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Sks Rifles: California Law

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If you own an SKS style rifle, you need to be aware of an important change in its legal status in California!

In November of 1997 former Attorney General Dan Lungren, in a reversal of the position his office had held since 1991, decided that any SKS type rifle with a detachable magazine was illegal per penal code 12276 (Assault Weapons Control Act). Additionally, the AG decided that registration of such rifles would not be accepted by his office. As a result, thousands of SKS owners were put at risk of arrest.

In order to protect SKS owners and rectify wrongful prosecutions, the National Rifle Association asked Assemblyman Rod Wright (D-South Central LA) to author emergency corrective legislation. On September 27, 1998, Governor Wilson signed this legislation, AB 48, into law. The new law, which took effect on January 1, 1999, specifically deals with the model known as the "SKS Sporter."

For purposes of implementing the "buy-back" provision in the law, the California Department of Justice defines the SKS Sporter as:

"A semi-automatic rifle 'configured' to accept a detachable magazine which is capable of firing a 7.62 x 39 mm cartridge* and is not otherwise prohibited under the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Act - Such rifles must have been acquired between the dates of January 1, 1992 and December 19, 1997. Stock design/composition or the variety of the SKS markings that may exist would not affect its acceptance under AB 48's buy-back provisions.

*Ruger Mini-30, Colt Sporter, and AK style rifles do not qualify under the buy-back provision in AB 48"

Keep in mind that the DOJ's definition of the SKS Sporter is much broader than it is in the law, so depending on which model you own, you have several different alternatives to choose from in order to comply with the law. Please check below to identify which type of SKS you have and what options are available to you:

Rifles originally designed to use a 10-round fixed magazine. The vast majority of SKS type rifles sold in California are designed to use a fixed magazine of ten round capacity. These firearms require the removal of the trigger assembly before the fixed magazine can be removed and replaced with a detachable magazine. The two principal models are the 1950's era Russian production, the true SKS rifle, and the Chinese version, which is technically the type 56 but is also known as the SKS. In their original configurations with the fixed magazine, neither the Soviet SKS nor the Chinese type 56 is an "assault weapon" per penal code 12276. If, however, you have removed the original "fixed" magazine and replaced it with a detachable aftermarket magazine, it is illegal according to the new Lungren interpretation.

If you own one of the above models, all you need to do to comply with the law is remove the aftermarket detachable magazine and reinstall the original 10-round fixed magazine. You may also surrender your firearm to a law enforcement agency (see details below).



SKS Sporters


Between 1992 and late 1997, Chinese type rifles originally manufactured to accept detachable AK-47 style magazines were sold in California. These rifles do not have a bayonet and lack any apparatus on the barrel to mount a bayonet. There were two basic stock designs - a standard Sporter style with a small pistol grip and a thumbhole style. The barrel or receiver may be marked 'SKS Sporter.' Due to the new ruling, these firearms are now considered "assault weapons" under the AWCA.

If you purchased an SKS Sporter between January 1, 1992, and December 19, 1997, you must do one of the following by January 1, 2000:

-->Destroy the rifle

-->Surrender the rifle to a law enforcement agency

-->Sell the rifle to a licensed California "assault weapon" dealer

-->Dispose of the rifle out of state

If you choose to surrender the rifle to a law enforcement agency, you will be reimbursed by the Department of Justice. The amount of your reimbursement will be your actual cost if you provide a receipt, or $230.00 if you do not have a receipt. You will be required to attest to the date upon which you purchased the firearm. When surrendering the rifle,you need not relinquish any related accessories i.e. sling, cleaning equipment, case, magazine, scope, etc.

If you choose this option, make prior arrangements with your local law enforcement agency and be sure the rifle is unloaded and transported as required by state law. If you decide to sell the rifle to an out-of-state dealer or to a licensed California "assault weapon" dealer, contact NRA's Grassroots Division at 1-800-392-8683 for applicable federal laws or names of licensed California "assault weapon" dealers.

A beneficial provision in the new law, which offers immunity to those who act on one the options listed above by the January 2000 deadline, has helped to prevent hundreds of law-abiding gun owners from being charged as felons.

Another provision allows persons who have already been convicted for conduct relating to an SKS rifle purchased between January 1, 1992 and December 17, 1997, to withdraw their guilty plea or to reopen their case and assert the immunities provided by the law. If you purchased an SKS rifle during that time period, and have been wrongfully arrested, charged, or convicted please contact NRA's Sacramento office at (916) 446-2455.

This information is courtesy of : NRA Members' Councils of California Thank You!

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Boy..Does California suck big time..No wonder people and businesses are moving out in groves...California is in big sh*t for sure..Beautiful state..Lousy people...So much for the constitution..

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