In 2016, California voters allowed a number of laws that aimed to strictly regulate firearm and ammunition purchases within the state. One of those laws banned Californians from owning or possessing large-capacity magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
The law was set to go into effect on July 1. However, just days before it officially became law, a judge blocked it. So, is it illegal to possess large-capacity magazines in California?
California Voters Pass Law Banning Large-Capacity Magazines
The sale of large-capacity magazines was banned in California in 2000, when voters elected to outlaw people from purchasing magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. However, the law did not completely ban large capacity magazines within the state.
A stipulation in the law allowed individuals who had already purchased large-capacity magazines before 2000 to keep them for personal use. Individuals who owned a firearm purchased before 2000 that can only be used with a large-capacity magazine also were exempt from the laws.
However, voters passed Proposition 63 in 2016. This law, which was set to take effect July 1, eliminated exemptions from the large-capacity magazine law and increased the maximum penalty for owning large-capacity magazines. Therefore, anyone who possessed or owned a large-capacity magazine would have been required to:
- Transfer the magazines to federally licensed gun dealers,
- Move the magazines out of the state,
- Turn in the magazines to law enforcement, or
- Destroy the large-capacity magazines
Judge Blocks Gun Magazine Law from Taking Effect
On June 29, days before the gun magazine law was set to take effect, U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez issued a preliminary injunction to block it at the request of attorneys representing the Nation Rifle Association (NRA).
The judge pointed out that gun owners were not turning in their large-capacity magazines to law enforcement before July 1. Additionally, magazines sales in the state were never tracked nor were owners required to register them.
“If this injunction does not issue, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of otherwise law-abiding citizens will have an untenable choice: become an outlaw or dispossess one’s self of lawfully acquired property,” Judge Benitez ruled. “That is a choice they should not have to make.”
The injunction is temporary, but the NRA plans to pursue lawsuits to prevent the law from ever going into effect.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with violating California firearms laws, you should speak to a skilled criminal defense attorney right away. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled criminal defense lawyers have been successfully defending clients facing gun-related charges for more than 35 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Los Angeles, West Covina, Torrance and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Call us now at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.