Gun Control

San Francisco Targets 'Repair Kits' That Skirt California's Gun Magazine Limit

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44Mag

One reason bans on "high-capacity" magazines are unlikely to have a noticeable impact on gun deaths is that such laws generally do not involve confiscation of magazines already in circulation. And contrary to what some members of Congress seem to believe, magazines are reusable and can last for years. But what happens when they start to wear out? In California, which has banned magazines holding more than 10 rounds since 2000, people who legally owned noncompliant magazines before then are permitted to buy replacement parts for them. (The federal law restricting magazine capacity, which expired in 2004, made a similar allowance.) But if you buy enough replacement parts, you have essentially purchased a new magazine; you just need to assemble it. This week San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a lawsuit aimed at narrowing that loophole.

The basis for Herrera's suit is California's Unfair Competition Law, which aims to "protect consumers and law-abiding competing businesses from unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business practices." He argues that three companies—44Mag Distributing of Harbor, Oregon; Exile Machine of Dallas, Texas; and Copes Distributing of Pitsburg, Ohio—are violating California law by selling "repair kits" that include all the parts you need to make a high-capacity magazine. But according to a 2005 letter from Bill Lockyer, then California's attorney general, such sales are perfectly legal. Furthermore, the suppliers warn customers about the legal restrictions on the use of these kits. 44Mag, for example, tells potential buyers in California that "it is not illegal to possess all of the parts to manufacture a new large-capacity magazine, as long as you do not manufacture the magazine in the state of California." Exile Machine provides a similar caveat:

Yes, we gladly ship to California customers!

If you purchase magazines which hold more than 10 rounds, we will automatically disassemble them into 100% legal repair/rebuild kits for compliance with CA law.  We do not charge extra for this service. Your invoice will clearly state (in ALL CAPS & BOLD) that you are receiving disassembled repair/rebuild kits. Note that a few types of magazines are welded shut and can not be disassembled.  

PLEASE NOTE: CA-Legal Magazine Repair / Rebuild Kits are to be used to 1) repair or rebuild your existing legally owned high capacity magazines or 2) permanently block to 10 rounds or 3) store in a disassembled condition for use outside of California. They are not intended for reassembly into new high capacity magazines, which would be a felony under California law.  

Herrera also sued B & L Productions of Kaysville, Utah, which "hosts gun shows throughout California…where large-capacity magazine 'repair kits' are typically available for purchase." He argues that all four defendants are winking at the law, knowing full well that at least some of their customers will use the kits to get around it. But what rule should gun accessory suppliers deduce from Herrera's lawsuit? That it is OK to sell all the parts necessary to make a high-capacity magazine (as it clearly is under California law), provided you don't sell them together? If so, all Herrera can hope to accomplish is forcing buyers to click a few more buttons.

Does Herrera know about 3D printers?

[Thanks to Robert Woolley for the tip.]

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  1. “Pipes are for tobacco use only”

  2. Greedy businesses exploiting loopholes.

  3. That’s the same sort of warning that was on the Vino Sano Grape Brick during Prohibition…

  4. “For medicinal purposes ONLY!”

  5. The basis for Herrera’s suit is California’s Unfair Competition Law, which aims to “protect consumers and law-abiding competing businesses from unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business practices.”

    Am I missing the part where California gun manufacuterers are getting screwed?

    1. “It’s for the children.”

  6. “Motorized Magic Wand Massager for sore neck and back muscles!”

    1. Anyone remember the “Executive Ice Scraper” sold in Soldier of Fortune magazine?

  7. The real question: why does anyone need a repair kit?

    1. At this point, what does it matter?

    2. Shit breaks.

    3. Broken law, broken magazine, what’s the diff?

  8. “Water Purifier! Uses proven method of distillation. Just discard the ‘contaminants’ when done.”

    1. “Space heater! Passes electric current through a wire to generate heat. Side effects include: Illumination.”

      1. sold in individual glass containers.

    2. Water Purifier! Uses proven method of distillation.

      I got one of these off ebay.

      1. It doesn’t come with the recommended oak disposal vessel for the contaminants though…that is sold separately.

        1. I’ve heard that you can dispose of the contaminants in glass mason jars as long as you put charred oak chips in there to soak up the worst of the impurities. You have to be a little more aggressive about stirring with this method.

          1. I understand that if you do it in small batches in tiny (2-3gal) oak disposal containers that the contaminants can be ready for further disposal in under six months…equivalent to 5 or so years if done in large 55gal batches.

            1. I’d like to undertake an experiment whereby I vary the amount of stirring and chip loading to find the minimal time for safe and effective disposal. There’s a guy in Ohio who is doing large batches in two or three days (weeks?), I beleive.

              1. Or you could go all Jack Daniels and just run it through charcoal.

      2. No joke, was in a different home brew shop from my normal one a couple of weeks ago and they had on the floor, in the center, with a BIG AS SIGN, “New Still! Only 299!”

        I turned to the clerk and said “you spelled Water Purifier wrong.”

        1. How does that work? Buying it I mean. From the research I’ve done it is perfectly legal to own a still, provided you have a license that requires you to submit to random searches by federal agents.

          Did they require the buyer to fill out the federal paperwork first? If not then I’d jump on it. Buy it with cash.

          1. It is perfectly legal to own an apparatus for purifying water or essential oils by means of selective evaporation. It is highly illegal to separate ethyl alcohol from water in these things. No paperwork required.

            1. Not true. It’s only illegal to distill alcohol if it is used for beverage purposes. If you want to put it in your car it’s perfectly legal.

  9. dat ship of theseus.

  10. …people who legally owned noncompliant magazines before then are permitted to buy replacement parts for them.

    So we need permission to buy a spring now?

  11. This is the original axe that George Washington used to cut down that cherry tree. Well the handle wore out, so it was replaced. Then the blade broke. So that was replaced too. But it takes up the same space.

  12. More bad news for California: interns who do employee work have to be paid. No more fluffing for free to break into porn.

    1. It’ll be funny-sad in a year or so when we’re reading articles from people generally mystified about why it’s impossible for recent grads to find internships in California.

  13. heh – this reminds me of the switchblade kit I bought sometime in the 1980s. Sure switchblades are illegal in Michigan, but not the component parts. It was a crappy blade but sure looked cool when you hit the switch.

  14. PLEASE NOTE: CA-Legal Magazine Repair / Rebuild Kits are to be used to 1) repair or rebuild your existing legally owned high capacity magazines or 2) permanently block to 10 rounds or 3) store in a disassembled condition for use outside of California. They are not intended for reassembly into new high capacity magazines, which would be a felony under California law.

    Whatever you do, make sure not to assemble this into a fully working magazine. However, we strongly recommend you replace every part that shows the slightest bit of wear and or use up to and including everything.

    1. Enh. Mags wear out. I had four pre-ban mags for my Glock 17 that were starting to show their age, so I bought these kits to replace the worn bits. The state legislature is considering banning importation of the kits into the state, so I don’t know what sort of sand Herrera has in his vagina, other than he’s one of these pricks from San Francisco who thinks he’s entitled to dictate how everybody else in the state lives.

  15. I like these companies. We’ll break the magazine down to its parts before shipping it to you. Do not reassemble it while you’re in CA.

  16. That’s why they need to sell all the parts separately instead.

  17. Fucking people. They’re so wiley, they always find a way around these laws. Why can’t legislatures just ban people?

  18. Capricious and ill-conceived laws are too easy to circumvent. We need immediate legislation addressing this problem.

  19. Thank you for posting all three links you saved me a trip out of state

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