A new law which addresses registering, regulating, purchasing, selling and possessing firearms in the state, which took effect Jan. 1, has some 6 million gun owners in the state wondering how those laws affect them.
The sweeping changes to gun legislation over the past two years and subsequent court challenges, changing deadlines and contradictions in the law have left many gun owners scratching their heads in confusion.
With this confusion in mind, Valley News is addressing some of the more pressing issues gun owners are facing today. Detailed information on the new laws can be found on the state of California Department of Justice Firearms Bureau at https://oag.ca.gov/firearms.
First, assault weapons must be registered.
This registration is required under the new law and needs to be done by June 30. An assault weapon is defined as a semi-automatic, centerfire rifle that does not have a fixed magazine but has a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, a thumbhole stock or a folding or telescoping stock. There are many more requirements that can be found online at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Remember it is not illegal to own an assault weapon in California, only to buy them.
Next, firearms purchases must be made through licensed dealers.
All firearms purchases and transfers, including private party transactions and sales at gun shows, must be made through a licensed dealer under the Dealer Record of Sale process. California imposes a 10-day waiting period before a firearm can be released to a buyer or transferee. A person must be at least 18 years of age to purchase a rifle or shotgun. To buy a handgun, a person must be at least 21 years of age, and either possess a Handgun Safety Certificate, plus successfully complete a safety demonstration with the handgun being purchased or qualify for a Handgun Safety Certificate exemption.
For ammunition sales, beginning Jan. 1, it became illegal for buyers to purchase ammunition online and have it delivered to their doorstep. While ammunition buyers can still purchase their ammunition online, it has to be shipped to a licensed dealer that has been approved by the Department of Justice. Dealers can charge a processing fee for the service though many have yet to announce whether or not they will do so.
Also beginning Jan. 1, it became illegal to buy ammunition out of state and transport it back to California. Even those hunting out of state are forbidden to bring ammunition brought elsewhere into California, so be sure to leave all that extra ammunition behind when returning to the state after those hunting trips.
Under the new law, there is no limit on how much ammunition can be bought, and the direct mail ban does not apply to reloading supplies.
There are restrictions on firearms ownership.
Any person who has a conviction for any misdemeanor listed in California Penal Code 29805 including a domestic violence misdemeanor, or for any felony, or is addicted to the use of any narcotic drug, or has been held involuntarily as a danger to self or others pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code Section 8103 is prohibited from buying, owning or possessing firearms. Various other prohibitions exist for mental conditions, domestic restraining/protective orders, conditions of probation and offenses committed as a juvenile.
Recreational shooting is allowed in Riverside County.
Recreational shooting is permitted on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Proper access to public lands must be via public roads, according to a press release issued by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Crossing private lands to access public lands is not permitted unless they first obtain permission from the private landowner.
Currently, the Bureau of Land Management has two target practice areas in Riverside County that are open to the public.
Berdoo Canyon and Fargo Canyon are both located in the eastern part of the county. Before making a trip, be sure to check the BLM office for current conditions, regulation fire hazard closures and other information. BLM can be reached by calling (760) 833-7100 or visiting them online at www.blm.gov.
For more information on the new firearm laws and how they will affect residents, visit https://oag.ca.gov/firearms.