2016, 05:14 AM
Here ya go Howie. Paragraph #1, of page 2.

http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/firearms/forms/CLIcmpapp.pdf

56Nomad
03-06-2016, 06:35 AM
Gary,

Thanks for finding that.

CHAIN_DOGG
03-06-2016, 08:40 PM
I've often wondered the same thing....thanks Gary

toolio
03-07-2016, 04:46 PM
Gary,

Thanks for finding that.
I've often wondered the same thing....thanks Gary

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56Nomad
03-07-2016, 07:46 PM
This public service announcement has been brought to you by..........

THE HOOLIGAN BROTHERHOOD :dude:

CHAIN_DOGG
03-08-2016, 07:48 PM
I always thought the 35 Whelen was Very unique caliber. I've shot 2 different rifles, but never owned one. I took one on a wild boar trip, but used my 06 that trip......10-11 shots took down a good size dead tree on a ranch we hunted on in Paso Robles.

http://gundata.org/cartridge/86/.35-whelen/