What Size Magazine Is Legal in California?
California has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States, and this extends to restrictions on the size of firearm magazines. A magazine, also known as a “clip,” is a detachable or fixed container in a firearm that holds ammunition. These magazines come in various capacities, with the size of the magazine determining how many rounds it can hold. In California, the legal size of firearm magazines is an important aspect for gun owners to understand to comply with the state’s regulations.
California’s Magazine Capacity Limitation
In 2000, California passed Assembly Bill 48, which restricted the size of firearm magazines available to the public. According to this law, it is illegal to possess, sell, or manufacture magazines that can hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. This restriction applies to handguns, rifles, and shotguns, encompassing both detachable and fixed magazines.
The only exception to this limitation is for active or retired law enforcement officers who are authorized to possess high-capacity magazines. However, they must obtain these magazines through authorized channels and are subject to specific regulations.
Enforcement and Penalties
California takes the enforcement of magazine capacity limitations seriously. Violating the magazine size restrictions can result in criminal charges and penalties. Possessing a high-capacity magazine is considered a misdemeanor offense, punishable by imprisonment for up to one year in county jail or a fine not exceeding $1,000.
It is important to note that the possession of high-capacity magazines acquired before the law went into effect is not entirely illegal. However, these magazines must not be used in any manner that violates the law, such as transferring them to someone else or offering them for sale.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I modify my high-capacity magazines to comply with California law?
A: No, modifying a high-capacity magazine to hold ten rounds or less does not make it legal in California. The law prohibits the possession of high-capacity magazines, regardless of modifications.
Q: Are there any exemptions to the magazine capacity restriction?
A: Yes, as mentioned earlier, active or retired law enforcement officers are exempted from the magazine capacity limitations. However, they must comply with specific regulations and obtain these magazines through authorized channels.
Q: Can I purchase high-capacity magazines legally in another state and bring them to California?
A: No, it is illegal to import high-capacity magazines into California, even if they were legally purchased in another state. Individuals who bring such magazines into California can face criminal charges.
Q: What happens if I am caught with a high-capacity magazine in California?
A: Possessing a high-capacity magazine is considered a misdemeanor offense. If convicted, you may face imprisonment for up to one year in county jail or a fine not exceeding $1,000.
Q: Are there any pending changes to California’s magazine capacity limitations?
A: As of the time of writing, there are no pending changes to California’s magazine capacity limitations. However, it is always important to stay updated on any potential changes in the law.
Understanding the legal size of firearm magazines is crucial for gun owners in California. With the restriction on magazine capacity to ten rounds or less, it is essential to comply with the law to avoid criminal charges and penalties. While there are exceptions for law enforcement officers, the possession, sale, or manufacture of high-capacity magazines is generally prohibited. It is advisable to stay informed and adhere to California’s regulations to ensure legal and responsible ownership of firearms.