How will California’s new gun laws will affect me?

The 2016 California legislative session was a particularly bad one for California gun owners and supporters of the 2nd Amendment. Governor Brown signed six anti-gun bills into law. Some of these laws now outlaw firearms and accessories that were previously legal to own. If you do not act to register, modify, or dispose of your property you may find yourself an accidental felon and possibly lose your gun rights for life.


New Assault Weapons restrictions
Assembly Bill 1135 and Senate Bill 880 can basically be described as “the Bullet Button ban”. The language that describes what is considered a fixed magazine has been rewritten to exclude any magazine that can be removed without “disassembly of the firearm action”. This language means it is no longer considered a fixed magazine by merely using a tool to drop the magazine, which is the way most current magazine locks work. If the magazine on your rifle can be removed without first rendering the firing mechanism inoperable, and your firearm contains any of the “evil features” (pistol grip, folding or collapsible stock, thumbhole stock, flash hider, vertical grip, etc...), then you could find yourself in felony possession of a banned Assault Weapon.

Effective Dates
12/31/2016 new sales banned
1/1/2017 through 12/31/2017 registration period open

What are my options?
You can register the Assault Weapon with the state of California during the registration period. There are restrictions associated with registered Assault Weapons that you should be aware of. You cannot sell the firearm within the state of California. You cannot transfer the firearms to your family members, even upon your death. There are also more restrictions on use and transportation of registered Assault Weapons. The Assault Weapon registration form, once available, can be found online here: https://cfars.doj.ca.gov/login.do

To avoid registration, you can modify the firearm so that it no longer meets the new definition of an Assault Weapon. For AR style rifles, it could be as simple as installing a new style magazine lock that requires the upper and lower receivers to be separated in order to remove the magazin, which equates to “disassembly of the firearm action”. Another option is to modify your rifle so that it is a “featureless” rifle. For many firearms, this would require replacing the pistol grip with a non-pistol grip (fin grip, grip wrap, other California grip/stock), replacing the collapsing/folding stock with a fixed stock or pinning the stock so that it cannot move, replacing the flash hider with a muzzle brake, etc... For many firearms, converting to a featureless rifle may be your only option if you want to avoid AW registration and still possess the firearm legally in the state of California.

The remaining legal options are probably the least desirable. You can turn it over to law enforcement or sell it out of state.


New Magazine restrictions
Senate Bill 1446 now makes it illegal to possess any magazine with a capacity greater than 10 rounds, so called “large capacity magazines”. Prior to this new law possession of large capacity magazines was not illegal and your existing magazines may have been “grandfathered in”, this will no longer be the case.

Effective Dates
7/1/2017 possession illegal

What are my options?
You can make a “permanent” modification to the magazine so that it cannot hold more than 10 rounds, remove the magazine from the state, sell the magazine to a licensed firearms dealer, destroy the magazine, or surrender the magazine to law enforcement.


New Ammunition Restrictions
Senate Bill 1235 will place unjustified and burdensome restrictions on the purchase of ammunition and would require the attorney general to keep records of purchases, and perform background checks for ammunition purchases.  This legislation would further require any online ammunition sales to be conducted through a licensed vendor, which will most likely include a "transfer fee" and the collection of California state sales tax, further increasing the cost.

Effective Dates
7/1/2018 only licensed ammunition dealers authorized to sell ammo
7/1/2019 background check and record keeping required to purchase ammo


Loaning a Firearm
Assembly Bill 1511 will effectively end the long-standing practice of temporarily loaning a firearm for lawful purposes. Under this legislation the ability to loan a firearm to anyone other than a family member would now be prohibited unless conducted through a dealer, absent very narrow and limited exceptions. A simple loan to a trusted friend for a few days would take almost a month to complete from loan to return, requiring two background checks, two 10 day waiting periods, two fees and multiple trips to a gun dealer. The result of the misguided legislation would turn otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals simply for borrowing or storing a firearm with a friend.

Effective Date
1/1/2017


Falsely Reporting a Lost or Stolen Firearm
Assembly Bill 1695 would create a 10-year firearm prohibition for someone convicted of falsely reporting a lost or stolen firearm. The NRA does not oppose making it a misdemeanor to knowingly file a false lost or stolen report to law enforcement. The reason for opposition is related to the restriction of a constitutional right for the conviction of a misdemeanor offense.

Effective Date
1/1/2017