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Stoked
04-27-2010, 2:04 PM
First of all please forgive me if this has been asked. I wasn't sure how to search for an answer to this specific question.

Let me start off with what I do know.

I have spent a significant amount of time reading the forums here at Calguns to make sure that when I do ask a question I don't get flamed for asking the same questions that are always asked.

I understand what is considered "on-list" and I also understand what is referred to as "off-list".

I have read through what is Cat1 and Cat2 listed and also what is Cat3 and the features used to identify AW's.

I am not yet a AR type owner but am strongly considering picking one up or at least buying a OLL to start the process.

I recently downloaded the AW Guide off of www.ag.ca.gov, just so that I can understand as much of the topic without having to bother you veterans. :) But here's what I don't understand about it-

On page 62, titled AR-15 Series Weapons, it states this (copied directly from the guide)-

"The makes and models provided in this guide include those which the Department of Justice was able to locate prior to printing this booklet. It is probable that some series weapons in circulation are unknown to the Department of Justice. If you encounter a suspected series weapon that is not specifically named in this booklet, please contact the Firearms Division at (916) 263-4887 for identification of that weapon. Additional assault weapon models as they are identified will be included in future versions of this guide and will be posted on the Firearms Division website at www.ag.ca.gov/firearms/awguide/."

The second sentence states that it is "probable" that similar AR series weapons are out there (I.E. OLL's), and that if there is a question to give them a call. (I assume referring to LEO's calling the AG office)

This section of the guide is talking about the AR-15 series as being a banned AW and includes a list of AR's that are now what we refer to as "on-list", and a series of 4 pictures to identify AR types.

Now if I was a LEO (which I'm not) involved in using this guide as a reference to AW identification, I would read it, "as long as it looks like the pictures (which all AR's do), regardless of whether or not it is on the list, that it could be considered an AW."

So if this is the case that it encompasses all AR series rifles, wouldn't that include all off-list builds too?

Now I want an AR as much as the next guy, but I'm not sure I do at the expense of a felony, and loosing the right to own the rest of my guns.

Could an attorney chime in here and help me decode our bastard law? I'm hoping that there is some legaleeze that I don't understand. Or is this just a gray area and you travel at your own risk?

I also attached the AW Guide I downloaded so that any of you can read the same thing I did.

Dirtbiker
04-27-2010, 2:14 PM
OLL Ownership is a choice. If you are truely worried about their legality even after reading all that you have maybe you might feel owning something featureless like a M1a or a Mini 14.

I'm not trying to be snarky but if you read the flowchart it explains just about everything you need to know.

killshot44
04-27-2010, 2:20 PM
Could an attorney chime in here and help me decode our bastard law? I'm hoping that there is some legaleeze that I don't understand. Or is this just a gray area and you travel at your own risk?


The attorneys you seek play an instrumental part in Calguns.net. Their efforts and those of others here are what have given us the Flowcharts and the other information that allow owners and vendors move forward where some fear to tread!

As to The List; the DOJ always say they're going to add more makes but have not.

What you call a grey area really isn't; the laws only tell us what is Illegal, not that which is Legal.

Welcome to Calguns.net. Much wisdom to be found here.

Stoked
04-27-2010, 2:21 PM
I hear ya and I have gone through the flow chart. I'm really wanting to get an AR, I'm just wanting to make sure I am doing the best that I can to abide by the laws... even if I don't agree with them.

djleisure
04-27-2010, 2:27 PM
There is always a chance that an ignorant LEO can arrest you and confiscate your AR-type rifle. That is just a chance you currently take by owning an OLL AR. The best you can do is to keep the AW flowchart with you, educate yourself about the actual laws (sounds like you've got a good start there) and in the instance of LEO encounter, clam up and lawyer up! The good people at Calguns have your back!

SamsDX
04-27-2010, 2:40 PM
The long and short of it is that the "series" language (category 2) was found to be legally ambiguous by a California Supreme Court decision - Harrot v. County of Kings. (This information is also in the back page of the CGN flowchart). The DOJ AW guide to which you refer is outdated, and at the very least, it does not consider the Harrot decision, which was in 2001. Furthermore, just because the DOJ pontificates on the law, doesn't make it so - the Judicial system is the final arbiter of what the law is.

Under the current jurisprudence it's actually simpler than it's often made out to be: don't buy any of the ARs listed by name under Category 1, and decide whether you want a detachable magazine or not. (See the flowchart for what 'detachable' magazine means). If you want a detachable magazine, you can't have any of the features listed 12276.1(a)(1): pistol grip, thumbhole stock, folding or telescopic stock, grenade/flare launcher, flash suppressor, or forward pistol grip. If you don't mind not having a detachable magazines, you can have all these features.

BONECUTTER
04-27-2010, 2:40 PM
Read this part of the flow chart:

Category 2 - was the legally ambiguous definition targeting AR and AK “series”
firearms in PC 12276(e). This definition was modified by the California Supreme
Court in 2001 in what is known as the Harrott v. County of Kings (2001) 25
Cal.4th 1138 . The DOJ was required to create an additional list of firearms by
make and model. It is available in CCR 11 § 5499 and is sometimes referred to as
the “series list”. Then came AB2728, which prevents the DOJ from ever updating
the list after Jan 2007.

darkest2000
04-27-2010, 3:15 PM
If you're really that worried there are plenty of bolt action deer rifles and pump shotguns for your consideration;)

Omega13device
04-27-2010, 3:24 PM
The whole "series" issue is gone thanks to Harrott as others have stated. Either it's listed or it's off-list. Off-list rifles (not just ARs) have been popular for several years now, there are hundreds of thousands of them out there and law enforcement agencies are very up to speed on off-list legality. Consequently most LEOs couldn't care less about your rifle unless you're committing a crime with it.

Stoked
04-27-2010, 3:31 PM
They (gov) don't make it very easy to be an informed citizen do they? Especially if they won't take ignorance as an excuse. :) I appreciate all the feedback... and so fast.

stix213
04-27-2010, 3:58 PM
If you are really worried, read the entire Harrott decision. It is quite specific.

The text within the guide put out by the DOJ/AG is not law, while the Harrott decision is.

dieselpower
04-27-2010, 4:04 PM
Here is my 2 cents for all the people who are on the fence about AR15s and the law.

Almost every gun shop in CA now sells AR15s either in parts or fully assembled.

All Gun shops in CA have always been under review by our state government.

If at some point they deem all AR15 sales were illegal, then they (our loving state government) holds part of the blame.

They would then (possibly under court order) have to allow registration of the AR15s, or any firearms they then back track and say are AWs.

Any way you look at it...BUY ONE.

Stoked
04-29-2010, 9:29 AM
Alright. I went out a picked up a JD lower last night... I'm in. Now I have to figure out what other part I want/need.

Thanks for your help getting started on my first build.

CHS
04-29-2010, 9:50 AM
Alright. I went out a picked up a JD lower last night... I'm in. Now I have to figure out what other part I want/need.


Only one?

That was a mistake. Better to start off with two :)

Stoked
04-29-2010, 9:57 AM
I considered getting 2 but figured I'd start with one since I'm an OLL noob. That and having to explain why I got 2 to my wife didn't seem worth it yet. :)

Omega13device
04-29-2010, 10:00 AM
If you're telling your wife how many guns you really bought then you're doing it wrong. :)

CHS
04-29-2010, 10:47 AM
I considered getting 2 but figured I'd start with one since I'm an OLL noob. That and having to explain why I got 2 to my wife didn't seem worth it yet. :)

Ok, here's the thing.

Every lower you buy automatically has a 25$ tax on it, called the DROS.

If you buy more than one at a time, every lower after the first one saves you $25.

If a month from now you decide to get another one, you've got to pay ANOTHER $25 DROS and wait ANOTHER 10 days.

You'll want more lowers eventually. They are cheap and good insurance against any future bans. Plus, they let you build out rifles later easier since you've already got the serial'ed part.

Just bite the bullet and add a second lower to your DROS when you go back to pick up the first.

You'll thank all of us later.

jdberger
04-29-2010, 11:51 AM
Ok, here's the thing.

Every lower you buy automatically has a 25$ tax on it, called the DROS.

If you buy more than one at a time, every lower after the first one saves you $25.

If a month from now you decide to get another one, you've got to pay ANOTHER $25 DROS and wait ANOTHER 10 days.

You'll want more lowers eventually. They are cheap and good insurance against any future bans. Plus, they let you build out rifles later easier since you've already got the serial'ed part.

Just bite the bullet and add a second lower to your DROS when you go back to pick up the first.

You'll thank all of us later.

I find that buying 6 at a time is even better than that.

That way you can futz around with different calibers.

Welcome to BRD. There is no cure.

Stoked
04-29-2010, 2:53 PM
Ok, here's the thing.

Every lower you buy automatically has a 25$ tax on it, called the DROS.

If you buy more than one at a time, every lower after the first one saves you $25.

If a month from now you decide to get another one, you've got to pay ANOTHER $25 DROS and wait ANOTHER 10 days.

You'll want more lowers eventually. They are cheap and good insurance against any future bans. Plus, they let you build out rifles later easier since you've already got the serial'ed part.

Just bite the bullet and add a second lower to your DROS when you go back to pick up the first.

You'll thank all of us later.

I called the dealer I bought it from today (purchased it last night) and they said I couldn't add another lower to the same DROS. Guess I'll have to pay another $25.

CHS
04-29-2010, 3:21 PM
I called the dealer I bought it from today (purchased it last night) and they said I couldn't add another lower to the same DROS. Guess I'll have to pay another $25.

That's too bad. They're full of BS on that one. But policy is policy.

Flopper
04-29-2010, 4:41 PM
Hey don't sweat it, lots of people make the mistake of not buying half a dozen lowers at once :D

The REALLY inexcusable mistake is being too scared to buy an evil black rifle, or even worse, being too scared to buy ANY gun.