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View Full Version : Can You Legally Remove a Fixed Mag?


JWI
02-21-2006, 9:40 AM
I have seen it stated here and elsewhere that a bare AR lower, with an open magwell and a pistol grip/telescoping stock attached is a prohibited AW. The recommendation is that if the fixed magazine is ever removed, for cleaning, etc., the pistol grip and/or tele stock should be removed first. This will prevent you from possessing "even for a moment" a prohibited AW.

This interpretation does not seem to make sense or have any support in what the PC defines as an AW. You should be able to remove the magazine, with the use of a tool, in order to clean the weapon, clear stoppages, or for maintenance. After all, the law does not appear to prohibit you from removing the magazine, only from having a weapon with other SB 23 features where the magazine can be detached without the use of a tool.

Until the off-list lowers are added to the ban list, they potentially fall under "Category III" AWs, if at all. (Apparently, according to the DOJ they still will be subject to the Category III restrictions, even after they are added to the ban list and registered.)

According to PC section 12276.1, a Category III AW is a "centerfire" rifle, that "has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine" and has any of the other SB 23 features. A "detachable magazine" is "any ammunition feeding device that can be removed readily from the firearm with neither disassembly of the firearm action nor use of a tool being required." Thus, SB 23 does not appear to prohibit ownership of a centerfire, semi-auto rifle that has a pistol grip and a removeable magazine, so long as the magazine cannot be removed without the use of a tool. In fact, the statute (and interpreting regs) specifically contemplate that you can remove the magazine from the rifle. It would be illogical for the law, on the one hand, to allow removal of the magazine (with a tool) and, on the other hand, prohibit possession of the same weapon once the magazine is removed.

If the opposite were true, removal of the pistol grip and tele stock prior to removal of the magazine would not make any difference in terms of compliance with SB23. The assumption underlying the recommendation that these features be removed prior to removing the magazine is that one could infer that, with an open mag well, the owner might then insert the other parts that give the weapon "the capacity to accept a detachable magazine," specifically, the button and spring that attach to the magazine catch. Only with those parts, can the weapon "accept" a detachable magazine. Without them, the magazine will simply fall to the floor. The DOJ, however, has stated (in writing) that possession of the parts necessary to construct a Category III AW does not constitute possession of an AW. (Unlike a Category I weapon, where possession of the bare receiver is prohibited.) Accordingly, having a receiver, with a pistol grip and/or tele stock attached should be permitted, so long as the spring loaded magazine catch is not installed.

If this interpretation is not correct, and it could be inferred merely from possessing the receiver without the spring catch installed, but with the other SB 23 features attached, that you possess a Category III AW, then removing the pistol grip and tele stock prior to removing the magazine would not make a difference in terms of complying with SB 23 since you would still possess all the components.

It is logical that a Category III AW must actually be assembled in order to be prohibited. For instance, what if you had a .22 LR upper for your AR? Assembled, you could legally have a detachable magazine since a .22 (rimfire) cartridge firing weapon cannot be a Category III AW. If you remove the upper, have you become a felon? What if you own two AR weapons; one with a fixed mag and .223 upper, and one with a detachable mag and a .22LR upper. Do you only remove the uppers from either weapon at the peril of becoming a felon?

I'm not saying this is the only correct interpretation, but it certainly presents some interesting questions.

double_action
02-21-2006, 9:50 AM
Oh boy, did you open a can of worms . . . .

According to the experts, open mag well with pistol grip = AW. . . period.

I do agree with the experts, however, that we should pay it safe, regardless.

ohsmily
02-21-2006, 9:53 AM
This has been covered many times. While you may be within the law when you remove the "fixed magazine" with the pistol grip in place, you would be testing the limits of the law. It would be prudent to err on the safe side and remove the "offending features" if you are going to remove your magazine. But again, it is probably within the strict construction of the law to remove the magazine and still have sb23 features in place.

ALTERNATIVE:
One way to certainly be compliant and have the best of both worlds as it were, is to construct a magazine fixing feature that requires a tool to BOTH remove the magazine AND reinsert the magazine. This would certainly keep you within the law and allow you to skip the time consuming step of removing the pistol grip and any other sb23 features.

This thread should die here b/c this has been covered many times.

FreedomIsNotFree
02-21-2006, 9:53 AM
Think of it this way......You can not instantly pin the mag to the lower. For that short period of time when the mag is inserted and NOT pinned you have an AW. Why risk it? Sure if done in the comfort of your own home the probability of you getting arrested is slim, but I think it is important that everyone understand the issue at hand.

filefish
02-21-2006, 9:59 AM
ok so what if i take a hacksaw to my pistol grip and use a fixed stock... then can I remove my mag?:eek:

-aK-
02-21-2006, 10:05 AM
ok so what if i take a hacksaw to my pistol grip and use a fixed stock... then can I remove my mag?:eek:

No you can not hacksaw your pistol grip.

You can however buy a stock that is designed where the thumb is higher than the trigger.

Someone just posted a picture of just one I'll find it and come back.

bwiese
02-21-2006, 10:17 AM
The presence of the fixed 10rd nondetachable mag lets us cleanly say we do not have a "semiauto capable of accepting a detachable mag and <pistol grip, telestock, etc>".


having a receiver, with a pistol grip and/or tele stock attached should be permitted, so long as the spring loaded magazine catch is not installed.

Even if no mag catch parts were present, the rifle could possibly still fire/cycle a round if a mag were held in place manually while firing. That would count as capable of accepting a detachable mag, even if it operation was unreliable. Even if it couldn't fire, it was still 'capable of accepting'. You're welcome to prove otherwise, and establish new standards for the phrase "capable of accepting", in court should you choose to do so.

If you do not have a 10rd fixed mag, then really nothing differentiates your gun from a 'by features' AW, regardless of presence/absence of a mag catch.

You should be able to remove the magazine, with the use of a tool, in order to clean the weapon, clear stoppages, or for maintenance. After all, the law does not appear to prohibit you from removing the magazine, only from having a weapon with other SB 23 features where the magazine can be detached without the use of a tool.

Just because you "should" be able to easily clean and manipulate your rifle doesn't mean squat. These are not logical laws.

The bottom line is that if you have a receiver with a pistol grip and an open magwell (regardless of catch) it could very easily be regarded as an AW. And since a legal path to diassasembly/reassembly exists (by following sequence w/pistol grip + telestock in relation to fixed mag) you'd be silly not to follow that.

I cannot understand for the life of me why I see all these newbie posters wanting to take shortcuts in the face of possible felony charges. We are already waving a red flag in the DOJ's and local DAs' noses, and there will be extra attention to detail in these areas should cases come up.

It would be illogical for the law, on the one hand, to allow removal of the magazine (with a tool) and, on the other hand, prohibit possession of the same weapon once the magazine is removed.

Never assume laws are, or should be, logical. They may have had logic to the person who wrote 'em, but that may be it.

Really, the law never really envisioned our fixed-mag rifles, etc. I am, frankly, sure that a fixed-mag AR and detachable mag AR are pretty much equally offensive to anitgunners. The SB23 AW law merely offered one definition of a 'by features' AW, and the DOJ separately wrote the definition for detachable magazine in CCR section 978.20. The combination & interplay of these two is what allows us to have and/or create legal fixed-mag rifles.

A byproduct of this interrelationship is that in the transition from frame to legal fixed mag rifle is the chance that an illegal AW could be formed. Thus, this is why I and others have gone to great length to point out the legal "path sensitivity" in assembling a legal rifle from an off-list receiver.

-aK-
02-21-2006, 10:20 AM
This is the pic I was looking for.

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showpost.php?p=230487&postcount=123

HK_Fan
02-21-2006, 10:23 AM
This is the pic I was looking for.

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showpost.php?p=230487&postcount=123


I dont know if you read the history behind that rifle that you posted or not. But that is not just a stock, that is a completely re-enginered lower receiver, and provisions have been made to the buffer tube assy. trigger assy. etc. From what I and others are hearing, it may be going into production sometime in the near futer.

Rob

filefish
02-21-2006, 11:37 AM
I am just wondering if I need to have my spare lower asymbled and working if it makes the list before I register it as an aw. I am not even thinking of attaching it to an upper

JWI
02-21-2006, 11:42 AM
I believe I have read all the posts on the board, although there certainly are a lot of them and I may have missed something. In my review of earlier postings, I did not see any answers to the questions that I posted.

I have read all the other posts which describe what seem like ways to unfairly circumvent the tool-detachable mag requirement. I am not suggesting the same thing at all. What I am saying is that the plain language of the regs clearly permits removal of a magazine in this circumstance with a tool, and there is nothing in the statute or the regs requiring that this be done in any particular sequence. The law does not say that the magazine has to be completely fixed and non-removable. (In fact, calling it a "fixed" mag is technically inaccurate.) Thus, the intent of the law is that you can actually remove the magazine, albeit with a tool or disassembly of the weapon.

The Legislature may not have "envisioned" fixed-mag ARs in particular when enacting the statute, but that is immaterial. The idea that you would have a tool-removeable magazine weapon with a pistol grip and/or telestock is certainly not new, and in fact is specifically contemplated by the statute. The reg describing a "detachable" magazine is expressly intended to interpret the PC section defining Category III weapons which have these features. You would not need to have a tool-removeable magazine on any other type of weapon. Accordingly, the law contemplates (and therefore permits) your weapon to have the other SB23 features on it when the magazine (with the use of a tool or disassembly) is removed.

You can't interpret SB 23 to say that removal of the magazine with a tool is permitted, but the instant that you remove it the weapon becomes a Category III AW simply because you can hold the mag in place with your fingers and squeeze off a round. If that was the case, there would be no point in defining "detachable" magazine and the language describing the use of a tool would be surplusage. The law does, in fact, have to be logical because a person of reasonable intelligence has to know what conduct is prohibted by the statute. Otherwise, it violates due process and is unconstitutional.

Also, there seems to be no reason why you cannot have a rimfire rifle with SB 23 features. The first element of the AW statute defining Category III weapons requires that it be a semi-auto centerfire rifle. If you owned a .22 LR upper, the lower half could not violate SB 23 no matter what features it had. With a .22 LR upper, how could the lower with any of its parts (including prohibited SB 23 features) be a Category III weapon at all? How could possession of a lower with an open magwell and a pistol grip, with no upper, be a Category III weapon when its status as a "centerfire" weapon cannot be determined until you add the upper?

The foregoing is just my interpretation of what the laws appear to provide and is offered to encourage debate on this issue. I'm certainly not suggesting that anyone follow my interpretation, tempt fate or anything, or that this should be tested in court. Because of the above ambiguities, I do agree that what has been posted in terms of the recommended assembly/disassambly sequence is the safest way to go.

Has anyone asked the Cal DOJ (or any of the 58 District Attorneys) what types of fixed mag/removeable mag .22 LR configurations are legal, and under what circumstances they can be removed? Instead of speculating about hypothetical scenarios, that would seem to be the "safest" approach by far.

Jeff Rambo
02-21-2006, 11:45 AM
I am just wondering if I need to have my spare lower asymbled and working if it makes the list before I register it as an aw. I am not even thinking of attaching it to an upper


No, you do not need to have it assembled.

-aK-
02-21-2006, 11:49 AM
I dont know if you read the history behind that rifle that you posted or not. But that is not just a stock, that is a completely re-enginered lower receiver, and provisions have been made to the buffer tube assy. trigger assy. etc. From what I and others are hearing, it may be going into production sometime in the near futer.

Rob

I have not.

I thought it was just a stock.

Interesting...

grammaton76
02-21-2006, 12:30 PM
Also, there seems to be no reason why you cannot have a rimfire rifle with SB 23 features. The first element of the AW statute defining Category III weapons requires that it be a semi-auto centerfire rifle. If you owned a .22 LR upper, the lower half could not violate SB 23 no matter what features it had. With a .22 LR upper, how could the lower with any of its parts (including prohibited SB 23 features) be a Category III weapon at all? How could possession of a lower with an open magwell and a pistol grip, with no upper, be a Category III weapon when its status as a "centerfire" weapon cannot be determined until you add the upper?

...

Has anyone asked the Cal DOJ (or any of the 58 District Attorneys) what types of fixed mag/removeable mag .22 LR configurations are legal, and under what circumstances they can be removed? Instead of speculating about hypothetical scenarios, that would seem to be the "safest" approach by far.

It's legal. Check my post history, at the end of the $260 22LR upper thread you'll find the statement I bring to the range with my 22 AR.

Side note, haven't had anyone take issue with the thing at all and it's been out once on a crowded day.

snobordr
02-21-2006, 4:43 PM
Think of it this way......You can not instantly pin the mag to the lower. For that short period of time when the mag is inserted and NOT pinned you have an AW.

Is that why the dark van with all the tinted windows rolled up after I drilled that hole last night? They left as soon as I placed the pin in it and tapped it once.

:D

Calguns.net, taking paranoia to a new level.


sorry guys, I couldn't hep it.

FreedomIsNotFree
02-21-2006, 5:42 PM
Is that why the dark van with all the tinted windows rolled up after I drilled that hole last night? They left as soon as I placed the pin in it and tapped it once.

:D

Calguns.net, taking paranoia to a new level.


sorry guys, I couldn't hep it.

Paranoia is Jerome walking into your cell after you are convicted for possesion of an AW..........:D

caliar15
02-21-2006, 6:02 PM
Paranoia is Jerome walking into your cell after you are convicted for possesion of an AW..........:D
That would truly be just paranoia, See possesion of an AW is not a felony:D transporting one is however:eek:

ohsmily
02-21-2006, 8:08 PM
Paranoia is Jerome walking into your cell after you are convicted for possesion of an AW..........:D


:D ...........