Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines in California

See our Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Under California law, a “large capacity magazine” is defined as any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than ten rounds, but does not include any .22 caliber tube ammunition feeding device, any feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than ten rounds, or any tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm.1

With limited exceptions, California law prohibits any person from manufacturing, importing into the state, keeping for sale, offering or exposing for sale, giving, lending, buying, or receiving any large capacity magazine.2

In 2016, California voters also passed Proposition 63, which generally prohibited possession of large capacity magazines starting on July 1, 2017.3 The Legislature had previously grandfathered possession of large capacity magazines that were lawfully obtained before 2000, but because most of these magazines do not have identifying marks to indicate when they were manufactured or sold, police officers who came upon stashes of these magazines were unable to determine whether or not they were lawfully obtained. Proposition 63 required individuals who still own grandfathered large capacity magazines to permanently alter them so they cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds or to otherwise dispose of them before July 1, 2017 by selling them to a licensed firearms dealer, transferring them to law enforcement, removing them from the state, or destroying them.4

**Note that enforcement of Proposition 63’s restrictions on large-capacity magazines have been temporarily delayed pending an ongoing legal challenge by the NRA’s California affiliate. To learn more about this case and the Giffords Law Center’s work to defend Proposition 63, visit our Duncan v. Becerra summary page.**

California law also generally prohibits any person from manufacturing, importing into the state, selling, giving, lending, buying, or receiving, any large capacity magazine conversion kit. A “large capacity magazine conversion kit” is defined as a device, or combination of parts from a fully-functioning large capacity magazine, capable of converting an ammunition feeding device into a large capacity magazine.5

Upon a showing of good cause, the California Department of Justice may issue permits for the possession, transportation, or sale of large capacity ammunition magazines between a licensed California firearms dealer and an out-of-state customer.6

Large capacity magazines may be manufactured for any federal, state, or local government or law enforcement agency, the military, or for use by agency employees in the discharge of their official duties, whether on or off duty.7 Large capacity magazines may also be purchased or loaned for the sole use as a motion picture, television or video prop.8 Such magazines may also be resold to law enforcement agencies, government agencies, or the military, pursuant to applicable federal regulations.9

 

Notes
  1. Cal. Penal Code § 16740. ⤴︎
  2. Cal. Penal Code § 32310. ⤴︎
  3. See Cal. Penal Code §§ 32310(c), (d). ⤴︎
  4. Id.; Cal. Penal Code § 16740(a) (excluding from the definition of “large-capacity magazine” any ammunition feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds). ⤴︎
  5. Cal. Penal Code § 32311. ⤴︎
  6. Cal. Penal Code § 32315. The requirements for demonstrating “good cause” are set out at Cal. Code Regs. tit. 11, § 5480. ⤴︎
  7. Cal. Penal Code § 32440. ⤴︎
  8. Cal. Penal Code §§ 32445, 32450. ⤴︎
  9. Cal. Penal Code § 32450(c). For additional large capacity ammunition magazine regulations, see Cal. Code Regs. tit. 11, §§ 5480–84. ⤴︎

Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines in Colorado

Colorado prohibits the sale, transfer and possession of a “large-capacity magazine.”1

“Large-capacity magazine” means:

  • A fixed or detachable magazine, box, drum, feed strip, or similar device capable of accepting, or that is designed to be readily converted to accept, more than 15 rounds of ammunition;
  • A fixed, tubular shotgun magazine that holds more than 28 inches of shotgun shells, including any extension device that is attached to the magazine and holds additional shotgun shells; or
  • A nontubular, detachable magazine, box, drum, feed strip, or similar device that is capable of accepting more than eight shotgun shells when combined with a fixed magazine.2

“Large-capacity magazine” does not include:

  • A feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than fifteen rounds of ammunition;
  • An attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 rimfire ammunition; or
  • A tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm.3

A large-capacity magazine that is manufactured in Colorado after July 1, 2013, must include a permanent stamp or marking indicating that the large-capacity magazine was manufactured or assembled after July 1, 2013.  The stamp or marking must be legibly and conspicuously engraved or cast upon the outer surface of the large-capacity magazine.  The Colorado Bureau of Investigation may create rules for implementing this requirement, including additional identification information on each large-capacity magazine.4

Exceptions – A person may possess a large-capacity magazine if they owned the large-capacity magazine on or prior to July 1, 2013, and maintain continuous possession of the magazine.5  When a person charged with illegal possession of a large-capacity magazine claims to fall under this exception, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove otherwise.6

The large-capacity magazine ban does not apply to military or police agents that carry a firearm in the course of their official duties.  The ban also does not apply to an entity or employee of an entity engaged in the manufacture of large-capacity magazines within Colorado solely for transfer to any licensed gun dealer that sells large-capacity magazines exclusively to the armed forces, government agencies, a retailer operating outside of the state of Colorado, or a foreign national government approved by the U.S. for such transfers.7

See our Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-302(1)(a). A violation of this prohibition will be punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor, and it is a Class 6 felony to possess a large-capacity magazine during the commission of a felony or crime of violence. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-302(1)(a), (c). ⤴︎
  2. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-301(2)(a). ⤴︎
  3. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-301(2)(b). ⤴︎
  4. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-303. ⤴︎
  5. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-302(2)(a). ⤴︎
  6. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-302(2)(b). ⤴︎
  7. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-302(3). ⤴︎

Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines in Connecticut

Connecticut law defines “large capacity magazine” to mean any firearm magazine, belt, drum, feed strip or similar device that has the capacity of, or can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition.1

This definition does not include:

  1. A feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than ten rounds of ammunition;
  2. A .22 caliber tube ammunition feeding device;
  3. A tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm; or
  4. A magazine that is permanently inoperable.2

Any person who distributes, imports into the state, keeps for sale, offers or exposes for sale, or purchases a large capacity magazine is criminally liable for a class D felony.3

Any person who possesses a large capacity magazine on or after January 1, 2014, that was obtained prior to April 5, 2013, commits an infraction and may be fined up to $90 for a first offense.4 A subsequent offense is a class D felony.  A person in possession of a large capacity magazine that was obtained on or after April 5, 2013, is guilty of a class D felony.5

Grandfathering

A person who lawfully possesses a large capacity magazine prior to January 1, 2014, must apply by that date to the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) to declare possession of such magazine.  The application must be made on a form or in a manner prescribed by the Commissioner of DESPP.6  DESPP must also design or amend the following application forms to allow an applicant to declare possession of a large capacity magazine within the same form: 1) a certificate of possession for an assault weapon; 2) a permit to carry or eligibility certificate for a pistol or revolver; 3) a long gun eligibility certificate; or 4) renewal of any such permit or certificate.7

DESPP is authorized to adopt regulations to establish procedures with respect to large capacity magazine declaration applications.  The name and address of an applicant must be confidential and must not be disclosed except to: 1) law enforcement agencies and employees of the U.S. Probation Office; or 2) the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services to carry out the provisions of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-500(c), which requires the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services to maintain information on commitment orders by a probate court and on voluntary commitments and requires probate courts to maintain information regarding cases relating to persons with psychiatric disabilities.8 A person moving into Connecticut while in lawful possession of a large capacity magazine must, within 90 days, render the magazine permanently inoperable, sell the magazine to a licensed gun dealer, or remove the magazine from the state.9 A person who is a member of the armed forces in possession of a large capacity magazine who has been transferred into the state after January 1, 2014, may, within 90 days of arriving in the state, apply to DESPP to declare possession of the magazine.10

If an owner of a large capacity magazine transfers the magazine to a licensed dealer, the dealer must, at the time of delivery, execute a certificate of transfer.  For any transfer before January 1, 2014, the dealer must provide to the Commissioner of DESPP monthly reports on the number of transfers that the dealer has accepted.11 For transfers on or after January 1, 2014, the dealer must mail or deliver the certificate of transfer to the Commissioner. The certificate must contain:  1) the date of sale or transfer; 2) the name and address of the seller or transferor and the licensed gun dealer, and their Social Security or driver’s license numbers; 3) the licensed dealer’s federal firearms license number; and 4) a description of the large capacity magazine.12 The Commissioner must maintain a file of all certificates of transfer at the Commissioner’s central office.13 The licensed gun dealer must present his or her federal firearms license and seller’s permit to the transferor for inspection at the time of purchase or transfer.14

A person who has declared possession of a large capacity magazine under the above provisions may possess the magazine only under the following circumstances:

  1. At the person’s residence;
  2. At the person’s place of business or other property owned by that person, provided such large capacity magazine contains not more than 10 bullets;
  3. While on the premises of a target range of a public or private club or organization organized for the purpose of practicing shooting at targets;
  4. While on a target range which holds a regulatory or business license for the purpose of practicing shooting at that target range;
  5. While on the premises of a licensed shooting club;
  6. While transporting the magazine between any of the above places, or to a licensed gun dealer, provided that the magazine does not contain more than 10 bullets and is transported in a secure manner;
  7. Pursuant to a valid permit to carry a pistol or revolver, provided the magazine: a) is within a pistol or revolver that was lawfully possessed by the person prior to April 5, 2013; b) does not extend more than one inch below the bottom of the pistol grip; and c) contains not more than 10 bullets.15

Exceptions

A large capacity magazine may be possessed, purchased, or imported by:

  1. Members or employees of the DESPP, police departments, the Department of Correction, the Division of Criminal Justice, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection or the military or naval forces of Connecticut or of the United States;
  2. Employees of a Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensee operating a nuclear power generating facility in Connecticut for the purpose of providing security services at such facility, or any contractor or subcontractor providing security services at such facility; and
  3. Any person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of manufacturing large capacity magazines that manufactures or transports such magazines in Connecticut for sale within the state to the persons listed above.16

A large capacity magazine may be possessed by, among other persons:

  1. A licensed gun dealer;
  2. A gunsmith who is in a licensed gun dealer’s employ, who possesses the large capacity magazine for the purpose of servicing or repairing a lawfully possessed magazine;
  3. A person who has declared possession of the magazine according to the grandfathering provisions discussed above;
  4. Any person who is the executor or administrator of an estate that includes a large capacity magazine, the possession of which has been declared to DESPP which is disposed of as authorized by the Probate Court, if such disposition is otherwise lawful.17

In addition, the following transfers are not prohibited:

  1. A transfer by bequest or intestate succession of a large capacity magazine, the possession of which has been declared to DESPP;
  2. A transfer of a large capacity magazine to a police department or DESPP; or
  3. A transfer of a large capacity magazine to a licensed gun dealer in accordance with the rules above.18

Enforcement for Non-Serious, First-Time Offenders

If a court finds that a violation of large capacity magazine prohibitions is not serious in nature and that the person charged with the violation: 1) will probably not offend in the future; 2) has not previously been convicted of a similar violation; and 3) has not previously had a similar prosecution suspended, the court may order suspension of the prosecution.19

For additional information about ammunition magazines, see the Ammunition Regulation in Connecticut section.

See our Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202p(a)(1). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202p(b). ⤴︎
  4. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202p(c ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202q(a)(1). ⤴︎
  7. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202q(b). ⤴︎
  8. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202q(c). ⤴︎
  9. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202q(d). ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202q(e)(1). ⤴︎
  12. Id. ⤴︎
  13. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202q(e)(3). ⤴︎
  14. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202q(e)(2). ⤴︎
  15. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202q(f). ⤴︎
  16. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202p(d). ⤴︎
  17. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202p(d). ⤴︎
  18. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202p(f). ⤴︎
  19. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202p (g). ⤴︎

Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines in Massachusetts

See our Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Massachusetts prohibits the sale, offering for sale, transfer or possession of a large capacity feeding device unless such device was lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994.1,2 Under Massachusetts law, a “large capacity feeding device” is defined as: “(i) a fixed or detachable magazine, box, drum, feed strip or similar device capable of accepting, or that can be readily converted to accept, more than ten rounds of ammunition or more than five shotgun shells; or (ii) a large capacity ammunition feeding device as defined in federal law as it appeared on September 13, 1994 (that federal statute expired on September 13, 2004). This does not include “an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber ammunition.”3

Notes
  1. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 131M. ⤴︎
  2. An individual with a special license may purchase, possess, and carry certain types of large capacity feeding devices for any lawful purpose. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 131(a), 134 3/4 ⤴︎
  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)(31). ⤴︎

Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines in Nevada

Nevada has no law regulating large capacity ammunition magazines.

See Regulating Guns in America: Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines in New Jersey

New Jersey prohibits the manufacture, transportation, shipment, sale or disposal of any large capacity ammunition magazine, unless the magazine is intended to be used for authorized military or law enforcement purposes.1 New Jersey defines “large capacity ammunition magazine” as a box, drum, tube or other container which is capable of holding more than 15 rounds of ammunition to be fed continuously and directly into a semi-automatic firearm.2

The state prohibits the knowing possession of a large capacity magazine unless the possessor has registered an assault firearm pursuant to state law and uses the magazine in connection with competitive shooting matches sanctioned by the Director of Civilian Marksmanship of the U.S. Department of the Army.3

See our Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-9h. ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-1y. ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-3j. ⤴︎

Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines in New York

New York prohibits the manufacture, transportation, disposal and possession of any large capacity ammunition feeding device, which New York law defines as “a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that: 1) has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than ten rounds of ammunition; 2) contains more than seven rounds of ammunition; or 3) is obtained after January 15, 2013 and has a capacity of, or can be readily restored or converted to accept more than seven rounds of ammunition.”1

New York limits any person to putting seven rounds of ammunition into a magazine, unless the person is at an incorporated firing range or competition recognized by the National Rifle Association or International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association, in which case the limit is ten rounds.2

The definition of large capacity feeding device does not include “an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition or a feeding device that is a curio or relic.  A feeding device that is a curio or relic” is a device that:  1) was manufactured at least 50 years before January 15, 2013; 2) is only capable of being used exclusively in a firearm that was manufactured at least 50 years prior to January 15, 2013, but not including replicas thereof; 3) is possessed by an individual who is not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm; and 4) is registered with the Division of State Police pursuant to New York law.3

Grandfathering of Previously Legal Magazines

New York prohibits any person from knowingly possessing a large capacity ammunition feeding device made before September 13, 1994 that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than ten rounds of ammunition.  Such possession is prohibited even if the person lawfully possessed the device prior to January 15, 2013.  However, someone who has a reasonable belief that these are allowed to possess such a device, but who surrenders his or her device within 30 days of being notified of their illegality is not criminally liable.4

New York also prohibits the  knowing possession of an ammunition feeding device that has a capacity of, or can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than seven but less than ten rounds of ammunition, where such device contains more than seven rounds of ammunition.  Such possession is illegal even if the device was lawfully possessed prior to January 15, 2013.  Thus, it is legal to possess ammunition feeding devices that have the capacity of, or that can be converted to accept, 8-10 rounds, so long as they were lawfully possessed prior to January 15, 2013, and do not actually contain more than seven rounds of ammunition.5

Transfer and Registration

New York law provides that large capacity ammunition magazines lawfully possessed prior to January 15, 2013, may only be transferred to a purchaser in the state who is authorized to possess them, or otherwise may only be transferred outside of the state.  If transferred outside the state, the transfer must be reported to the registration system within 72 hours.  An exception exists, however, that allows an individual to transfer a lawfully possessed pre-ban large capacity magazine within one year of January 15, 2013.  An individual not complying with this provision is criminally liable for a Class A misdemeanor.6

A feeding device that qualifies as a curio or relic may be transferred.  However, the transfer must be processed through a licensed dealer, who must conduct a background check of the transferee.  Curios or relics that are transferred into the state from outside the state must be registered within 30 days.7

Registrations of large capacity ammunition magazines are transferrable.  However, the state must confirm that the transferee is not a prohibited person.  Registrations must be recertified every five years.8

See our Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 265.00(23), 265.02(8), 265.10. ⤴︎
  2. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.20(7-f); see also N.Y. SAFE Act FAQ, available at:  www.governor.ny.gov/2013/gun-reforms-faq. ⤴︎
  3. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(23). ⤴︎
  4. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.36. ⤴︎
  5. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.37. ⤴︎
  6. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(22)(h). ⤴︎
  7. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(23). ⤴︎
  8. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(16-a). ⤴︎

Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines in Ohio

Ohio has no law restricting large capacity magazines. 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 Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

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

Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines in the District of Columbia

The District of Columbia prohibits the possession, sale or other transfer of any large capacity ammunition feeding device, regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm.1 “Large capacity ammunition feeding device” is defined as a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition.2

Except in certain narrow circumstances, the District’s Metropolitan Police Department is prohibited from transferring any ammunition feeding device in its possession to any person or entity other than a law enforcement officer or governmental agency for law enforcement purposes.3

See our Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2506.01(b). ⤴︎
  2. Id. The term “large capacity ammunition feeding device” does not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition. ⤴︎
  3. D.C. Code Ann. § 5-133.16. ⤴︎