The topic of gun control is something that almost all Americans have opinions on. Indeed, it is a hotly debated subject. Under the Second Amendment Rights, all of the US citizens have the right to own firearms to protect themselves, their properties, and their loved ones from harm. However, it also just so happens that mass shootings occur with alarming frequency in the US., more than in any other nation in the world. Some are quick to point out that these violent attacks can be traced back to the laid-back gun regulations in the country. Meanwhile, others argue that there are many other factors in play other than gun ownership.
Whichever side you take, it will not change the fact that we need to start taking action as soon as possible. In California, government officials have recognized this need and implemented the highly-controversial Penal Code PC 32310, which basically banned all gun magazines that hold more than 10 bullets. This very strict ordinance indirectly made half of all magazines in America to become unlawful. Due to pressure from the federal court, this penal code has now been revised -- or at least temporarily altered. We'll get to the entire story of that later on in the article. But first, let us understand the language of the penal code in order to truly grasp why so many people -- including the federal court -- got triggered.
The first version prohibited large-capacity magazines ever since 2000. However, the reason why no one said anything then was due to the fact that the law permitted certain individuals to keep their high-capacity magazines if they bought or possessed them before the implementation of the law. In 2016, however, it was revised and officially declared that no one may possess, keep, or store gun magazines that can hold at least 10 bullets. This change sparked outrage among gun owners across the state and prompted the NRA to sue the legislators and demanded that the initial exemption be brought back. Four years later, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned California's ban in an impressive 2-1 decision on the grounds that the penal code violates Californians' Second Amendment rights. For now, that is the least we know about the decision. The new minimum or standards for gun magazines have yet to be established, but the initial provision (which allows gun owners to keep the high-capacity magazines that they have owned for years) has been reinstated.
With that said, anyone in California are not allowed to:
- Fabricate or assemble;
- Put up for sale;
- Borrow; or
- Keep magazines that has the capacity of over 10 ammunitions.
For example, an out-of-state tourist brings a clip with 14 rounds of ammunition in California. Unbeknownst to him, his gun magazine is technically illegal in the state. He may still be arrested for violating PC 32310 even if the capacity of the clip was legal in the state he bought in from. Remember, once you step foot on a certain state, you are subjected to follow their rules and not the laws of any other state.
Penalties for Illegal High-Capacity Gun Magazines
With the recent revisions of the law, penalties have also been affected. Initially, gun owners are expected to dispose of or surrender their high-capacity magazines regardless of the date they were acquired. Anyone who violates this rule is a guilty of an infraction or a misdemeanor, where the penalties are as follows:
- For an infraction, a fine not exceeding $100 per high-capacity magazine;
- For a misdemeanor, the fine mentioned above and/or a jail sentence of at least 1 year.
Since the provision is now obsolete, the aforementioned penalties are no longer applicable.
Meanwhile, anyone who buys, sells, or trades a high-capacity magazine despite the existence of the PC 32310 may face either a misdemeanor or a felony case.
- For a misdemeanor, a maximum jail sentence of 1 year;
- For a felony, a prison sentence of either 16 months, 2, or 3 years.
Other sentences or penalties may be added on top of the consequences listed above if the person violates more than one law, such as aggravated assault with deadly weapon.
Get Legal Help
While this may seem like a sketchy law that one can easily escape from, it does not mean that lawsuits are not made under PC 32310. If you happen to be a gun owner possessing a high-capacity magazine, you're likely going to get sued for breaking the law. Fortunately, California is abundant with expert criminal defense lawyers who can help you clear your name and reputation. Talk to one today.
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