Thankfully, the Federal ban on 11+ round firearms magazines “sunsetted” in September of 2004. But sadly some bans are still in effect at the state and local level. Most notably, these laws are still on the books:
No pistol or SMG magazines with a capacity over 10 rounds in Hawaii. (High capacity magazines that only fit rifles are allowed. (For example, since there are AR-15 pistols, AR-15 magazines are banned.)
No magazines with a capacity over 10 rounds in California, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and New York. (See State Penal Code 265.23 for details. To the best of my knowledge, 11+ round magazines that were made before 9/94 can be legally purchased by residents of New York.)
No magazines with a capacity over 12 rounds in Chicago, Illinois
No magazines with a capacity over 15 rounds in New Jersey; South Bend, Indiana, or Aurora; Illinois
No magazines with a capacity over 20 rounds in Maryland, Wichita, Kansas, or the City & County of Denver Colorado
In recent months, I’ve noticed several ads on the Internet for full capacity (11+ round) magazines with the statement “Available in Kit Form for residents of New York and California.” One of these advertisements was for Polymer AR-15 PMAGs, which didn’t go into production for the civilian market until late 2004! Obviously, customers risk getting into trouble if they buy complete parts sets for magazines that were not made before September of 1994.
Private possession of “high capacity” magazines made after September of 1994 is a felony in New York. Similarly, in California, possession of “high capacity” magazines that were not owned by an individual on or before December 31, 1999 is a felony. (And, since the now-defunct Federal ban of 1994 to 2004 was in effect at the time that this law was enacted, that would also effectively mean that Californians would own only pre-9/1994 magazines.) So what these sellers are offering buyers in those states is the chance to get a felony conviction which would mean losing their right to vote and their right to own a gun for the rest of their lives. I strongly recommend that readers that live in states or cities with restrictions resist the temptation to skirt the law by buying magazine parts “kits”. A felony conviction is always a life-changing event.
In such cases, the burden of proof is on the prosecuting attorney, and there is of course a presumption of innocence. Unless there is a post-1994 sales “paper trail”, or unless they have post-9/1994 date markings, any magazines of the types made before 9/94 will surely be presumed to be pre-ban. But it would be very easy for a prosecution team to prove that PMAGs didn’t start to be available on the civilian market until late 2004.
OBTW, I should mention that similar laws are in effect in other countries. For example:
In Canada: No semi-automatic rifle magazines (except rimfire) with a capacity over 5 rounds, and no pistol magazines with a capacity over 10 rounds. (There are exemptions for members of competitive shooting teams.)
In New Zealand: No centerfire magazines with a capacity over 7 rounds, and no rimfire magazines with a capacity over 15 rounds. (There are exemptions for some licensed “certificate” holders.)
Disclaimer: The aforementioned laws are not all-inclusive lists. Nothing in this post or any of my other posts represent legal advice. Research your state and local laws, and consult a qualified attorney that lives in your jurisdiction.
One closing thought for SurvivalBlog readers that live where these idiotic laws exist: Vote with your feet!