Second Amendment advocates had much to celebrate after this year’s election. The republican landslide is a virtual guarantee of vast improvements in gun rights. Constitutional carry is high on the list of reform, and others are pushing hard for a repeal of the National Firearms Act. Yet California is about to enact major new restrictions that strip away gun rights.
This latest push centers around an already controversial magazine ban. In six months, there may be no “high capacity” mags in California (except, of course, for those owned by criminals, police, and those in the military).
Most magazines for AR-15 and AK-47 style guns will hold 30 rounds of ammunition. This is the norm, and is considered “standard” by those who know their way around these guns.
There are much larger magazines (60 rounds, or 100 rounds for example), and some guns that are belt fed (limited only by the length of the belt–theoretically).
Gun control proponents look at a 30 round magazine in different terms. They label these “high-capacity” or “large capacity.” California has led the way in this charge to limit the availability of 30 round magazines, and set the number of rounds a magazine can hold at a much lower point.
On December 15, California announced a new “emergency” ban on what they call “large capacity” magazines. The news surprised many who had been celebrating what they saw as a national shift toward greater protection of the Second Amendment.
Here’s an excerpt from the announcement:
Under the new law, gun owners have six months to dispose of or permanently alter their large-capacity magazines. Pursuant to Penal Code section 32310, subdivision (c), a person who legally possesses a large-capacity magazine shall dispose of that magazine by any of the following means prior to July 1, 2017: (1) remove the large-capacity magazine from the state; (2) sell the large-capacity magazine to a licensed firearms dealer; (3) destroy the large-capacity magazine; or (4) surrender the large-capacity magazine to a law enforcement agency for destruction.
Alternatively, gun owners may permanently alter large-capacity magazines by reducing their ammunition capacity so that it no longer meets the definition of a “large-capacity magazine.” [ ] By providing this information to the public in a timely manner, through the emergency process, the Department will avert serious harm to public peace, health, safety, or general welfare.
Critics of this move point out that the only people who will pay attention to this law are the law abiding citizens of California. Those who break laws (especially those that harm public peace, health, safety, etc.) will continue to ignore this law. And now, if a law abiding citizen of California finds him or herself in need of his or her gun for self defense, that person will likely be a distinct disadvantage.
Want to read more about the ban? Here’s the current magazine regulation.
A large capacity magazine is defined as “any ammunition feeding device with a capacity to accept more than 10 rounds but shall not be construed to include a feeding device that is permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds nor shall it include any .22 caliber tube ammunition feeding device (or, effective January 1, 2002, a tubular magazine contained in a lever-action firearm).” It is important to understand that a large capacity feeding device may be detachable or fixed, and includes any tube ammunition feeding device (other than .22 caliber or, effective January 1, 2002, a tubular magazine contained in a lever-action firearm) that can accommodate more than 10 rounds. A large capacity magazine also includes linked ammunition with more than 10 rounds linked together or an ammunition belt with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
For those who want to see what it looks like when politicians who don’t know anything about guns try to talk about guns, I offer up this timeless classic.