Thursday, December 15, 2016

New California Gun Laws for 2017

Between July's "Gunmageddon" and the passage of Prop. 63, California enacted a series of restrictive new gun laws this year.

Some new California gun laws to expect in 2017 include:
  • A ban on the sale / transfer of common, center-fire, semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines.  
  • A new definition of "detachable magazine", to specifically prohibit the "bullet button".  
  • A ban on the possession of any magazine that is capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
  • The nation's first background check to purchase ammunition. 
  • A ban on importation of ammo from out-of-state.
  • A new requirement that homemade lower receivers ("ghost guns") be serialized and registered with the state.
The definition of "assault rifle" under California law was expanded to include any center-fire, semiautomatic rifle with a magazine that is not "fixed". If the magazine can be removed without disassembling the action of the firearm (pulling the rear take-down pin), it is now considered "detachable".  This effectively bans the bullet button.

If you own a rifle with detachable magazine or a bullet button before January 1, 2017, you may keep it, but you can't sell it, trade it or give it away after that date. If you die, your kids can't inherit it. You are the last person who will ever own it. You must also register your "assault rifle" with the Department of Justice before December 31, 2017. 

Starting July 1, 2017, civilians will be completely prohibited from possessing magazines with the capacity to hold more than 10 rounds. There is no "grandfather clause" for magazines that were owned or possessed before the prohibition. If you own them now, you're expected to turn them in, take them out of state, sell them to a licensed firearms dealer, or destroy them.

As of January 1, 2018, Ammunition buyers will be required to purchase a 4-year permit for $50.00 and undergo a background check. All ammunition sales will be electronically reported to the Department of Justice, and residents will be prohibited from bringing ammunition into California from out-of-state.

If you finish your own 80% receiver in your garage, you must register your "ghost gun" with the Department of Justice and have the part serialized.  Starting January 1, 2017, unfinished receivers will be regulated just like real firearms.  

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about how these new regulations will work in practice. We also expect some tooth-and-nail litigation before some of those questions are resolved. Stay tuned to see how this all plays out over the next year.

If you or a loved one has questions about gun laws in California, call us for a free attorney consultation. (714) 449-3335. Ask for John.

Thanks for reading.

Orange County Gun Lawyer