Assault Weapons in California

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

With limited exceptions, California prohibits anyone from possessing an assault weapon unless he or she possessed the firearm prior to the date it was defined as an assault weapon and registered the firearm with the California Department of Justice (“DOJ”) in the timeframe established by state law.1

California also prohibits any person from manufacturing, distributing, transporting, importing, keeping for sale, offering for sale, giving, or lending any assault weapon within the state.2 However, DOJ may, upon a finding of good cause, issue permits for the manufacture, sale, or possession of assault weapons to certain law enforcement agencies and officers and to approved individuals over the age of 18.3 DOJ must conduct a yearly inspection – or every five years if the person to be inspected has fewer than five permitted devices – of every person to whom a permit is issued, for security and safe storage practices, and to reconcile the inventory of assault weapons.4 Generally, no lawfully possessed assault weapon may be sold or transferred to anyone within California other than to a licensed gun dealer or to a police or sheriff’s department.5

California law lists certain firearms that have been deemed assault weapons, including all AK series and Colt AR-15 series.6 California’s Attorney General is required to promulgate a list specifying all such firearms.7 However, a firearm that meets any of the following descriptions is also an “assault weapon”:8

  • A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following: 1) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon; 2) a thumbhole stock; 3) a folding or telescoping stock; 4) a grenade or flare launcher; 5) a flash suppressor; or 6) a forward pistol grip;9
  • A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than ten rounds;
  • A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches;
  • A semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following: 1) a threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer; 2) a second handgrip; 3) a shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel allowing the bearer to fire the weapon without burning his or her hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel; or 4) the capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip;
  • A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than ten rounds;
  • A semiautomatic shotgun that has both a folding or telescoping stock, and a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, thumbhole stock, or vertical handgrip;
  • A semiautomatic shotgun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine; or
  • A shotgun with a revolving cylinder.

Antique firearms (i.e., firearms manufactured prior to 1899)10, and certain pistols that are designed expressly for use in Olympic target shooting events, are exempt from these provisions.11

California does not ban kits that allow a person to convert a lawful firearm into an assault weapon.

Any person owning a lawfully registered assault weapon may possess the firearm only under limited conditions, unless he or she obtains a permit for additional uses from DOJ.12 Those conditions include:

  • At the person’s residence, place of business, or other property owned by that person, or on property owned by another with the owner’s express permission;
  • While on certain target ranges and shooting clubs;
  • While on publicly owned land if specifically permitted by the managing agency of the land; or
  • While properly transporting the firearm between any of the places mentioned above, or to any licensed gun dealer for servicing and repair.13

California law includes a statement of the dangers posed by assault weapons:

The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the proliferation and use of assault weapons poses a threat to the health, safety, and security of all citizens of this state. The Legislature has restricted the assault weapons specified in Section 30510 based upon finding that each firearm has such a high rate of fire and capacity for firepower that its function as a legitimate sports or recreational firearm is substantially outweighed by the danger that it can be used to kill and injure human beings.14

California law provides that the possession of an assault weapon in violation of state laws is a public nuisance.15 As a result, any assault weapon possessed in violation of state laws must be destroyed, except upon finding by a court, or a declaration from DOJ, a district attorney, or a city attorney stating that the preservation of the assault weapon is in the interest of justice.16

The courts have rejected legal challenges to California’s assault weapons ban.17

See DOJ’s Assault Weapon FAQs page for further information.

Notes
  1. Cal. Penal Code § 30605. See generally Cal. Penal Code §§ 30600-30675, 30900-30965, 31000-31005. For state assault weapon regulations, see Cal. Code Regs. tit. 11, §§ 5459-5473, 5495, 5499. DOJ’s website also includes information about the development of these regulations. ⤴︎
  2. Cal. Penal Code § 30600. ⤴︎
  3. Cal. Penal Code §§ 31000, 31005. ⤴︎
  4. Cal. Penal Code § 31110 ⤴︎
  5. Cal. Penal Code §§ 30910, 31100. ⤴︎
  6. Cal. Penal Code § 30510. ⤴︎
  7. Cal. Penal Code § 30520. ⤴︎
  8. Cal. Penal Code § 30515. ⤴︎
  9. In 2016, California enacted a law to provide a statutory definition for the term “detachable magazine” in order to clarify that so-called “bullet button” weapons are restricted assault weapons. The bullet button loophole previously allowed firearm manufacturers to sell “California-compliant” assault weapons equipped with a bullet button that allowed a shooter to use a bullet, wearable magnet, or other instrument, instead of his or her finger, to depress the button that releases the weapon’s magazine.  Individuals who lawfully obtained these weapons prior to January 1, 2017, will be authorized to retain them if they timely register their weapons with DOJ. See Cal. Penal Code §§ 30515, 30680, 30900 (as amended by 2016 Cal. SB 880 and 2016 Cal. AB 1664). ⤴︎
  10. Cal. Penal Code § 16170(a). ⤴︎
  11. Cal. Penal Code § 30515(c). ⤴︎
  12. Cal. Penal Code §§ 30945, 31000. ⤴︎
  13. The person may also possess the assault weapon while attending an exhibition, display, or educational project about firearms which is sponsored by, conducted under the auspices of, or approved by a law enforcement agency or a nationally or state recognized entity that fosters proficiency in, or promotes education about, firearms. Id. ⤴︎
  14. Cal. Penal Code § 30505(a). ⤴︎
  15. The Attorney General, any district attorney, or any city attorney may, in lieu of criminal prosecution, bring a civil action or reach a civil compromise in any superior court to enjoin the possession of the assault weapon that is a public nuisance. Cal. Penal Code § 30800(a). ⤴︎
  16. Cal. Penal Code § 30800(c). Upon conviction of any misdemeanor or felony involving the illegal possession or use of an assault weapon, the assault weapon must be deemed a public nuisance and disposed of pursuant to Cal. Penal Code § 18005(c). Cal. Penal Code § 30800(d). ⤴︎
  17. See Kasler v. Lockyer, 2 P.3d 581 (Cal. 2000) (holding, inter alia, that the ban does not violate equal protection of the law because the statute does not burden a fundamental constitutional right to “bear arms,” as no such right exists under the California constitution). See also Silveira v. Lockyer, 312 F.3d 1052, (9th Cir. 2002) (rejecting federal constitutional challenges to the ban, holding, inter alia, that the Second Amendment only protects the collective right of the people to maintain well-regulated militias). Note, however, that the Supreme Court has subsequently held, in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, unconnected with service in a militia. The Court in Heller noted, nevertheless, that the Second Amendment is consistent with laws banning “dangerous and unusual weapons.” Id. at 2817. Since the Heller decision, several federal courts have upheld assault weapons bans that were challenged on Second Amendment grounds. For more information, see our Post-Heller Litigation Summary section. ⤴︎

Assault Weapons in Connecticut

Definitions and Prohibitions

Connecticut prohibits any person from possessing an assault weapon unless the weapon was possessed prior to July 1, 1994, and the possessor:

  • Was eligible to apply for a certificate of possession for the assault weapon by July 1, 1994;
  • Lawfully possessed the assault weapon prior to October 1, 1993; and
  • Is not in violation of Connecticut General Statutes §§ 53-202a to 53-202k (assault weapon regulations), and Connecticut General Statutes § 53-202o (affirmative defense in prosecution for possession of specified assault weapon).1

The state also prohibits any person from distributing, transporting, importing into the state, keeping, offering or exposing for sale, or giving an assault weapon to any person.2

Connecticut defines an “assault weapon” as:

  • Any “selective-fire” firearm capable of fully automatic, semi-automatic or “burst fire” at the option of the user;3
  • Any semi-automatic centerfire rifle, regardless of the date produced, that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following features:  1) A folding or telescoping stock; 2) Any grip of the weapon, including a pistol grip, thumbhole stock, or other stock that would allow an individual to grip the weapon, resulting in any finger on the trigger hand in addition to the trigger finger being directly below any portion of the action of the weapon when firing; 3) A forward pistol grip; 4) A flash suppressor; or 5) A grenade or flare launcher;4
  • A semi-automatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following features:  1) The ability to accept a detachable ammunition magazine that attaches at some location outside the pistol grip; 2) A threaded barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward pistol grip or silencer; 3) A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm without being burned (except a slide that encloses the barrel); or 4) A second hand grip;5
  • A semi-automatic shotgun that has both of the following features:  1) A folding or telescoping stock; or 2) Any grip of the weapon, including a pistol grip, a thumbhole stock, or any other stock, the use of which would allow an individual to grip the weapon, resulting in any finger on the trigger hand in addition to the trigger finger being directly below any portion of the action of the weapon when firing;6
  • A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has:  1) a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition; or 2) an overall length of less than 30 inches;7
  • A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the ability to accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition;8
  • A semiautomatic shotgun that can accept a detachable magazine; or9
  • A shotgun with a revolving cylinder.10

Specific Prohibited Weapons

Connecticut bans the following specifically named semi-automatic firearms:

Algimec Agmi; Armalite AR-180; Australian Automatic Arms SAP Pistol; Auto-Ordnance Thompson type; Avtomat Kalashnikov AK-47 type; Barrett Light-Fifty model 82A1; Beretta AR-70; Bushmaster Auto Rifle and Auto Pistol; Calico models M-900, M-950 and 100-P; Chartered Industries of Singapore SR-88; Colt AR-15 and Sporter; Daewoo K-1, K-2, Max-1 and Max-2; Encom MK-IV, MP-9 and MP-45; Fabrique Nationale FN/FAL, FN/LAR, or FN/FNC; FAMAS MAS 223; Feather AT-9 and Mini-AT; Federal XC-900 and XC-450; Franchi SPAS-12 and LAW-12; Galil AR and ARM; Goncz High-Tech Carbine and High-Tech Long Pistol; Heckler & Koch HK-91, HK-93, HK-94 and SP-89; Holmes MP-83; MAC-10, MAC-11 and MAC-11 Carbine type; Intratec TEC-9 and Scorpion; Iver Johnson Enforcer model 3000; Ruger Mini-14/5F folding stock model only; Scarab Skorpion; SIG 57 AMT and 500 series; Spectre Auto Carbine and Auto Pistol; Springfield Armory BM59, SAR-48 and G-3; Sterling MK-6 and MK-7; Steyr AUG; Street Sweeper and Striker 12 revolving cylinder shotguns; USAS-12; UZI Carbine, Mini-Carbine and Pistol; Weaver Arms Nighthawk; Wilkinson “Linda” Pistol.11

Connecticut bans the following semiautomatic centerfire rifles, or copies or duplicates of such rifles with their capability, that were in production before or on June 18, 2013:

AK 47; AK 74, AKM, AKS-74U, ARM, MAADI AK 47, MAK90, MISR, NHM90; NHM91, Norinco 56, 56S, 84S and 86S, Poly Technologies AKS and AK47, SA 85, SA 93, VEPR, WASR-10, WUM, Rock River Arms LAR-47; Vector Arms AK-47; AR-10; AR-15; Bushmaster Carbon 15, Bushmaster XM15, Bushmaster ACR Rifles, Bushmaster MOE Rifles; Colt Match Target Rifles; Armalite M15; Olympic Arms AR-15, A1, CAR, PCR, K3B, K30R, K16, K48, K8 and K9 Rifles; DPMS Tactical Rifles; Smith and Wesson M&P15 Rifles; Rock River Arms LAR-15; Doublestar AR Rifles; Barrett REC7; Beretta Storm; Calico Liberty 50, 50 Tactical, 100, 100 Tactical, I, I Tactical, II and II Tactical Rifles; Hi-Point Carbine Rifles; HK-PSG-1; Kel-Tec Sub-2000, SU Rifles, and RFB; Remington Tactical Rifle Model 7615; SAR-8, SAR-4800 and SR9; SLG 95; SLR 95 or 96; TNW M230 and M2HB; Vector Arms UZI, Galil and Galil Sporter; Daewoo AR 100 and AR 110C; Fabrique Nationale/FN 308 Match and L1A1 Sporter; HK USC; IZHMASH Saiga AK; SIG Sauer 551-A1, 556, 516, 716 and M400 Rifles; Valmet M62S, M71S and M78S; Wilkinson Arms Linda Carbine; and Barrett M107A1.12

Connecticut also bans the following specified semiautomatic pistols, or copies or duplicates of such pistols with their capability, that were in production prior to or on June 18, 2013:

Centurion 39 AK; Draco AK-47; HCR AK-47; IO Inc. Hellpup AK-47; Mini-Draco AK-47; Yugo Krebs Krink; American Spirit AR-15; Bushmaster Carbon 15; Doublestar Corporation AR; DPMS AR-15; Olympic Arms AR-15; Rock River Arms LAR 15; Calico Liberty III and III Tactical Pistols; Masterpiece Arms MPA Pistols and Velocity Arms VMA Pistols; Intratec TEC-DC9 and AB-10; Colefire Magnum; German Sport 522 PK and Chiappa Firearms Mfour-22; DSA SA58 PKP FAL; I.O. Inc. PPS-43C; Kel-Tec PLR-16 Pistol; Sig Sauer P516 and P556 pistols; and Thompson TA5 pistols.13

Finally, Connecticut bans all IZHMASH Saiga 12 shotguns or copies or duplicates with the capability of such shotguns that were in production before or on June 18, 2013.14

Parts Considered an Assault Weapon in Some Circumstances

Connecticut bans a part or combination of parts designed or intended to convert a firearm into an assault weapon as defined under Connecticut law and any combination of parts from which such an assault weapon may be assembled if possessed by, or under the control of, the same person.15

Any firearm that has been permanently rendered inoperable is not an assault weapon.16 In addition, a part or combination of parts of an assault weapon, that are not assembled as an assault weapon, when in the possession of a licensed gun dealer or a gunsmith employed by a dealer for the purposes of servicing or repairing lawfully possessed assault weapons, do not constitute an assault weapon.17

Grandfathering of Assault Weapons

A person who lawfully possessed an assault weapon prior to October 1, 1993 may continue to possess the weapon if he or she obtained a certificate of possession.18

For assault weapons banned under the expanded definition in the Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety Act, effective June 18, 2013, anyone who legally possessed one of the newly banned weapons on or after April 4, 2013, but prior to June 18, 2013, who is eligible for a certificate of possession, may continue to possess the weapon by applying to Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) for such certificate by January 1, 2014.19 A member of the U.S. military who is unable to apply by January 1, 2014, because he or she is out of state on official duty, has 90 days after returning to Connecticut to apply for a certificate.20 The certificate must contain a description of the firearm that identifies it uniquely, including all identification marks, the owner’s full name, address, date of birth and thumbprint, and any other information that DESPP deems appropriate.21

Connecticut prohibits any person with a certificate of possession for any of the assault weapons added on April 4, 2013, from:  1) Selling or transferring the weapon in Connecticut to anyone except a licensed gun dealer; or 2) Otherwise transferring the weapon except by bequest or intestate succession.22 Any person who inherits an assault weapon for which a certificate was issued has 90 days to apply for a certificate or sell the weapon to a licensed gun dealer, permanently disable it, or take it out of state.23

Anyone who moves into Connecticut in lawful possession of an assault weapon has 90 days to make it permanently inoperable, sell it to a licensed gun dealer or take it out of state.24 Military service members transferred to Connecticut in lawful possession of an assault weapon may apply to DESPP for a certificate within 90 days of arriving in the state.25

Under Connecticut law, anyone who possesses an assault weapon for which a certificate has been issued may possess it only at specified locations, such as his or her home or business, at a licensed shooting club, or at a target range that holds a license for practicing target shooting.26

Any person who obtained a certificate of possession for an existing assault weapon before April 5, 2013, for a weapon the Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety Act of 2013 defines as an assault weapon, is deemed to have obtained a certificate of possession for such assault weapon and will not be required to obtain a separate certificate.27

Connecticut prohibits the transfer of most grandfathered weapons.28

A person issued a certificate of possession may possess his or her registered assault weapon at:

  • His or her residence, property or business;
  • Property owned by another with the owner’s express permission;
  • Certain target ranges or shooting clubs; and
  • A firearms exhibition, display or educational project.29

A person may also possess a registered assault weapon while transporting the weapon to or from a permitted location noted above or to a licensed gun dealer for repair.30 When transported, an assault weapon must be unloaded and, if transported in a vehicle, kept in the trunk or in a case or container that is inaccessible to the operator or any passenger of the vehicle.31

When a person wishes to dispose of a registered assault weapon, he or she may transfer the weapon only to a licensed dealer, a police department or DESPP.32 A person who possesses a registered assault weapon must report the loss or theft of the weapon within 72 hours of the time the person discovered or should have discovered the loss or theft.33

An assault weapon defined under Connecticut General Statutes § 53-202a(a)(3) and (4) (an assault weapon defined by criteria rather than specific name) is exempt from state transfer restrictions and registration requirements if it was legally manufactured prior to September 13, 1994.34

Connecticut also allows possession of certain specified assault weapon models under certain circumstances. The state allows a person to possess an Auto-Ordnance Thompson type, Avtomat Kalashnikov AK-47 type, MAC-10, MAC-11 or MAC-11 Carbine type assault weapon if:

  • It was obtained in good faith on or after October 1, 1993 and before May 8, 2002;
  • The possessor is not prohibited from possessing the weapon under any other law; and
  • The possessor has notified DESPP, prior to October 1, 2003, that he or she possesses the specified assault weapon.35

Connecticut provides that nothing contained in the state’s assault weapon regulations shall be construed to prohibit any person or corporation engaged in the business of manufacturing assault weapons from manufacturing or transporting assault weapons for sale:  1) Within the state to the DESPP, law enforcement, the Department of Correction, other specified state agencies, or military or naval forces; or 2) For sale outside the state.36

Exceptions

Connecticut allows the sale of assault weapons to the Department of Correction, DESPP, police departments, and military or naval forces for use in their official duties, as well as for off-duty use.37 Possession is allowed by members or employees of these entities for use in the discharge of their official duties. Connecticut permits sales to and possession by: 1) Employees of a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensee operating a nuclear power plant in Connecticut for the purpose of providing security; or 2) Any person, firm, corporation, contractor, or subcontractor providing security at the plant.38

Finally, for assault weapons for which a certificate of possession is issued, Connecticut allows weapons to be possessed or received, under certain circumstances, by:

  • Executors or administrators of an estate that includes an assault weapon for which a certificate has been issued;
  • Gun dealers; and
  • Gunsmiths.39

Similarly, Connecticut allows for:  1) Individuals to arrange to relinquish a weapon to a police department or DESPP;40 2) Temporary transfers or possession for certain out-of-state events;41 and 3) Weapons to be transported to or from a shooting competition or exhibition, display, or educational project about firearms sponsored, conducted by, approved or under the auspices of a law enforcement agency or a national or state-recognized entity that fosters proficiency in firearms use or promotes firearms education.42

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202c(a), (c). ⤴︎
  2. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202b(a)(1). State law also specifically prohibits the transfer, sale or giving of an assault weapon to a person under age 18. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202b(a)(1). ⤴︎
  3. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(A)(i). ⤴︎
  4. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(i). ⤴︎
  5. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(iv). ⤴︎
  6. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(vi). ⤴︎
  7. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(ii), (iii). ⤴︎
  8. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(v). ⤴︎
  9. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(vii). ⤴︎
  10. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(E)(viii). ⤴︎
  11. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(A)(i). ⤴︎
  12. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(B). ⤴︎
  13. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(C). ⤴︎
  14. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(1)(D). ⤴︎
  15. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53-202a(1)(F), 53-202a(1)(A)(ii). ⤴︎
  16. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202a(2). ⤴︎
  17. Id. ⤴︎
  18. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(a)(1), Conn. Agencies Regs. §§ 53-202d-1—53-202d-5, and the Registration of Firearms in Connecticut section for further information. ⤴︎
  19. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(a)(2)(A). ⤴︎
  20. Id. ⤴︎
  21. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(a)(4). ⤴︎
  22. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(b)(2). ⤴︎
  23. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(c). ⤴︎
  24. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(d). ⤴︎
  25. See Id. ⤴︎
  26. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(f). ⤴︎
  27. Conn. Gen. Stat.§ 53-202d(a)(3). ⤴︎
  28. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(b), (c). ⤴︎
  29. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(f). ⤴︎
  30. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(f)(6). ⤴︎
  31. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202f(a). ⤴︎
  32. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53-202d(b)-(d); 53-202e. ⤴︎
  33. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202g(a). ⤴︎
  34. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202m. ⤴︎
  35. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202n(a), (b). ⤴︎
  36. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202i. ⤴︎
  37. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53-202i, 53-202b(b)(1). ⤴︎
  38. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53-202b(b)(1); 53-202c(b). ⤴︎
  39. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53-202b, 53-202c(e), 53-202d(b), 53-202f. ⤴︎
  40. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202e. ⤴︎
  41. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202h. ⤴︎
  42. Id. ⤴︎

Assault Weapons in Hawaii

Hawaii criminalizes the manufacture, possession, sale or other transfer, barter, trade, gift or acquisition of an assault pistol.1 Under state law, “assault pistol” is defined as a semiautomatic handgun which accepts a detachable magazine and which has two or more of the following characteristics:

(1) An ammunition magazine which attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip;

(2) A threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward hand grip, or silencer;

(3) A shroud which is attached to or partially or completely encircles the barrel and which permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the second hand without being burned;

(4) A manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded;

(5) A centerfire pistol with an overall length of 12 inches or more; or

(6) A semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm.2

An assault pistol does not include a firearm with a barrel 16 or more inches in length, or an antique, curio or relic.3

As of July 1, 1992, no person shall bring or cause to be brought into Hawaii an assault pistol.4 Furthermore, as of July 1, 1992, no previously-owned assault pistol may be sold or transferred to anyone within Hawaii other than a state-licensed dealer or the chief of police of any county.5 A person that inherits an assault pistol registered within the state on or after July 1, 1992, has 90 days to render the weapon permanently inoperable, transfer the weapon to a licensed dealer or chief of police of any county, or remove the weapon from the state.6

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-8(a). ⤴︎
  2. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-1. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-4(e). ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎

Assault Weapons in Illinois

Illinois has no law restricting assault weapons.

There are, however, local jurisdictions within the state, such as the City of Highland Park, with ordinances that restrict the possession and sale of assault weapons.1

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. See Highland Park City Code, Chapter 136. ⤴︎

Assault Weapons in Iowa

Iowa does not regulate assault weapons. However, any person who “sells or offers for sale a manual or power-driven trigger activating device constructed and designed so that when attached to a firearm increases the rate of fire of the firearm is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor.”1

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Iowa Code § 724.29. ⤴︎

Assault Weapons in Maryland

Maryland now prohibits the possession, sale, offering of sale, transfer, purchase, receipt, or transportation into the state of an assault weapon, which includes assault pistols and assault long guns.1

There are various exceptions under the prohibitions, including returning an assault weapon to a customer in another state that was transferred to a licensed firearms dealer under the terms of a warrant or for repair, or for the possession of an inherited assault weapon as long as the person inheriting the assault weapon is not otherwise disqualified from possessing a regulated firearm.2  Additionally, a person who lawfully possessed an assault pistol before June 1, 1994 may continue to transport and possess the weapon if it was registered with the Maryland State Police before August 1, 1994.3

Assault weapons qualify as state-defined “regulated firearms,”4 and transfers of such guns, if allowed at all, are subject to enhanced background checks, firearms dealer regulations, private sales requirements and reporting of lost or stolen firearms regulations. In addition, purchasers:

Grandfathering

A licensed firearms dealer may continue to possess, sell, offer for sale, or transfer an assault long gun or a copycat weapon that the licensed firearms dealer lawfully possessed on or before October 1, 2013.5

A person who lawfully possesses or has a purchase order for, or completed an application to purchase an assault long gun or a copycat weapon before October 1, 2013, may:

  • Possess and transport the assault long gun or copycat weapon; or
  • While carrying a court order requiring the surrender of the assault long gun or copycat weapon, transport the weapon directly to a local law enforcement unit if the person has notified the unit that the person is transporting the assault long gun or copycat weapon in accordance with a court order and the weapon is unloaded.6

A person may transport an assault weapon to or from:

  • An “ISO 17025 accredited, National Institute of Justice-approved ballistics testing laboratory;” or
  • A facility or entity that manufacturers or provides research and development testing, analysis, or engineering for personal protective equipment or vehicle protection systems.7

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law §§ 4-301(d), 4-303(a). Maryland law defines “assault long guns” to include a list of 45 specified firearms or their copies, including certain variations of those models. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-101(r)(2).  Maryland also defines “assault pistols” to include 15 specified firearms or their copies, including certain variations of those models. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-301(c).

    Under Maryland law, the definition of assault weapon also includes a “copycat weapon” which is defined as:

    • A semiautomatic centerfire rifle that can accept a detachable magazine and has any two of the following: 1) A folding stock; 2) A grenade or flare launcher; or 3) A flash suppressor;
    • A semiautomatic centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds;
    • A semiautomatic centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 29 inches;
    • A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds;
    • A semiautomatic shotgun that has a folding stock; or
    • A shotgun with a revolving cylinder. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-301(e)(1).

    Under this law, “detachable magazine” means an ammunition feeding device that can be removed readily from a firearm without requiring disassembly of the firearm action or without the use of a tool, including a bullet or cartridge. Md. Code Ann. Crim. Law § 4-301(f). “Flash suppressor” means a device that functions, or is intended to function, to perceptibly reduce or redirect muzzle flash from the shooter’s field of vision. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-301(g). ⤴︎

  2. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-302(3)(iii), (5). ⤴︎
  3. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-303(b)(1). ⤴︎
  4. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-101(r). ⤴︎
  5. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-303(b)(2). ⤴︎
  6. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-303(b)(3). ⤴︎
  7. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-303(b)(4). ⤴︎

Assault Weapons in Massachusetts

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

No person in Massachusetts may sell, offer for sale, transfer or possess an assault weapon (or large capacity feeding device, see the Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines section) that was not otherwise lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994.1 Firearms dealers are also specifically prohibited from selling, leasing, renting, transferring, delivering, or offering for sale, lease, rent, transfer or delivery, any assault weapon or large capacity feeding device not otherwise lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994.2

Massachusetts defines “assault weapon” by referring to the definition of semi-automatic assault weapon contained in federal law as it appeared on September 13, 1994 (that federal statute expired on September 13, 2004).3 The definition includes a list of named weapons and copies of those weapons; semi-automatic rifles and pistols that have the ability to accept a detachable magazine and have at least two specified characteristics; and semi-automatic shotguns that have at least two specified characteristics.

Notes
  1. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 131M. ⤴︎
  2. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 123 (Sixteenth). ⤴︎
  3. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 121 (referring to the federal Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, former 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(30) ). ⤴︎

Assault Weapons in Minnesota

Minnesota does not generally ban assault weapons, but has adopted a series of statutes regulating the possession and sale of certain “semiautomatic military-style assault weapons.” A firearm is considered a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon if it is on the list of over two dozen named types of regulated firearms,1 or is another model of a listed firearm, is made by the same manufacturer as the listed firearm, has the same action design, and

• Is a redesigned, renamed, or renumbered version; or

• Has a slight modification or enhancement (such as a folding or retractable stock; adjustable sight; case deflector for left-handed shooters; shorter barrel; wooden, plastic, or metal stock; larger clip size; different caliber; or a bayonet mount).2

Moreover, a firearm is also classified as a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon if it was manufactured or sold under a licensing agreement with a manufacturer of one of the listed firearms to manufacture or sell firearms that are identical or nearly identical to a listed firearm or a firearm described above.3

A firearm that is generally recognized as “particularly suitable or readily adaptable to sporting purposes” or any of its regulations is not a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon.4

In addition, Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is required to publish a list of firearms included within the definition of semiautomatic military-style assault weapon. The Bureau is required to update the list annually.5

Minnesota prohibits the possession of semiautomatic military-style assault weapons by persons who are under 18 years of age.6 Such persons may carry or possess a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon only:

• In the actual presence or under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian;

• For the purposes of a military drill while under competent supervision, under the auspices of a legally recognized military organization;

• For instruction, competition or target practice under direct supervision on a law enforcement-approved firing range; or

• Upon successful completion of a course designed to teach marksmanship and safety with a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon and approved by the state commissioner of natural resources.7

A person charged with a crime punishable by more than one year imprisonment may not receive, ship, or transport a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon.8

A person who wishes to acquire a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon may apply to his or her local chief of police or county sheriff for a transferee permit, although a transferee permit is not required for purchase of such weapons.9 See Licensing of Gun Purchasers or Owners in Minnesota for further information.

With certain limited exceptions, if a person wishes to acquire a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon from a federally licensed dealer, but does not have a transferee permit or a permit to carry a handgun, the dealer must file a report with the police chief or sheriff, who then performs a background check.10 See Background Checks in Minnesota for further information.

A person commits a gross misdemeanor if he or she intentionally transfers a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon to a person he or she knows:

• Has been denied a permit to carry a weapon because the transferee is not eligible under Minnesota law to possess an assault weapon; or

• Has been found ineligible to possess an assault weapon by law enforcement as a result of an application for a transferee permit or transfer report.11

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 7(1) lists more than two dozen named types of firearms that are considered “semiautomatic military-style assault weapons.” ⤴︎
  2. Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 7(2). ⤴︎
  3. Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 7(3). An exception exists for licensing agreements entered into before August 1, 1993, the effective date of the statute. ⤴︎
  4. 18 U.S.C. § 925(d)(3). ⤴︎
  5. Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 8. ⤴︎
  6. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(1). ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1a. ⤴︎
  9. See Minn. Stat. § 624.7131. ⤴︎
  10. Minn. Stat. § 624.7132, subd. 1, subd. 2; see also Minn. Stat. § 624.7132, subd. 12 (exempting transfers from non-dealers from this requirement). ⤴︎
  11. Minn. Stat. § 624.7141, subd. 1. ⤴︎

Assault Weapons in New Jersey

New Jersey prohibits the knowing possession of “assault firearms”1 (unless the purchaser or possessor is licensed to possess the assault firearm or the weapon is registered or rendered inoperable), defined to include:

  • More than 50 specified firearms or their copies;2
  • A semi-automatic shotgun with either a magazine capacity exceeding six rounds, a pistol grip, or a folding stock;3
  • A semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 15 rounds;4 and
  • A part or combination of parts designed or intended to convert a firearm into an assault firearm, or any combination of parts from which an assault firearm may be readily assembled if those parts are in the possession or under the control of the same person.5

Any person seeking to purchase or possess an assault firearm in New Jersey may apply for a license to do so by filing a written application with his or her county’s superior court, setting forth in detail the reasons for desiring such a license.6 “No license shall be issued to any person who would not qualify for a permit to carry a handgun…and no license shall be issued unless the court finds that the public safety and welfare so require.”7 See the section entitled Concealed Weapons Permitting in New Jersey for additional information.

New Jersey prohibits any person from manufacturing, transporting, shipping, selling or disposing of an assault firearm without being registered or licensed to do so under state law.8

Any person who lawfully purchased an assault firearm on or before May 1, 1990 was permitted to register that weapon within one year, if the Attorney General determined it was of a type used for legitimate target-shooting purposes.9 The owner was also required to pay a $50 fee per weapon, produce for inspection a valid Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC), a valid permit to carry handguns, or a copy of the permit to purchase a handgun which was used to purchase the assault firearm being registered, and submit valid proof of membership in a rifle or pistol club.10

Upon the death of a registered owner of an assault firearm, the owner’s heirs or estate have 90 days to either transfer the weapon to someone lawfully entitled to own or possess it, render it inoperable, or voluntarily surrender the gun to law enforcement.11

Finally, any person who offers to sell a semi-automatic rifle or “assault firearm” by means of an advertisement published in a newspaper circulating within New Jersey, where the advertisement does not specify that the purchaser is required to possess a valid New Jersey license to purchase and possess an assault firearm, or a valid FPIC to purchase and possess a semi-automatic rifle, is criminally liable for a misdemeanor.12

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-5f. “Assault Firearm” is defined under N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1w. ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1w(1), (2). ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1w(3). ⤴︎
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1w(4). ⤴︎
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1w(5). ⤴︎
  6. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5a. ⤴︎
  7. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5b. Licenses expire two years from the date of issue. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5g. See N.J. Admin. Code §§ 13:54-5.1 – 13:54-5.4, 13:54-5.6 – 13:54-5.7 for further information on assault firearms. ⤴︎
  8. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-9g. ⤴︎
  9. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-12b. ⤴︎
  10. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-12b. ⤴︎
  11. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-12f. See also N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-13 (provisions for prior owners who chose not to register their assault firearms). ⤴︎
  12. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-15. ⤴︎

Assault Weapons in New York

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

New York’s assault weapon law prohibits manufacturing, transporting, disposing of or possessing an assault weapon in the state.1

An assault weapon is defined as:

• A semi-automatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following characteristics:

o A folding or telescoping stock;

o A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;

o A thumbhole stock;

o A second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand;

o A bayonet mount;

o A flash suppressor, muzzle break, muzzle compensator,  or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor, muzzle break, or muzzle compensator;

o A grenade launcher; or

• A semi-automatic shotgun that has at least one of the following characteristics:

o A folding or telescoping stock;

o A thumbhole stock;

o A second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand;

o A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;

o A fixed magazine capacity in excess of seven rounds;

o An ability to accept a detachable magazine; or

• A semi-automatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following characteristics:

o A folding or telescoping stock;

o A thumbhole stock;

o A second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand;

o Capacity to accept an ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip;

o A threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer;

o A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the non-trigger hand without being burned;

o A manufactured weight of fifty ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded;

o A semi-automatic version of an automatic rifle, shotgun or handgun; or

• A revolving cylinder shotgun;

• A semiautomatic rifle, a semiautomatic shotgun or a semiautomatic pistol or other weapon as defined by New York Penal Law § 265.00(22)(e)(v) as that section read under the laws of 2000 and otherwise lawfully possessed prior to September 14, 1994; or

• A semiautomatic rifle, a semiautomatic shotgun or a semiautomatic pistol that qualifies as an assault weapon as defined above and possessed prior to January 15, 2013.2

The term “assault weapon” does not include:

• Any rifle, shotgun or pistol that:

o Is manually operated by bolt, pump, lever or slide action;

o Has been rendered permanently inoperable; or

o Is an antique firearm as defined by federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(16);

• A semi-automatic rifle that cannot accept a detachable magazine that holds more than five rounds of ammunition;

• A semi-automatic shotgun that cannot hold more than five rounds of ammunition in a fixed or detachable magazine;

• A rifle, shotgun or pistol, or a replica or a duplicate thereof, specified in Appendix A to 18 U.S.C. § 922 as such weapon was manufactured on October 1, 1993.  The mere fact that a weapon is not listed in Appendix A shall not be construed to mean that such weapon is an assault weapon;

• Any weapon validly registered pursuant to New York Penal law § 400.00(16)(a); or

• Any handgun, rifle, or shotgun that was manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including a replica thereof that is validly registered pursuant to N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(16-a).

Any semiautomatic rifle, semiautomatic shotgun, or semiautomatic pistol qualifying as an assault weapon, as defined above, that was legally possessed prior to January 15, 2013, may only be sold to, exchanged with or disposed of to a purchaser authorized to possess such weapon or to an individual or entity outside the state provided that any such transfer outside of the state must be reported to the entity wherein the weapon is registered within 72 hours of such transfer.  A person who transfers any such weapon to a person inside New York without complying with these requirements is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.3

An owner of an assault weapon, as defined above, which was possessed before January 15, 2013, must make an application to register the assault weapon with the Superintendent of State Police, in a manner to be prescribed by the Superintendent, or by amending an issued firearms license on or before January 15, 2014.  Registration information must include the registrant’s name, date of birth, gender, race, residential address, social security number, and a description of each weapon being registered.  Registration will not be valid if the registrant is prohibited or becomes prohibited from possessing a firearm pursuant to state or federal law.

The Superintendent must determine whether such registrant is prohibited from possessing a firearm, but such check must be limited to determining whether the factors in 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) apply or whether a registrant has been convicted of a serious offense as defined in New York Penal Code § 265.00(16-b), and whether a report has been issued pursuant to New York Mental Hygiene Law § 9.46, concerning patients that present a serious risk to self or others.

All registrants must recertify to the Division of State Police every five years.  Failure to recertify will result in a revocation of the registration.4

A person who knowingly fails to apply to register an assault weapon on or before January 15, 2014, will be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.  A person unknowingly failing to register an assault weapon within the time period provided by statute must be given a warning by an appropriate law enforcement authority about this failure and given 30 days in which to apply to register or surrender the weapon.  A failure to do so within 30 days will result in the weapon being declared a nuisance and removed by an appropriate law enforcement authority.5

Educating the Public

The Superintendent of State Police must create and maintain an internet website to educate the public as to which semiautomatic rifle, semiautomatic shotgun, or semiautomatic pistol or other weapons are illegal under these provisions.  The website must contain information to assist the public in recognizing the relevant features proscribed by these provisions, as well the make and model of weapons requiring registration.6

Notes
  1. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 265.02(7), 265.10. ⤴︎
  2. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(22)(f). ⤴︎
  3. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(22)(h). ⤴︎
  4. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(22)(g). ⤴︎
  5. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(16-a)(a). ⤴︎
  6. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(16-a)(c). ⤴︎

Assault Weapons in Ohio

Ohio has no law restricting assault weapons generally. However, Ohio includes within the definition of “[a]utomatic firearm” any semi-automatic firearm designed or specially adapted to fire more than thirty-one cartridges without reloading, other than a firearm chambering only .22 caliber short, long, or long-rifle cartridges.1 For further information, see Machine Guns/Automatic Firearms in Ohio.

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.11(E). ⤴︎

Assault Weapons in the District of Columbia

The District of Columbia deems assault weapons unregisterable, thereby prohibiting possession of these firearms.1 Unregisterable firearms cannot be sold or transferred in the District.2 The District has created a list of banned firearms under the definition of “assault weapon.”3

The District also includes within its definition of “assault weapon”:

  • A semiautomatic, rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:
    • A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
    • A thumbhole stock;
    • A folding or telescoping stock;
    • A grenade launcher or flare launcher;
    • A flash suppressor; or
    • A forward pistol grip;
  • A semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:
    • A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer;
    • A second handgrip;
    • A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel that allows the bearer to fire the weapon without burning his or her hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel; or
    • The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip;
  • A semiautomatic shotgun that has one or more of the following:
    • A folding or telescoping stock;
    • A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
    • A thumbhole stock; or
    • A vertical handgrip; and
  • A semiautomatic shotgun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine; and
  • Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder; unless it also has an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition; and
  • Any firearm that the Chief of Police may designate as an assault weapon by rule, based on a determination that the firearm would reasonably pose the same or similar danger to the health, safety, and security of the residents of the District as those weapons mentioned above.4

Antique firearms (i.e., firearms manufactured prior to 1899), and certain pistols that are designed expressly for use in Olympic target shooting events, are exempt.5

District law provides that any manufacturer, importer or dealer of an assault weapon will be held strictly liable for any direct and consequential damages resulting from injuries or death caused by these weapons:

Any manufacturer, importer, or dealer of an assault weapon…shall be held strictly liable in tort, without regard to fault or proof of defect, for all direct and consequential damages that arise from bodily injury or death if the bodily injury or death proximately results from the discharge of the assault weapon…in the District of Columbia.6

The assault weapons encompassed by the strict liability law are defined under D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2501.01(3A).7 The following exceptions apply to the District’s strict liability law:

  • No assault weapon originally distributed to a law enforcement agency or a law enforcement officer shall provide the basis for liability;
  • No action may be brought by a person injured by an assault weapon while committing a crime;
  • The statute may not limit in scope any cause of action available to a person injured by an assault weapon;
  • Any defense available in a strict liability action is available as a defense to an action brought under the District’s assault weapons strict liability laws; and
  • Recovery is not allowed for a self-inflicted injury that results from a reckless, wanton, or willful discharge of an assault weapon.8

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.02(a)(6). ⤴︎
  2. D.C. Code Ann. §§ 7-2505.01, 7-2505.02(a). ⤴︎
  3. See D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2501.01(3A)(A). ⤴︎
  4. D.C. Code Ann. § 7- 2501.01(3A). In those instances where the term “assault weapon” refers to a firearms manufacturer or description without including a specific model reference, the term shall be interpreted to include only those firearms produced by such manufacturer, or possessing such description, that share characteristics similar to other enumerated firearms under D.C. Code Ann. §§ 7-2501.01(3A)(A)(i)(I) – 7-2501.01(3A)(A)(i)(III), or possess any of the enumerated characteristics listed in D.C. Code Ann. §§ 7-2501.01(3A)(A)(i)(IV) – 7-2501.01(3A)(A)(i)(VIII) and D.C. Code Ann. §§ 7-2501.01(3A)(A)(ii) – (iii). D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2324.2. A firearm produced by a manufacturer or that possesses a description included in the definition of “assault weapon” by statute, but which does not share characteristics similar to those enumerated firearms or characteristics similar to other firearms described in D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2324.2, may be registered, provided that the firearm is not otherwise prohibited from registration under District or Federal law or regulation. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2324.3. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2551.02. ⤴︎
  7. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2551.01(1). ⤴︎
  8. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2551.03. ⤴︎

Assault Weapons in Virginia

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Virginia prohibits any person:

  • Who is not a citizen of the U.S., or who is not lawfully admitted for permanent residence, from knowingly and intentionally possessing or transporting any assault firearm;1 or
  • Who is a firearms dealer from transferring any assault firearm to such a person;2 and
  • From importing, selling, possessing or transferring “the Striker 12, commonly called a ‘streetsweeper,’ or any semi-automatic folding-stock shotgun of like kind with a spring tension drum magazine capable of holding twelve shotgun shells.”3

Virginia law defines “assault firearm” as:

[A]ny semi-automatic center-fire rifle or pistol which expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material and is equipped at the time of the offense with a magazine which will hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition or designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer or equipped with a folding stock.4

With certain exceptions, Virginia law prohibits any person under 18 years of age from knowingly and intentionally possessing or transporting an assault firearm.5 For purposes of this provision, an “assault firearm” means either:

  • A semi-automatic centerfire rifle or pistol equipped with a magazine that will hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition, is designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer or is equipped with a folding stock; or
  • A shotgun with a magazine which will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered.6

Virginia law also prohibits the carrying of certain loaded high-powered firearms in public places in certain cities. See the Other Location Restrictions section above for further information.

Notes
  1. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.2:01. ⤴︎
  2. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.2:2(B)(1). ⤴︎
  3. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.8. ⤴︎
  4. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.2:2(G). ⤴︎
  5. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2:308.7. ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎