Monday, January 26, 2009

Legal In California

Gun owners know that California is in its own universe when it comes to gun laws in the United States. The Second Amendment has limited scope here.

The specifications website for any handgun sold in the United States has a special category that states whether the gun is legal to purchase in California. The Ruger SR9 webpage is a good example. (Here.) The SR9 was not legal to own in California until it was certified by the Department of Justice back in December 2008 and placed on this list. (Here.)

Many handguns sold legally elsewhere in the US are not legal in California because the law here states that
" ... no handgun may be manufactured within California, imported into California for sale, lent, given, kept for sale, or offered/exposed for sale unless that handgun model has passed firing, safety, and drop tests and is certified for sale in California by the Department of Justice. Private party transfers, curio/relic handguns, certain single-action revolvers, and pawn/consignment returns are exempt from this requirement." (Here.)
Long guns don't fall under this law but long guns that qualify as assault weapons are illegal in California. (Here.) In general, an assault weapon is a semiautomatic rifle that accepts a detachable magazine and is outfitted with certain scary-looking design features like a pistol grip, a foldable stock, a flash suppressor, or a grenade launcher. (Okay, that last characteristic is probably reasonable to ban no matter how cool it would be to have.)

California's assault weapons ban also outlaws semiautomatic rifles that can hold more than 10 rounds in a fixed magazine, and some handguns and shotguns with certain characteristics. The characteristics are a bit detailed, so if you want to know more, go here and scroll down to section 12276.1.

Oh, and machine guns are forbidden in California, too. (Here.) But, surprisingly, Gatling Guns are not. This sweet-looking baby was for sale at Discount Gun Mart in San Diego, California, when I went there tonight to purchase my new Ruger SR9.

This fierce looking weapon holds 100 low caliber 22LR cartridges in its magazine. Gun owners would call this a plinker.

It's not a machine gun because it's a semiautomatic. It's not an assault weapon because it doesn't have the characteristics of a rifle. It's clearly not a handgun, even for Hellboy. And, best of all, it's perfectly legal to own in California. All you need to do is pass the background check and fork over $20,000. Who could have predicted that the state with some of the strictest anti-gun laws in the United States would have a Gatling Gun loophole? I'm falling in love with my home state all over again.


Republished once for content.

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I read the letter from the Feds. Basically, it's legal because it fires 22s. The fact that it looks like a Civil War-vintage weapon is irrelevent.

grumph! Is California law silly? I'd say so. God knows, there have been multiple murders committed here and there across the USA over the last 50 years or so, but most of the murderers have been psychotics, using weapons acquired from states/localities far away from their homicides. It's hard to believe that letting ANYONE buy these weapons in ANY location would make much of a difference, but I suppose I have more respect for the sanity of my fellow citizens than California legislators.

-mike shupp
It is legal not because it's .22 rimfire. It is legal because the BATFE has ruled it is not a machine gun and the hand crank operation mean it can not fire in the fully automatic way that a normal machine gun can.

It is manually cranked and when the cranking stops so does the firing. If you held the crank in one position and it fired all by it's self then it would be a fully automatic weapon and illegal.

It only needs to be long then 30 inches to not be considered an assault weapon and over 26 inches to be a long gun
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