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Old 04-30-2009, 3:49 PM
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BillCA BillCA is offline
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Just to recap this whole thing...
  1. A representative of Hi-Standard Mfg asked DOJ if it was legal to sell an off-list complete rifle with a 10-round magazine and a Prince-50 kit.
  2. DOJ responded that they cannot approve a rifle for sale as "not an assault weapon" and provides some statutory definitions of an assault weapon.
  3. Further, DOJ itself says there is no question that a Prince-50 would render the magazine to be non-detachable. But at the same time the law is unclear as to whether a rifle loaded with a fixed magazine negates the rifle's "capacity to accept a detachable magazine".
  4. DOJ relies on the above to say that without some kind of guiding regulation, they cannot say for sure if a rifle equipped with a Prince-50 or Bullet Button is legal or illegal.
  5. A OAL ruling defines “detachable magazine” as “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.”
Now... I are not a lawyer, however...

a) It seems to me that a Prince-50 or BB equipped rifle which requires a tool to remove the magazine does not, in fact, have a detachable magazine as defined by 11 CCR Section 5469.

b) That rifle with the P50/BB installed, and no magazine in the well, does not have the "capacity to accept a detachable magazine", because once the magazine is replaced, a tool is required to remove the magazine. This means that any legal magazine that latches into place cannot be defined as a "detachable magazine". This is pursuant to 11 CCR Section 5469.

c) In terms of semantics, DOJ's response that a rifle equipped with a P50/BB kit that requires a tool or disassembly to remove the magazine and a magazine does not negate it's capacity to accept a detachable magazine is, to borrow from Justice Scalia, worthy of a mad hatter.

d) Since the DOJ, with all of its legal resources, cannot definitively say whether an off-list rifle equipped with a Prince-50/BB kit which renders the magazine "non-detachable" is or is not legal, then the law is unconstitutionally vague as to what is proscribed by law. To wit:
Penal laws must be understood not only by those persons who are required to obey them but by those persons who are charged with the duty of enforcing them. Statutes that do not carefully outline detailed procedures by which police officers may perform an investigation, conduct a search, or make an arrest confer wide discretion upon each officer to act as he or she sees fit. Precisely worded statutes are intended to confine an officer's activities to the letter of the law.
American Law Encyclopedia Vol 10
[When a law] fails to give the ordinary citizen adequate notice of what is forbidden and what is permitted, it is impermissibly vague. See, e.g., Coates v. Cincinnati, 402 U.S. 611, 614.
-- U.S. Supreme Court, Chicago v. Morales (97-1121) 527 U.S. 41 (1999)
Not the CA-DOJ, nor a manufacturer, nor a dealer, nor a citizen can definitively say whether a particular rifle is or is not permissible under California statutes - according to DOJ. If DOJ cannot say that a P50/BB equipped rifle is or is not legal, they cannot advise the 58 D.A.'s or police officers in the state or the citizenry of what constitutes an illegal "assault weapon" based on 12276.1.

Thus, because the state itself has no idea what conduct or what assemblage of parts is illegal, the law is too vague to withstand constitutional scrutiny.

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