Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989

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The Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 (AWCA) is a California, United States, law that made illegal the ownership and transfer of over fifty specific brands and models of semi-automatic firearms classified as assault weapons. While mostly rifles, some were pistols and shotguns. The law also restricted ownership and possession of magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Firearms and magazines that were legally owned at the time the law was passed were grandfathered in if they were registered with the California Department of Justice DOJ.[1][2]

California penal code categories[edit]

The Colt AR-15 Sporter SP1 Carbine is a semi-automatic rifle that is classified as an assault weapon under California law.

There are three categories of assault weapons under California law:

  • Category I are those firearms specified on the original Roberti-Roos assault weapons list. They are identified by make and model in Penal Code §30510.
  • Category II are those firearms specified in the AK and AR-15 series weapons list.[3] They are also listed in Penal Code §30510.
  • Category III are firearms defined as such based on specific generic characteristics, also referred to as "SB 23 assault weapons."[4] They are defined in Penal Code §12276.1 and §30515.[5]

The 'Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989, was augmented in 1999.[4] It has also inspired follow-on legislation such as .50 Caliber BMG Regulation Act of 2004 and further restrictions on semi-automatic firearms.[6] From the website of the California Attorney General's office:

Effective January 1, 2000, Senate Bill 23, Statutes of 1999, establishes new criteria for defining assault weapons based on generic characteristics. This bill allows and requires persons who own/possess firearms that fall under the new "assault weapon" definition to register those firearms with the Department of Justice during the one-year period between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2000. Effective January 1, 2000, this bill adds Penal Code Section 12276.1 to the Penal Code.[7]

Firearms prohibited by make and model (Category I & II)[edit]

The term assault weapon means the following designated semiautomatic firearms as defined by Penal Code section 30510:[8]
(a) The following specified rifles:

(1) All AK series including, but not limited to, the models identified as follows:
(A) Made in China AK, AKM, AKS, AK47, AK47S, AK56, AK56S, AK84S, and AK86S.
(B) Norinco 56, 56S, 84S, and 86S.
(C) Poly Technologies AKS and AK47.
(D) MAADI AK47 and ARM.
(2) IMI UZI and Galil.
(3) Beretta AR-70.
(4) CETME Sporter.
(5) Colt AR-15 series.
(6) Daewoo K-1, K-2, Max 1, Max 2, AR 100, and AR110C.
(7) Fabrique Nationale FAL, LAR, FNC, 308 Match, and Sporter.
(8) MAS 223.
(9) Heckler & Koch HK-91, HK-93, HK-94, and HK-PSG-1.
(10) The following MAC types:
(A) RPB Industries Inc, sM10 and sM11.
(B) SWD Incorporated M11.
(11) SKS with detachable magazine.
(12) SIG AMT, PE-57, SG 550, and SG 551.
(13) Springfield Armory BM59 and SAR-48.
(14) Sterling MK-6.
(15) Steyr AUG.
(16) Valmet M62S, M71S, and M78S.
(17) Armalite AR-180.
(18) Bushmaster Assault Rifle.
(19) Calico M-900.
(20) J&R ENG M-68.
(21) Weaver Arms Nighthawk.

(b) The following specified pistols:

(1) IMI UZI.
(2) Encom MP-9 and MP-45.
(3) The following MAC types:
(A) RPB Industries Inc, sM10 and sM11.
(B) SWD Incorporated M-11.
(C) Advance Armament Inc. M-11.
(D) Military Armament Corp. Ingram —11.
(4) Intratec TEC-9.
(5) Sites Spectre.
(6) Sterling MK-7.
(7) Calico M-950.
(8) Bushmaster Pistol.

(c) The following specified shotguns:

(1) Franchi SPAS 12 and LAW 12.
(2) Striker 12.
(3) The Streetsweeper type S/S Inc, SS/12. (see Striker)

Firearms prohibited by configuration (Category III)[edit]

Other firearms are banned from sale or possession by certain characteristics or configuration as determined by parts or features. If an undefined firearm is modified with any of the following characteristics, it can subsequently be classified as a banned assault weapon.[citation needed] These are as given in Penal Code section 12276.1 and 30515:[8]

(1) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:
(A) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon.
(B) A thumbhole stock.
(C) A folding or telescoping stock.
(D) A grenade launcher or flare launcher.
(E) A flash suppressor.
(F) A forward pistol grip.
(2) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
(3) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches [762 mm].
(4) A semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:
(A) A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer (suppressor).
(B) A second handgrip.
(C) A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel that allows the bearer to fire the weapon without burning his or her hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel.
(D) The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip.
(5) A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
(6) A semiautomatic shotgun that has both of the following:
(A) A folding or telescoping stock.
(B) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, thumbhole stock, or vertical handgrip.
(7) A semiautomatic shotgun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine.
(8) Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder.

The amended legislation included the following:

(A) "Assault weapon" does not include any antique firearm.
(B) The following definitions shall apply under this section:
  1. "Magazine" shall mean any ammunition feeding device.
  2. "Capacity to accept more than 10 rounds" shall mean capable of accommodating more than 10 rounds, but shall not be construed to include a feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds.
  3. "Antique firearm" means any firearm manufactured prior to January 1, 1899.

Related court cases[edit]

Kasler v. Lockyer[edit]

The California Supreme Court handed down its decision in Kasler v. Lockyer in August 2000. The original suit, in the mid-1990s, challenged the constitutionality of California’s 1989 Roberti-Roos assault weapons ban. The Court found in favor of the defendants, Attorney General Bill Lockyer and the State of California; one resulting aspect of this decision was that the AWCA ’89 "series" terminology used for AR and AK type weapons applied to all similar weapons, regardless of nomenclature (manufacturer, model number, version, variant, etc.).[9][3]

Harrott v. Kings County[edit]

In June 2001, the California Supreme Court handed down its decision in Harrott v. County of Kings (25 P.3d 649 (Cal. 2001) that contravened portions of the Kasler decision. This determined the following:

a) Determination of "series" inclusion (series member) is difficult enough that owners and law enforcement should merely have to consult a list of specific makes and models (in California Code of Regulation) to know if their gun is a prohibited firearm.

b) Trial courts cannot determine if a given firearm/receiver is of the AR or AK "series". Prohibited weapons in AR/AK "series" must be specifically identified by make and model and the Department of Justice (DOJ) must promulgate this list.

c) DOJ has authority to 'identify' and promulgate new members of the AR & AK "series" itself. This authority is limited to AR and AK series firearms/receivers.

d) DOJ cannot prohibit other firearms outside the AR/AK series and must begin an "add-on" procedure filed in certain superior courts, as specified in Penal Code 30520. The DOJ can first seek a temporary declaration that given firearms are assault weapon before categorizing it permanently.

e) DOJ determinations of AR/AK "series" membership are subject to challenge and verification.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Assault Weapons Identification Guide", California Department of Justice. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  2. ^ "Firearms Laws – 2007", California Department of Justice. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Kasler v. Lockyer Assault Weapons List", California Department of Justice, October 2, 2000. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Perata. "Addition to Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 – Enactment of Generic Assault Weapon Ban/Registration Requirements and Ban on Manufacture, Sale or Transfer of "Large-Capacity" Magazines". Senate Committee on Public Safety, Senator John Vasconcellos, Chair 1999-2000 Regular Session. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "What is considered an assault weapon under California law?". oag.ca.gov. California DOJ. 2014. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
  6. ^ Rosenberg, Jeremy. "Behind California's Ban on Assault Weapons". KCET. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  7. ^ Staff. "Senate Bill 23 Assault Weapon Characteristics". California Attorney General. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "Penal Code Section 30500-30530". leginfo.ca.gov. Legislative Counsel of California. 2014. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
  9. ^ Staff. "97 Cal.Rptr.2d 334 (2000) 23 Cal.4th 472 2 P.3d 581 Peter Alan KASLER et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. Bill LOCKYER, as Attorney General, etc., et al., Defendants and Respondents. No. S069522". Supreme Court of California. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 

External links[edit]

Article 1. §30500-30530  General Provisions
Article 2. §30600-30675  Unlawful Acts Relating to Assault Weapons and .50 BMG Rifles
Article 3. §30710-30735  SKS Rifles
Article 4. §30800  Assault Weapon or .50 BMG Rifle Constituting Nuisance
Article 5. §30900-30965  Registration of Assault Weapons and .50 BMG Rifles and Related Rules
Article 6. §31000-31005  Permits for Assault Weapons and .50 BMG Rifles
Article 7. §31050-31055  Licensed Gun Dealers
Article 8. §31100-31115  Miscellaneous Provisions