Magazine Ban Victory for Californians — Stock Up!

UPDATE — April 4th: Comrade Becarra got a stay issued, that goes into effect at 5 PM Pacific Time on April 5th.  See my April 5th blog post about this.

There was some great news late last week, when we heard that California’s onerous 11+ round magazine ban was overturned by a Federal judge. The California law had been in effect since January 1, 2000. Finally, a magazine ban victory!

The 86-page Duncan v. Becerra court ruling itself is worth reading, since it includes a lot of historical and legislative background.

Note: I am not a licensed attorney, so the following is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal advice.

Null & Void

Thankfully, California’s magazine laws have been effectively rendered null and void. The Duncan v. Becerra  ruling puts the state government in an awkward position: If they challenge it with an appeal to the Ninth Circuit court, then they might lose. And even if the liberal Ninth circuit sides with them, then it would surely be appealed to the  U.S. Supreme Court. And that of course would have wide-reaching effects. Negative rulings are now much more likely, since the California governor signed an outright ban — that would have banned the magazines that had originally been grandfathered in 2000. That ban had been scheduled to go into effect in 2017. But its was delayed by a court order, and now the Duncan v. Becerra has effectively invalidated both the 2000 and 2017 magazine ban laws.

Given the new court precedent, the California legislature would have to craft some sort of weasel-worded ban that would work its way around the strictures of Duncan v. Becerra. Anything more than that would probably be struck down by the Federal courts. What I predict is that the California legislature will attempt to enact some sort of behavioral ban vis-a-vis magazines, rather than a outright possession ban. I’d rather not go into detail about this, for fear of giving those tyrants any ideas.

Time to Stock Up and Link ’em Up!

Regardless of what the legislature and bureaucrats cook up, I can see that time is short. So I’m issuing Fair Warning to Californians: The notoriously-liberal Ninth Circuit Court might intervene on appeal and re-institute the unconstitutional California magazine ban law. Or the California legislature may concoct some new magazine restriction–either physical or behavioral. So it is a pressing need for California gun owners to stock up their lifetime supply of 11+ round magazines and magazine extensions in the next few weeks.  And folks outside of California should be advised that California has nearly 1/10th of the nation’s population and they’ve been magazines deprived for 19 years. So the resultant rush of sales may create some short-term nationwide magazine shortages.

Furthermore, any owners of belt-fed weapons should get busy linking! (On January 1, 2000 it became illegal in California to link together a belt more than 10 rounds long, or to combine short linked belts, or to fill cloth belts that did not already hold more than 10 rounds.  Assemble belts now, in case a new ban is enacted.)

Take full advantage of this window of opportunity, dear readers!  Presumably, if the 2000 law is reimposed, then its Grandfather Clause will be “re-set” to the effective date of the re-imposition of the law. Of course anyone who is then found in possession of magazines made between 2000 and 2019 will have the presumption of innocence. With this window of opportunity, the burden of proof will be on government prosecutors to prove that a magazine was obtained after this window. Hopefully, none of that will ever become an issue, but if it does, California gun owners will be able to say: “I bought those right after the Duncan v. Becerra decision.” Case closed. So, again, the clock is ticking!  Buy those magazines as soon as possible.

Important Note: Keep in mind that the new ruling does not affect “Magazine Locked” (fixed magazine) semi-auto rifles in California. Those are covered in a different law that was outside of the scope and reach of Duncan v. Becerra. Hence, it would still be illegal to insert an 11+round magazine into such a rifle, in California. However, It is fairly safe to assume that your newly-acquired 11+ round magazines could be inserted and used in so-called “featureless” semi-autos. (Just as it is currently legal to insert pre-2000 grandfathered magazines in them.)

Some Good Sources

I can recommend several companies that sell magazines. They include KeepShooting.com, Palmetto State Armory (PSA), Brownells, GunMagWarehouse.com, Natchez Shooters Supplies, and Midway USA. I should also mention one other company that has been trapped behind enemy lines in Mission Viejo, California all these years: WhatACountry.com. They specialize in military surplus imported from Israel and Europe.

I assume that gun show dealers will soon descend on the Golden State with plenty of 11+ round goodies to sell. And of course it worth for gun owners to drive to a Nevada, Oregon, or Arizona gun show. (Although a ban may become law in Oregon soon. That is all the more reason to stock up!) And there are now plenty of sources for magazines via the Internet and by mail order.  But be advised that not all of those “once-bitten, twice shy” sellers will be willing to ship 11+ round magazines into California. So make that your first question, if you call them to place an order by phone.

There Was a Loophole

As an aside, a SurvivalBlog reader wrote to mention that not only was the 2000 California magazine ban a bad law, it was also unenforceable and poorly-written. He noted: “[as interpreted and enforced by the California Department of Justice, the] California law had a significant loophole. It never forbade the rebuilding of magazines and it never defined a core part of the magazine. So you were allowed to bring in any parts [needed] to rebuild [magazines]. You could not create a[n entirely] new magazine from parts but you could rebuild 100% of a magazine without violating California law. And nothing required that you destroy the removed magazine parts [from the old magazine]. California law-making at its best.”

Once again, time is short. Stock up!




24 Comments

  1. One other very good source for magazines would be http://www.FirearmsUnknown.com They have 2 stores in the San Diego area, their service is excellent, prices very fair with good sales constantly ongoing. A good source for 80% lowers both rifle (AR) and handgun (Glock and 1911). NOTE: I receive no income or profit from this retail operation, I’m Just a customer

  2. I like to read articles like this one because it has to do with nullification. This is sort of a REVERSE nullification of what states can do to nullify federal overreach. What happens in California is nullification toward the liberal side (sanctuary cities, stricter gun control laws, etc) but conservative states can do the conservative equivalent in passing nullification laws of unconstitutional federal laws. I point this out because so many folks these days are calling for a Constitutional Convention since, they say, it is the only way to rein in the federal government. They say that that is why the founders put article V in the Constitution. Not so. The founders planned on states passing nullification laws to rein in a tyrannical federal government. Look at Missouri, who just passed a nullification law for all federal gun control laws. I wish more would do that. And because it is protecting and defending the original Constitution, it will likely hold up in court.

  3. I love the use of “Weasel Worded” with reference to California Politicians. I believe there are only two speakers of pure Weasel. Weasels them selves and Liberal politicians. Others may speak a form of Weasel, but is not true un-altered weasel.

  4. And the cherry on top is that the logic of the judge’s decision would require overturn of the Assault Weapons Ban in California, and if appealed to the Supremes, nationwide.

    Judge Benetiz laid out the logic that 30 round magazines were no more dangerous or less commonly used than 10 round magazines, and that logic works for the 15 million AR15 pattern rifles in the US today.

  5. I’ve purchased two dozen standard cap mags since last Friday’s ruling, and even though I jumped on the opportunity the very next morning and was able to get *most* of the ones I wanted, supplies depleted very quickly across a spectrum of online sellers.

    The author is correct that those who have ‘fixed mag’ ARs (instead of featureless with goofy shark fin grips or somesuch nonsense) cannot currently use standard mags, though I’m hoping some company such as Franklin Armory will seize the opportunity to make full 30-rd versions of their 10-rd drop-in mags. HOWEVER…there are always options, and installation of items such as the Juggernaut lever will allow one to use his/her AR with standard mags. So cheer up, fellow Californians!

    I’m absolutely certain that Becerra, Newsom, and their ilk (perhaps with input from Feinstein?) will attempt some sort of counteraction, but the genie’s out of the bottle and there are now just too many mags flooding into the state to effectively control. This matter was already adjudicated with the original judge, then appealed to a panel from the 9th which upheld the first judge’s ruling, then returned where it was challenged again and resulted in an even stronger ruling. A motion to appeal to the 9th a second time would be ‘en banc’ and place both Sacramento and the 9th Circuit in hot water, as the 9th knows that it must either (1) rule once again support the ruling and put this whole matter to rest or (2) rule against it in a reversal and ensure it will advance to SCOTUS, where a favorable ruling would affect the entire nation.

    Furthermore, this now spotlights CA’s absurd ‘assault weapon’ classification. After all, if you place one of these dreaded firearms into the hands of any government agent, they call it a PDW, but in the hands of a private citizen it somehow shapeshifts into an assault device? Now the burden may be placed on the State to explain why one person with an AR can freely enjoy their right as ruled by Judge Benitez, while the person next to him cannot simply because his rifle has the original factory-installed handgrip?

    One commentator on YouTube said this ruling may act as the lynchpin to dismantle other firearm restrictions in CA. He may be right.

    1. “… I’m hoping some company such as Franklin Armory will seize the opportunity to make full 30-rd versions of their 10-rd drop-in mags. ” I may not be reading your message as you intended, but 10 round magazines with 30 round boxes have always been legal in California and they have been offered by several manufacturers. The 10/30s are blocked with pop rivets. About 15 seconds of drilling them out will return them to 30 round magazines. That was illegal before the recent decision, but it was an option if TEOTWAKI occurred.

      1. Yes, but those are inserted from underneath the lower, if we’re talking about the same thing. Here in CA, a ‘fixed mag’ can only be inserted from the top (with the upper unpinned and away from the lower). Inserting from underneath without additional “cheat” workarounds such as the Juggernaut lever will result in arrest and felony charges.

  6. Just a heads up, the ruling only affects the state law, the municipal bans are still in effect, so if you live in, or are traveling to or through San Francisco it’s still a misdemeanor to posses. So know your municipal laws.

  7. A tip of the hat to JWR. The continuing ban on using 10+ round magazines in a standard configuration AR or M4gery remains in effect in California. That point seems to be lost in much of the discussion on other web sites.

    Going featureless will now cause the need for those who used mag locks to spend a few bucks in order to use the 10+ round magazines, but changing out the flash suppressor for a muzzle brake, adding a grip with a fin, and making the collapsed stock into a fixed stock, will still make the AR a potent weapon. I doubt the entire cost would be less than $50.00. I believe that a conversion to the Thorsden Gen 3 stock is worth considering, too, even if it is a little more expensive. I have seen great reviews for it. The grip ergonomics are not much different than that of a Mini-14, M1 Garand, or MIA.

    The AR grip with a fin makes it difficult to hold the rifle with one hand, however.
    Before the law regarding “assault rifles” went into effect last year, I asked as many as six gun shop salesmen in different shops about whether they would prefer an AR with a flash suppressor, or an AR with a muzzle brake. All said that they preferred a muzzle brake, since the flash suppressor on the AR wasn’t all that effective anyway, and muzzle brake produced a faster second round on target. Of course, your mileage may vary.

    In any event, in the February issue of American Rifleman, there is an article, “Behind Enemy Lines with the CAR-15.” The author describes the Son Tay prison raid, the raid that, sadly, failed to release American POWs because they had been moved just days earlier. In it, the author wrote at page 51, “It would have upset the CAR-15 developers, but several Green Berets replaced their carefully designed moderators with birdcage flash suppressors to create a roaring, fire-breathing muzzle blast, allegedly for psychological effect.”

    While the recent Federal Court decision did not set things “right” in California, I am celebrating the result for what it is. Cases are pending in other states, and this well-thought out, comprehensive decision cannot help but aid pro-gun forces in the fight.

  8. Online queries return different answers, depending upon the source(s). Some sites say yes, CA has state preemption. Another said it preempts only some firearm laws, but allows local municipalities to supersede in others. Yet another source declared that CA is one of only five states that does *not* have preemption.

    Who knows?…but with last week’s ruling containing a mandate for the State AG to notify all law enforcement agencies across California that the ban has been lifted, I doubt LEOs anywhere are going to do anything. I can only imagine the rare instance where a genuine criminal is arrested for a gun-related crime, and a diligent D.A. in such a city that still bans them will try to add as many charges as he/she thinks will stick. But the average Californian possessing a standard cap mag in the home or at the range? Nope. Don’t see any hassles happening.

  9. This Federal Court decision would not have come about without the California Rifle and Pistol Association and the NRA. If you call yourself a prepper or a survivalist and own guns (and seriously, how could you not), you should be ashamed if you are not a member of some pro-rights gun group that is fighting to protect your gun rights.

    If you don’t have membership in a pro-gun rights organization and you care about your gun rights, you are much like the fellow who says that he supports a free press and reads the newspaper everyday–but who gets his copy from the park benches near him.

    If you are a pacifist survivalist or prepper, that’s your choice. If not, and you have a grudge against the NRA for some position it took in the past, just tell me that you are a member of another pro-gun rights organization and I will agree that you are not a hypocrite.

      1. Wow! The window of opportunity for Californians will be shorter than I thought! Comrade Becarra weaseled that “Stay” order. [B]This means that Californians only have until 5 PM Friday April 5, 2019 to place orders, to make payments, or do face to face deals on 11+ round magazines. [/B]

        By coincidence, I arrived in Northern California today (April 4) with more than 200 assorted magazines. I will be in Northern California until about April 18th.

        Here is the court order:
        [url]https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.casd.533515/gov.uscourts.casd.533515.97.0.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1S9x3yp2uUe4mrEJEjvyadbVeKKnWP4J3GiUWXeDSCPkcSQ6jbxcSGgwc[/url]

        The key parts are the LAST TWO paragraphs.

        I brought the following mostly ORIGINAL factory and military contract magazines. 95% of them are brand new:

      2. AR-15 — More than 100 magazines, including various 30 and 40 round PMAGs, mil-spec black Teflon coated alloy 30 rounders, four PMAG D60 drums, and just one Beta CMAG.

        HK91/G3 (alloy and steel) –Including some scarce sealed arsenal 10-pack boxes.

        AR-10 — just a few 20 rounders, and ONE of the newly-released MagPul D50 .308 50-round drums.

        Steyr AUG (30 & 42 rd.–a mix of green and black floorplates)

        Mini-14 30rd. (brand new, Ruger factory-made in clear clam shell packages)

        Glock 17/19: 15 rd., 17 rd., and LOTS of factory 33-round, plus some clear ATS brand 31-round.

        Glock 21 (13 round, .45 ACP)

        Saiga-12 magazines made by AGP. (Gen. 2 — the really good ones!)

        Beretta M92 (15-round Beretta factory and a few Airtronic and Checkmate USGI contract magazines, slightly used.)

        SIG P228 9mm 13-round. Just three available.

        M14/M1A: I have six of the scarce X-Products drums.

      3. Everything will be “first come, first served.” 🙂

        I’m presently in Redding, California, but will be driving to Sunnyvale, California, tomorrow, by way of Sacramento.

        [B]Special Note for folks living in Northern California: [/B]If you think that you can get together with me before April 18th to take delivery, then please [B]BEFORE 5M Pacific Time of April 5th[/B], PayPal me just $1 (One Dollar) with NO MEMO and no gun-related words, to: [B]james@rawles.to[/B]
        (That is NOT a .com address!) [B]That way, legally (with the PayPal paper trail), we can document that you became the owner of a portion of those magazines BEFORE 5M Pacific Time of April 5th.[/B] We can settle up on the difference (the “handling fees”) when we actually meet face to face sometime between now and the 18th, for you to take delivery of the magazines that you will have purchased BEFORE 5M Pacific Time of April 5th.

        Remember: Both the courts and California law enforcement are bound by the Black Letter Law wording of today’s Stay order. They wrote themselves into a box (allowing transactions BEFORE 5M Pacific Time of April 5th) so we ought to take full advantage of it.

        It saddens me that Californians had to suffer for 19 years under this horrible law, and then were given just SIX DAYS to stock up. [B]DON’T MISS OUT[/B] on this opportunity.

        Please e-mail me to make arrangements to get together. Again, I can [I]only[/I] do so for individual California residents who PayPal me $1 BEFORE 5M Pacific Time of April 5th, 2019. (PayPal address : james@rawles.to)

        “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”

  10. I response to Survorman99, if you’re a competition shooter they are correct with the muzzle brake. If you are using it for protection stick with a flash hider. If you’re practicing team tactics and you are the one with a muzzle brake you will be hated. They are incredibly loud and obnoxious, and the fire that blows out of them rivals a good Fourth of July display.

  11. What about N.Y? We are still stuck with 10 rd magazine limits after the “safe-act ” passage in the dead of night. Ex-post facto… we don’t need no ex-post facto laws in N.Y. we do what we want!

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