Everyone living in the free states; you can skip this if you like.
For those living in California I found answers to my own curiosity on this issue.
After reading on this Forum in this thread as well as other forums I really want to find an Official answer to the question of how to get permitted to possess more than 1 pound of Black Powder for hobbyist/recreational use.
To recap; in California you can possess and store up to 20 pounds of any smokeless powder without a permit. But you can only possess a single
pound of REAL Black Powder without a permit.
This applies to a Hobbyist who is not selling, gifting, loaning or making this powder for or to others.
The California Code is: HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE SECTION 12101-12112
My goal was to examine the phrase "without a permit" and to find out how a hobbyist went about getting a permit to have more than 1 pound of
It only took about a week to cut through all the different government agencies and get the person who had the answers. In their defense, I
didn't know who to start with so I tried to use logic and failed. I assumed incorrectly this was a Fire Marshal issue. Instead I found out
eventually is was County Sheriff Hazardous Device Section issue. (The Bomb Squad).
As it turns out, it costs $252.00 a year for a permit to have up to 100lbs of Black Powder for Hobbyist non-commercial use. (Over 100lbs is
$260.00). Also, you must submit to a "magazine inspection" and incur a cost of an additional $372.00 for each inspection site. It didn't say how
often inspections were required.
I was provided with all the information and forms I needed to get permitted to have more than 1 pound of black powder. I got my answer.
Now, in speaking with the Deputy (whose name I finally got but will keep it to myself out of respect) I had a wonderfully pleasant conversation
about the shooting hobby, Cowboy Action shooting, Civil War reenacting, handloading, and so on.
He asked me if I REALLY wanted to get permitted. I told him I was just trying to find out what my obligation under the law is so I don't go to
jail over a hobby activity. He understood and then asked me, "Do you drive the speed limit?" We both chuckled, I plead the 5th and he belly
laughed. He said there was no way a person going about their hobby would be in trouble for, let's say 3 or 4 cans of partially filled Black
Powder cans either at the range or on his loading bench shelves.
He said if there were ever a need for authorities to enter my home (fire, burglery, medical emergency, etc.) If they see an obvious reloading
bench or box or cabinet of loading supplies including a few cans of Black Powder, it is obvious what they are for. However, If I had 3 or 4 cans
of BP and a few lengths of sched 40 waterpipe and drilled out endcaps... it's not so obvious we have a hobby use here.
Everyone speeds, the authorities know it and accept it as long as it's relatively safe. You get the guy speeding in and around traffic then you
have authorities involved.
I was very surprised to get such an honest, common sense conversation with a very pleasant official at the end of this quest for information.
This guy is an active member of the County Bomb Squad. He even made a joke about he didn't think I was going to blow up the next marathon!!!
That's a cool personality if you ask me one day after Boston.
I told him I just wanted to be legal and responsible, he said he understood and advised me to just have fun and be safe.
I thanked him for his time, his information, his conversation and his service on the Bomb Squad.
Edit to add:
I also asked him if loaded Black Powder Cartridges counted against that 1 pound limit.
He paused, I heard typing and he said nope. Only containers of BP.