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With limited exceptions, California law prohibits any person from manufacturing, importing into the state, keeping for sale, offering or exposing for sale, giving, lending, buying, or receiving a large capacity magazine.1 (A “large capacity magazine” is defined as any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than ten rounds, with exceptions for any .22 caliber tube ammunition feeding device, any feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than ten rounds, or any tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm).2

In 2016, California voters also passed Proposition 63, which (among many other gun safety reforms) generally prohibited possession of large capacity magazines starting on July 1, 2017.3 Proposition 63 required individuals who owned large capacity magazines to permanently alter them so they cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds or to otherwise dispose of them before July 1, 2017 by selling them to a licensed firearms dealer, transferring them to law enforcement, removing them from the state, or destroying them.4**Enforcement of these restrictions on possession of large-capacity magazines were delayed pending an ongoing legal challenge by the NRA’s California affiliate. To learn more about this case and the Giffords Law Center’s work to defend Proposition 63, visit our Duncan v. Becerra summary page.**

California law also generally prohibits any person from manufacturing, importing into the state, selling, giving, lending, buying, or receiving, any large capacity magazine conversion kit. A “large capacity magazine conversion kit” is defined as a device, or combination of parts from a fully-functioning large capacity magazine, capable of converting an ammunition feeding device into a large capacity magazine.5

In 2022, California also enacted the Firearm Industry Responsibility Act, which may affect regulation of large-capacity magazines and magazine conversion kits and create processes for private actions against industry members who violate the law. This law requires firearm industry members6 to comply with a “firearm industry standard of conduct,” which (among other things) makes it unlawful for firearm industry members to manufacture, market, import, or offer for wholesale or retail sale any firearms or firearm-related products, including firearm accessories and components,7 that are “abnormally dangerous and likely to cause an unreasonable risk of harm to public health and safety in California.”8 This law provides certain statutory presumptions that a firearm or firearm-related product is abnormally dangerous and likely to create an unreasonable risk of harm to public health and safety if the product’s features render the product most suitable for assaultive purposes instead of lawful self-defense, hunting, or other legitimate sport and recreational activities or if the product is designed, sold, or marketed in a manner that foreseeably promotes conversion of legal firearm-related products into illegal firearm-related products.9 Victims harmed by violations of this law, as well as the state Attorney General, or any county counsel or city attorney in the state, may bring a civil action in court seeking court-ordered remedies and compensation for damage caused by a violation of this law. See the Gun Industry Immunity and Liability in California page for more detailed information.

Exceptions:

Upon a showing of good cause, the California Department of Justice may issue permits for the possession, transportation, or sale of large capacity ammunition magazines between a licensed California firearms dealer and an out-of-state customer.10

Large capacity magazines may be manufactured for any federal, state, or local government or law enforcement agency, the military, or for use by agency employees in the discharge of their official duties, whether on or off duty.11 Large capacity magazines may also be purchased or loaned for the sole use as a motion picture, television or video prop.12 Such magazines may also be resold to law enforcement agencies, government agencies, or the military, pursuant to applicable federal regulations.13

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  1. Cal. Penal Code § 32310. Note that while these provisions are still in effect, there is an ongoing lawsuit to challenge them (brought by the NRA’s California affiliate). To learn more about this case and the Giffords Law Center’s work to defend California’s magazine law, visit our Duncan v. Becerra summary page.[]
  2. Cal. Penal Code § 16740.[]
  3. See Cal. Penal Code §§ 32310(c), (d).[]
  4. Id.; Cal. Penal Code § 16740(a) (excluding from the definition of “large-capacity magazine” any ammunition feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds).[]
  5. Cal. Penal Code § 32311.[]
  6. The term “Firearm industry member” is defined to mean “a person, firm, corporation, company, partnership, society, joint stock company, or any other entity or association engaged in the manufacture, distribution, importation, marketing, wholesale, or retail sale of firearm-related products.” Cal. Civil Code § 3273.50(f).[]
  7. “Firearm-related product” is defined to include a firearm, ammunition, a firearm precursor part [also known as an unfinished frame or receiver], a firearm component, or a firearm accessory, that meets certain jurisdictional requirements. See Cal. Civil Code § 3273.50(d).[]
  8. See Cal. Civ. Code § 3273.519(c).[]
  9. Cal. Civ. Code § 3273.51(c)(2).[]
  10. Cal. Penal Code § 32315. The requirements for demonstrating “good cause” are set out at Cal. Code Regs. tit. 11, § 5480.[]
  11. Cal. Penal Code § 32440.[]
  12. Cal. Penal Code §§ 32445, 32450.[]
  13. Cal. Penal Code § 32450(c). For additional large capacity ammunition magazine regulations, see Cal. Code Regs. tit. 11, §§ 5480–84.[]