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Old June 19, 2012, 09:14 AM   #1
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Legal Issue Related to Magazines

I got a call from a friend this morning and his question seems simple, but I freely admit I don’t know the answer.

Anyway, his brother purchased a used gun that was apparently manufactured when magazine capacities were limited to 10 rounds. However, there are 15 round magazines now available for the gun, but he was concerned that it might be illegal to use the higher capacity magazines. His brother lives in Georgia where there are no limits on magazine capacity. So, I assume his concern would be with any Federal laws that might exist.

So, can he legally use higher capacity magazines in a gun manufactured when the capacity was capped at ten?
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Old June 19, 2012, 09:20 AM   #2
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Short answer is Yes. The high-cap mag question only comes into play in those few states that still restrict them. Ga is not one of those.
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Old June 19, 2012, 09:46 AM   #3
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Doyle is correct.

When the "assault weapons ban" part of the 1994 Crime Bill sunset, it became as though that part of law never even existed on the federal level.

Some states did enact their own versions of that legislation; I don't know the entire list, but as said, GA is not one of them (there's not even all that many of them). If your friend's brother lived in one of those states he'd be limited to those ten round magazines, but that has more to do with the date of manufacture of the magazines than that of the gun itself.

If he wants to, he's more than welcome to purchase full capacity magazines for his pistol. He can keep the 10 rounders as a relic of a bygone age or for range use, or he can sell them to somebody in those unfortunate states. I don't think they'd be of much interest to people in states without capacity limits, at least not without a significant discount over what a full cap mag would run.
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Old June 19, 2012, 10:24 AM   #4
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It seems the spectre of the Assault Weapons Ban will never go away for some. As recently as April, I heard someone claiming that pre-ban mags were illegal. They were under the impression that you could own standard-capacity mags, but that they had to have been bought after 2004.

I don't know where people get this stuff. I really don't. There's no restriction on magazine capacity in Georgia, or in most southern states.

ETA: even if they say something like "restricted to law enforcement/military" or somesuch. None of that has any force of law.
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Old June 20, 2012, 09:23 PM   #5
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A standard capacity mag of 15 rnds (which became a high capacity mag with the passage of the 94 AWB), made before the signing into law of the AWB, was was totally unrestricted by the AWB.

Mags made after enactment of the AWB could only be 10 rnds (for civilian use & ownership). Mags had to have the mfg date on them. High Cap mags (like the formerly standard 15rnd) could be made, and could only be sold to govt agencies, military & police. And they were to be so marked, date, and "LE use only" (or something close to that).

And you were not committing a crime by using a "pre-ban" mag in a "post-ban" gun. The law just said you (as a private citizen) couldn't own, or use a post-ban Hi-cap magazine in any gun.

With the sunset of the AWB in 04, any legal difference between pre- and post-ban at the Federal level went away.

However, a few states passed their own versions of the AWB, some slightly different, some virtual carbon copies without the sunset provision. They are still the law, in those states. NY, NJ, MA, & CA all have some kind of AWB laws that I know of. Some other states may have mag restrictions, of some kind, I don't know about them.
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