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(1) In 2007, 3,231 people died from firearm-related injuries in California, and 4,491 other people were treated for non-fatal gunshot wounds.
(2) The ability of an automatic or semiautomatic firearm to fire multiple bullets without reloading is directly related to the capacity of the firearm's feeding device or "magazine." Inside the magazine, a spring forces the cartridges into position to be fed into the chamber by operation of the firearm's action.
(3) Magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition are generally considered to be "large capacity" magazines, although the statutory definitions vary. In some cases, large capacity magazines can hold up to 100 rounds of ammunition. Other types of firearms, in contrast, are generally capable of holding far less ammunition: for example, revolvers typically hold six rounds of ammunition in a rotating cylinder.
(4) Although detachable large capacity magazines are typically associated with machine guns or semiautomatic assault weapons, such devices are available for any semiautomatic firearm that accepts a detachable magazine, including semiautomatic handguns.
(5) The ability of large capacity magazines to hold numerous rounds of ammunition significantly increases the lethality of the automatic and semiautomatic firearms using them.
(6) Large capacity magazines were used in a number of recent high-profile shootings, including:
The shooting on the campus of Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, where 32 people were killed and many others wounded,
The shooting in a gym in Pittsburgh on August 4, 2009, where three people were killed and nine others injured.
The shooting on November 5, 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas, where 13 people were killed and 34 more were wounded.
The shooting on January 8, 2011, at Tucson, Arizona, where 6 people were killed and 13 people were injured, including a member of the United States House of Representatives, and
The shootings on December 14, 2012, at Newtown, Connecticut, where 27 people (not including the shooter) were killed.
(7) Large capacity magazines have also been used against San Francisco police officers, including a recent incident at India Basin Shoreline Park, where undercover police officers were targeted with semiautomatic pistols containing 30-round magazines. Prohibiting large capacity magazines serves police safety by requiring perpetrators to pause to reload their firearms more frequently, giving police officers greater opportunity to apprehend them.
(8) Large capacity magazine bans reduce the capacity, and thus the potential lethality, of any firearm that can accept a large capacity magazine.
(9) Large capacity magazines are not necessary for individuals to vindicate their right to self-defense. Only in an extraordinarily rare circumstance would a person using a firearm in self-defense ever be required to use a large capacity magazine to defend himself or herself effectively. This is particularly true in an urban center like San Francisco, where law enforcement can and does respond quickly to threats and incidents. Conversely, the dangers of large capacity magazines are heightened in dense urban areas like San Francisco.
(10) In 1994, in recognition of the dangers posed by these devices, Congress adopted a law prohibiting the transfer and possession of large capacity magazines as part of the federal assault weapon ban. That law was filled with loopholes, however.
(11) The federal law was enacted with a sunset clause, providing for its expiration after ten years. Despite overwhelming public support for the law, Congress allowed the federal ban to expire on September 13, 2004.
(12) Research commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice to analyze the effect of the 1994 federal ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines found that attacks with semiautomatics including assault weapons and other semiautomatics equipped with large capacity magazines result in more shots fired, more persons hit, and more wounds inflicted per victim than do attacks with other firearms.
(13) Since January 1, 2000, California Penal Code §§ 32310 et seq., have, with limited exceptions, prohibited the manufacture, importation into the state, keeping for sale, offering or exposing for sale, giving, or lending of large capacity magazines. California law does not, however, prohibit the possession of these magazines, and this gap in the law threatens public safety.
(b) Definition. "Large capacity magazine" means any detachable ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds, but shall not be construed to include any of the following:
(1) A feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds;
(2) A . 22 caliber tube ammunition feeding device; or
(3) A tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm.
(c) Prohibition on Possession of Large Capacity Magazines.
(1) No person, corporation, or other entity in the City may possess a large capacity magazine, whether assembled or disassembled.
(2) Any person who, prior to the effective date of this chapter, was legally in possession of a large capacity magazine shall have 90 days from such effective date to do any of the following without being subject to prosecution:
(A) Remove the large capacity magazine from the City;
(B) Surrender the large capacity magazine to the Police Department for destruction; or
(C) Sell or transfer the large capacity magazine lawfully in accordance with Penal Code § 12020.
(d) Exceptions. Subsection (c) shall not apply to the following:
(1) Any government officer, agent, or employee, member of the armed forces of the United States, or peace officer, to the extent that such person is otherwise authorized to possess a large capacity magazine in connection with his or her official duties;
(2) A person licensed pursuant to Penal Code §§ 26700 to 26915, inclusive;
(3) A gunsmith for the purposes of maintenance, repair or modification of the large capacity magazine;
(4) Any entity that operates an armored vehicle business pursuant to the laws of the state, and an authorized employee of such entity, while in the course and scope of his or her employment for purposes that pertain to the entity's armored vehicle business;
(5) Any person, corporation or other entity that manufactures the large capacity magazine for a person mentioned in subsection (a) or for export pursuant to applicable federal regulations;
(6) Any person using the large capacity magazine solely as a prop for a motion picture, television, or video production, or entertainment event;
(7) Any holder of a special weapons permit issued pursuant to Penal Code § 33300, 32650, 32700, 31000, or 18900;
(8) Any person issued a permit pursuant to Penal Code § 32315 by the California Department of Justice upon a showing of good cause for the possession, transportation, or sale of large capacity magazines between a person licensed pursuant to Penal Code §§ 26700 to 26915 and an out-of-state client, when those activities are in accordance with the terms and conditions of that permit;
(9) Any federal, state or local historical society, museum, or institutional collection which is open to the public, provided that the large capacity magazine is properly housed secured from unauthorized handling, and unloaded;
(10) Any person who finds the large capacity magazine, if the person is not prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition pursuant to federal or state law, and the person possesses the large capacity magazine no longer than is necessary to deliver or transport the same to a law enforcement agency for that agency's disposition according to law;
(11) A forensic laboratory or any authorized agent or employee thereof in the course and scope of his or her authorized activities;
(12) Any person in the business of selling or transferring large capacity magazines in accordance with Penal Code § 12020, who is in possession of a large capacity magazine solely for the purpose of doing so; or
(13) Any person lawfully in possession of a firearm that the person obtained prior to January 1, 2000 if no magazine that holds 10 or less rounds of ammunition is compatible with that firearm and the person possesses the large capacity magazine solely for use with that firearm.
(e) Penalty. Any person violating this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(f) Severability. If any subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this Section be for any reason declared unconstitutional or invalid or ineffective by any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity or the effectiveness of the remaining portions of this Section or any part thereof. The Board of Supervisors hereby declares that it would have adopted this Section notwithstanding the unconstitutionality, invalidity, or ineffectiveness of any one or more of its subsections, sentences, clauses, phrases, or words.
(g) No Duplication of State Law. In the event that the State of California enacts legislation prohibiting possession of large capacity magazines, this Section 6181 shall have no force or effect to the extent that it duplicates any such state law.
(Added by Ord. 249-13 , File No. 130585, App. 11/8/2013, Eff. 12/8/2013)