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View Full Version : Can a CA resident legally posess an 'assault weapon' in CA if used in a competition?


trb94611
01-04-2013, 2:31 PM
I am trying to find correct information on what is legal in CA for 3gun competitions. I started on this quest after the 'Duel in the Sun' show the other nite on Shooting Gallery where the competitors (at least 2 competitors were CA residents) all used ARs w/ high cap magazines at Piru, CA.

In answer to my question, I was told it was legal because the guns were from out of state and used for a competiion. But CA law doesn't seem to say that: http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/forms

California Firearms Laws Summary Booklet, pdf

Penal Code section 12280(m) provides an exception for out-of-state residents who bring assault weapons or .50 BMG rifles into the state if attending an organized match or competition conducted on a target range, club, etc., for the purpose of shooting targets.

I tried to read 12280 but glazed over.

Can someone point me to correct information on what rifle is legal to use in 3gun competitions in CA?

Thanks

Moonshine
01-04-2013, 3:18 PM
No resident of California can possess an "assault weapon" unless

1) they owned it and registered it prior to 1999 (and probably only 10% were actually registered)

2) they are a sworn law enforcement officer who requires such a weapon in the line of duty (and those who registered after 1999 in this category have to pay for the gun out of their own pocket and surrender it upon separation/retirement)

Now technically an out of state resident can pass through the state or compete, but that's really about as safe as passing through Mexico with a gun.

Mikeb
01-04-2013, 3:29 PM
Oh sure... as long as you are playing games the law doesn't count. How do you think the gangbangers get all those guns...

please read this with sarcasm.
Mike

Moonshine
01-04-2013, 3:49 PM
No, the "exotic" weapons used in movies are owned by armorers who are associated with the movie industry. The CA DOJ may issue dangerous weapons permits and assault weapons permits to individuals. There are Hollywood armorers both in state and out of state who's business it is to provide weapons for movies. You don't think we'd just give up an industry that big did ya? Laws don't apply to wealthy monied elites like they do to us morlocks.

Fulgore243
01-04-2013, 3:52 PM
Hollywood has all kinds of special perks from the politicians allowing them to do things we serfs cannot. I recall Mythbusters using a Dillon Aero minigun firing thousands of rounds of .308 for their "fish in a barrel" video too.

SlobRay
01-04-2013, 3:57 PM
No, the "exotic" weapons used in movies are owned by armorers who are associated with the movie industry. The CA DOJ may issue dangerous weapons permits and assault weapons permits to individuals. There are Hollywood armorers both in state and out of state who's business it is to provide weapons for movies. You don't think we'd just give up an industry that big did ya? Laws don't apply to wealthy monied elites like they do to us morlocks.

That is why the History Channel's show "Top Shot" (filmed in Santa Clarita) is allowed to have all of those evil guns.


Ray

bwiese
01-04-2013, 4:12 PM
The 'competition' exemption is vague and poorly thought out. It is at best used as a defense
against CA AW charges rather than as an affirmative part of 'recommended daily conduct'. It
probably got thrown in at the last minute during legislative logrolling just to see if something
could be squeezed in at the last minute.

It also does not treat issues of conversion from legal non-AW (BulletButton/featureless) to AW
for competition and assumes the gun is an AW throughout its transit thru California.

[If you are seeing full-house AWs being used on a TV show, that is not using the competition
exemption - the producer has a special DOJ movie/entertainment permit etc.]
.
The so-called 'competition exemption' really doesn't allow/address side trips, overnight stays,
etc. [If you *were* to utilize it and have a chance of defendability, you'd go in, shoot, leave
the same day and not stop for meals, lodging, family visits, shopping, etc.]
.
An out-of-stater with an AW going to/returning from such an event is likely not to fare well in a
traffic stop for a broken taillight, etc. Cop ain't gonna ask if you're going to the range; cops
are just getting used to maglocked/featureless OLLs and are understanding thos.

Costs will include - on top of bail, if not O.R.'d, CA-scale legal fee$ paid from a non-CA wage
base, plus travel to/from court appearances (and lost work time).
.
Remember that the 'competition exemption' is just that: for formal structured competeition from
a formal sanctioning body - and it's likely scheduled, too (printed bulletin, web notice, etc.) This
really means essentially NRA/CRPA or perhaps IDPA competition .... it does NOT mean any casual
'shoot' ("Lower Hayward Roller Derby League Memorial Tin-Can Classic") nor do I think it includes
'training'.
.
I do see competitions and especially *training* involving LE as well as out-of-state instructors who
don't understand CA AW laws as a "target-rich" environment for multiple felony prosecution.

Rumours abound about loosened BBs, hicaps in BB'd rifles, no BBs at all on personal non-reg'd-AW
cop guns, etc. Tons of reports of nonresident "trainers" bringing in AR AWs because they think
they're "pre-ban" by date/confused with the Fed AWB, or they're exempt because they "have cop
friends" who are in the shooting party ... and that's totally aside from import of hicap mags.

b.faust
01-04-2013, 4:59 PM
No, the "exotic" weapons used in movies are owned by armorers who are associated with the movie industry. The CA DOJ may issue dangerous weapons permits and assault weapons permits to individuals. There are Hollywood armorers both in state and out of state who's business it is to provide weapons for movies. You don't think we'd just give up an industry that big did ya? Laws don't apply to wealthy monied elites like they do to us morlocks.

Hollywood has all kinds of special perks from the politicians allowing them to do things we serfs cannot. I recall Mythbusters using a Dillon Aero minigun firing thousands of rounds of .308 for their "fish in a barrel" video too.

I don't know where you guys get this, but us "wealthy movie folk" aren't all that wealthy.

Armorers have a huge overhead, and high insurance and are pretty strictly regulated. On set armorers aren't making a $200,000 a day or something.
Our 'special' perks are basically trying to compete against foreign subsidized film, sometimes to the tune of 50% or more.

Yeah, we're just all living high on the hog with our suppressors and full auto looking down at the masses.
:facepalm:
(I'm VFX btw, not an armorer, but I've dealt with the weapons master many times on set.)

MossbergMan
01-04-2013, 7:33 PM
bwiese is correct about competition v. training. Training is not "competition" according to DoJ. I was trying to work a deal to provide Bushmaster AR-15s to a contractor to train/qualify Navy personnel. NO GO for training was their answer. Not even for 72 hours, yet if we were running an NRA high power or Service rifle match our attendees could bring their nasty AWs into our granola state no worries.

Moonshine
01-04-2013, 7:56 PM
Btw the answer to the Top Shot question is simple: same deal as a movie. Armorer with dangerous weapons permit from the DOJ and/or Assault weapons permit.

bwiese
01-04-2013, 9:19 PM
yet if we were running an NRA high power or Service rifle match our attendees could bring their nasty AWs into our granola state no worries.

I would not go as far as to say "no worries". There's still a wide swath of uncertainty in which you can land in trouble.

trb94611
01-04-2013, 9:40 PM
Mr. Wiese, thanks for the helpful information.

To be specific, the host of the Shooting Gallery tv show replied to my question "Were those 3gun rifles CA legal????" with the following: "Yes, they were...you can bring those guns into Cali for a "legitimate competition," but you've got to bring them out with you when you leave. I told FJT that none of us wanted to do time in that lovely state!"

There was no indication whether or not the tv show producer had secured any permit(s).

What is confusing me is whether or not the "out-of-state resident competition" exception can be used to allow a CA resident to use/possess the out-of state resident's AW during a competition. In the show, two of the competitors were CA residents and both were using AWs w/ high capacity mags. RE your last point, could this be one of those 'target rich environments'???? (Assuming there was no permit.)

Thanks again.

bwiese
01-04-2013, 10:03 PM
To be specific, the host of the Shooting Gallery tv show replied to my question "Were those 3gun rifles CA legal????" with the following: "Yes, they were...you can bring those guns into Cali for a "legitimate competition," but you've got to bring them out with you when you leave. I told FJT that none of us wanted to do time in that lovely state!"

It's worse than that - as I think I mentioned before:

1. staying overnight and/or not going directly in/out adds real doubt;

2. a cop in a traffic stop (+search) - esp metro area - may still arrest
and "let court sort out" about validity of competition and will not be swayed by a printout/schedule.


There was no indication whether or not the tv show producer had secured any permit(s).If there was a valid competition, there is some legal protection. A 'fake' preordained competition for a TV show may well not pass such muster and an entertainment AW permit would have been needed if there weren't folks with California registered AWs involved.

What is confusing me is whether or not the "out-of-state resident competition" exception can be used to allow a CA resident to use/possess the out-of state resident's AW during a competition.

In 12280(k) PC {now renumbered} 'lending' an assault weapon is effectively defined as requiring the immediate presence of the owner - and the gun must be a *registered* AW, which would not be the case for a visitor trying to exploit the 'competition exemption'.

Note that registered AWs are *separate entity* from "permitted" AWs. Most registered AWs are granfathered guns from before 2000, with some fraction LEO registered AWs.


In the show, two of the competitors were CA residents and both were using AWs w/ high capacity mags. RE your last point, could this be one of those 'target rich environments'???? (Assuming there was no permit.)


Those CA residents may have been like me and legally owned/retianed grandfathered, registered AWs - either those banned in 1989 (Roberti-Roos law banned ~50 some 'named' guns) or those banned by features/configuration (SB23 in 2000). Or they could have been CA cops with LE-registered personal AWs (which have to be surrendered/sold on retirement/separation, given the dept. authorization letter grounds + DOJ post-2000 "LEO AW registration" were related to work use).

Or they could've been doofuses violating the law, esp if they think their cop buddies/trainers are there 'protecting' them.

Or a mix of both.

I should also note that the very limited CA AW "competition exemption" for short-term AW imports is specifically ONLY for AWs and NOT for high-cap magazines. Hicap mags for normal folks can only be reimported into CA if they were acquired or possessed within CA - for even a microsecond - before 1/1/2000. I note that residency is not a requirement for reentry of hicap mags into CA under such conditions; proof is not needed, but drama can be expected - and it is easy to talk oneself into jail.

I will also note that for folks like me with grandfathered registered AWs, residency is not a requirement. AW registration is not lost just because I move out of CA and/or get a drivers' license/ID in another state.

LoneYote
01-04-2013, 11:54 PM
I don't know where you guys get this, but us "wealthy movie folk" aren't all that wealthy.

The "wealthy movie folk" isn't directed at the armorer's so much as the industry. The industry which has politicians so eager to secure more funding are more than happy to bend over for the multi-billion dollar entertainment industry. In fact I am relatively certain that all posters here have sympathy for the plight of equally oppressed members of the industry.

Moonshine
01-05-2013, 1:23 AM
Movie industry is like any other one... 5% of the people make 95% of the money and the other 95% of people are left trying to get what they can out of the remaining 5% of the money. This society is so top heavy it's crazy... But it's a damned if you do damned if you don't situation just like gun rights vs. gun control.

Sir Stunna Lot
01-05-2013, 3:06 AM
i wonder if for the purpose of this competition exemption.. can someone bring a bullet-buttoned AR to the competition site, remove the BB (creating/using AW) during the duration of the match, reinstall the BB before driving home.