California, a state that is notoriously hostile to law-abiding gun owners (but friendly toward criminals and illegal aliens)  banned the sale,  possession, and importation of “large capacity” (exceeding 10 rounds)  semi-automatic firearm magazines some time ago. It was yet another futile act that has done nothing to curb crime.

If you do not live in the Golden State you may be thinking “So what? I don’t live there, so how does this absurd law affect me? ” It doesn’t, unless you travel into California with a firearm that contains such a magazine. If you are caught, you could be facing a $100 fine per magazine, and one year in jail.

How do you deal with this and stay out of legal trouble? There are several options:

Option 1. Buy and install a 10 round magazine for your make and model firearm in order to keep it compliant when you travel into CA. Several manufacturers (Glock, Springfield Armory, and Smith & Wesson, to name a few) offer both the standard high capacity magazine and the 10-round version, just for this purpose.

Option 2. Permanently alter (“down-convert”) your magazine so that it cannot accept more than 10 cartridges. CA Penal Code addresses this with this language:


Penal Code – PEN
( Part 6 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )
( Title 1 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )
DIVISION 2. DEFINITIONS [16100 – 17360]
( Division 2 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )
As used in this part, “large-capacity magazine” means any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds, but shall not be construed to include any of the following:

(a) A feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds.

(b) A .22 caliber tube ammunition feeding device.

(c) A tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm.

(Added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. (SB 1080) Effective January 1, 2011. Operative January 1, 2012, by Sec. 10 of Ch. 711.)


MagBlock is a CA based company that sells a plastic insert for many magazine models. By using rivets or epoxy, you can affix a block and “permanently alter” your magazine so that it is CA-compliant.

Option 3. Stay the hell out of that State! If you must travel there, and you are just passing through the State, the federal “Safe Passage Provision” of the Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA) offers some protection. It was designed to stop harassment of motorists traveling with firearms. Even with FOPA, there is still a chance that a hostile LEO will arrest you.  Be sure to obey the law, but assert your rights! Not giving consent for a vehicle search is  a good start. More on vehicle searches in a a future article.

At Semper Firearms Training we encourage you to buy a good firearm, get trained in how to use it, get a Nevada CCW permit, and continue your firearms training as part of a defensive lifestyle.

Image courtesy of Oleg Volk •