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Legal Resources | Penal Code |  PC  12280  

Assault Weapons; .50 BMG rifle   

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(a) (1) Any person who, within this state, manufactures or causes to be manufactured, distributes, transports, or imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives or lends any assault weapon or any .50 BMG rifle, except as provided by this chapter, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for four, six, or eight years.

(2) In addition and consecutive to the punishment imposed under paragraph (1), any person who transfers, lends, sells, or gives any assault weapon or any .50 BMG rifle to a minor in violation of paragraph (1) shall receive an enhancement of one year.

(3) Except in the case of a first violation involving not more than two firearms as provided in subdivisions (b) and (c), for purposes of this section, if more than one assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle is involved in any violation of this section, there shall be a distinct and separate offense for each.

(b) Any person who, within this state, possesses any assault weapon, except as provided in this chapter, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison. However, a first violation of these provisions is punishable by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) if the person was found in possession of no more than two firearms in compliance with subdivision (c) of Section 12285 and the person meets all of the following conditions:

(1) The person proves that he or she lawfully possessed the assault weapon prior to the date it was defined as an assault weapon pursuant to Section 12276, 12276.1, or 12276.5.

(2) The person has not previously been convicted of a violation of this section.

(3) The person was found to be in possession of the assault weapon within one year following the end of the one-year registration period established pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 12285.

(4) The person relinquished the firearm pursuant to Section 12288, in which case the assault weapon shall be destroyed pursuant to Section 12028.

(c) Any person who, within this state, possesses any .50 BMG rifle, except as provided in this chapter, shall be punished by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment. However, a first violation of these provisions is punishable by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) if the person was found in possession of no more than two firearms in compliance with subdivision (a) of Section 12285 and the person meets the conditions set forth in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3):

(1) The person proves that he or she lawfully possessed the .50 BMG rifle prior to January 1, 2005.

(2) The person has not previously been convicted of a violation of this section.

(3) The person was found to be in possession of the .50 BMG rifle within one year following the end of the .50 BMG rifle registration period established pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 12285.

(4) Firearms seized pursuant to this subdivision from persons who meet all of the conditions set forth in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) shall be returned unless the court finds in the interest of public safety, after notice and hearing, that the .50 BMG rifle should be destroyed pursuant to Section 12028. Firearms seized from persons who do not meet the conditions set forth in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) shall be destroyed pursuant to Section 12028.

(d) Notwithstanding Section 654 or any other provision of law, any person who commits another crime while violating this section may receive an additional, consecutive punishment of one year for violating this section in addition and consecutive to the punishment, including enhancements, which is prescribed for the other crime.

(e) Subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) shall not apply to the sale to, purchase by, importation of, or possession of assault weapons or a . 50 BMG rifle by the Department of Justice, police departments, sheriffs' offices, marshals' offices, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Department of the California Highway Patrol, district attorneys' offices, Department of Fish and Game, Department of Parks and Recreation, or the military or naval forces of this state or of the United States, or any federal law enforcement agency for use in the discharge of their official duties.

(f) (1) Subdivisions (b) and (c) shall not prohibit the possession or use of assault weapons or a .50 BMG rifle by sworn peace officer members of those agencies specified in subdivision (e) for law enforcement purposes, whether on or off duty.

(2) Subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) shall not prohibit the delivery, transfer, or sale of an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle to, or the possession of an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle by, a sworn peace officer member of an agency specified in subdivision (e) if the peace officer is authorized by his or her employer to possess or receive the assault weapon or the .50 BMG rifle. Required authorization is defined as verifiable written certification from the head of the agency, identifying the recipient or possessor of the assault weapon as a peace officer and authorizing him or her to receive or possess the specific assault weapon. For this exemption to apply, in the case of a peace officer who possesses or receives the assault weapon prior to January 1, 2002, the officer shall register the assault weapon pursuant to Section 12285 on or before April 1, 2002, and in the case of a peace officer who possesses or receives the assault weapon on or after January 1, 2002, the officer shall register the assault weapon pursuant to Section 12285 not later than 90 days after possession or receipt. In the case of a peace officer who possesses or receives a .50 BMG rifle on or before January 1, 2005, the officer shall register the .50 BMG rifle on or before April 30, 2006. In the case of a peace officer who possesses or receives a .50 BMG rifle after January 1, 2005, the officer shall register the .50 BMG rifle not later than one year after possession or receipt. The peace officer must include with the registration, a copy of the authorization required pursuant to this paragraph.

(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or prohibit the delivery, transfer, or sale of an assault weapon or a . 50 BMG rifle to, or the possession of an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle by, a member of a federal law enforcement agency provided that person is authorized by the employing agency to possess the assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle.

(g) Subdivision (b) shall not apply to the possession of an assault weapon during the 90-day period immediately after the date it was specified as an assault weapon pursuant to Section 12276.5, or during the one-year period after the date it was defined as an assault weapon pursuant to Section 12276.1, if all of the following are applicable:

(1) The person is eligible under this chapter to register the particular assault weapon.

(2) The person lawfully possessed the particular assault weapon prior to the date it was specified as an assault weapon pursuant to Section 12276.5, or prior to the date it was defined as an assault weapon pursuant to Section 12276.1.

(3) The person is otherwise in compliance with this chapter.

(h) Subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) shall not apply to the manufacture by persons who are issued permits pursuant to Section 12287 of assault weapons or .50 BMG rifles for sale to the following:

(1) Exempt entities listed in subdivision (e).

(2) Entities and persons who have been issued permits pursuant to Section 12286 or 12287.

(3) Entities outside the state who have, in effect, a federal firearms dealer's license solely for the purpose of distribution to an entity listed in paragraphs (4) to (6), inclusive.

(4) Federal military and law enforcement agencies.

(5) Law enforcement and military agencies of other states.

(6) Foreign governments and agencies approved by the United States State Department.

(i) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to a person who is the executor or administrator of an estate that includes an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle registered under Section 12285 or that was possessed pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (f) that is disposed of as authorized by the probate court, if the disposition is otherwise permitted by this chapter.

(j) Subdivisions (b) and (c) shall not apply to a person who is the executor or administrator of an estate that includes an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle registered under Section 12285 or that was possessed pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (f) if the assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle is possessed at a place set forth in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 12285 or as authorized by the probate court.

(k) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to either of the following:

(1) A person who lawfully possesses and has registered an assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle pursuant to this chapter who lends that assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle to another if all the following apply:

(A) The person to whom the assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle is lent is 18 years of age or over and is not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing, receiving, owning, or purchasing a firearm.

(B) The person to whom the assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle is lent remains in the presence of the registered possessor of the assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle.

(C) The assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle is possessed at any of the following locations:

(i) While on a target range that holds a regulatory or business license for the purpose of practicing shooting at that target range.

(ii) 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.

(iii) While attending any exhibition, display, or educational project that is about firearms and that 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.

(2) The return of an assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle to the registered possessor, or the lawful possessor, which is lent by the same pursuant to paragraph (1).

() Subdivisions (b) and (c) shall not apply to the possession of an assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle by a person to whom an assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle is lent pursuant to subdivision (k).

(m) Subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) shall not apply to the possession and importation of an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle into this state by a nonresident if all of the following conditions are met:

(1) The person is attending or going directly to or coming directly from an organized competitive match or league competition that involves the use of an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle.

(2) The competition or match is conducted on the premises of one of the following:

(A) A target range that holds a regulatory or business license for the purpose of practicing shooting at that target range.

(B) A target range of a public or private club or organization that is organized for the purpose of practicing shooting at targets.

(3) The match or competition 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.

(4) The assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle is transported in accordance with Section 12026.1 or 12026.2.

(5) The person is 18 years of age or over and is not in a class of persons prohibited from possessing firearms by virtue of Section 12021 or 12021.1 of this code or Section 8100 or 8103 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

(n) Subdivisions (b) and (c) shall not apply to any of the following persons:

(1) A person acting in accordance with Section 12286 or 12287.

(2) A person who has a permit to possess an assault weapon or a . 50 BMG rifle issued pursuant to Section 12286 or 12287 when he or she is acting in accordance with Section 12285, 12286, or 12287.

(o) Subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) shall not apply to any of the following persons:

(1) A person acting in accordance with Section 12285.

(2) A person acting in accordance with Section 12286, 12287, or 12290.

(p) Subdivisions (b) and (c) shall not apply to the registered owner of an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle possessing that firearm in accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 12285.

(q) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to the importation into this state of an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle by the registered owner of that assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle if it is in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (c) of Section 12285.

(r) Subdivision (a) shall not apply during the first 180 days of the 2005 calendar year to the importation into this state of a .50 BMG rifle by a person who lawfully possessed that .50 BMG rifle in this state prior to January 1, 2005.

(s) Subdivision (c) shall not apply to the possession of a .50 BMG rifle that is not defined or specified as an assault weapon pursuant to this chapter, by any person prior to May 1, 2006, if all of the following are applicable:

(1) The person is eligible under this chapter to register that .50 BMG rifle.

(2) The person lawfully possessed the .50 BMG rifle prior to January 1, 2005.

(3) The person is otherwise in compliance with this chapter.

(t) Subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) shall not apply to the sale of assault weapons or .50 BMG rifles by persons who are issued permits pursuant to Section 12287 to any of the following:

(1) Exempt entities listed in subdivision (e).

(2) Entities and persons who have been issued permits pursuant to Section 12286 or 12287.

(3) Federal military and law enforcement agencies.

(4) Law enforcement and military agencies of other states.

(5) Foreign governments and agencies approved by the United States State Department.

(6) Officers described in subdivision (f) who are authorized to possess assault weapons or .50 BMG rifles pursuant to subdivision (f).

(u) As used in this chapter, the date a firearm is an assault weapon is the earliest of the following:

(1) The effective date of an amendment to Section 12276 that adds the designation of the specified firearm.

(2) The effective date of the list promulgated pursuant to Section 12276.5 that adds or changes the designation of the specified firearm.

(3) The operative date of Section 12276.1, as specified in subdivision (d) of that section.

(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 698, Sec. 24.)