For a very tiny window of time in recent history, larger-capacity magazines were perfectly legal in California. It wasn’t long, unfortunately, but it was there. While I expect that time to come again, until it does, it was a beautiful time for Californians who could take advantage of the situation.
However, with a window that tiny, it seemed inevitable that someone would either screw up just slightly–ordering it a day or even an hour too late–or else someone would get prosecuted for a lawful purchase.
Well, it seems someone did. Luckily, justice prevailed.
A South Valley judge has declared a man factually innocent of illegally buying a high capacity ammunition magazine.
The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office filed a felony charge against 27-year-old Pheng Yang in March after sheriff’s deputies found a 15-round magazine in his bedroom.
But Yang’s attorney claimed that Yang bought the magazine legally during a period of time in 2019 that has come to be known as Freedom Week.
At that time, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that California’s high-capacity magazine ban was unconstitutional and shouldn’t be enforced.
A buying spree ensued across the state, until the judge decided the ban should continue to be enforced while the case was taken to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
The Freedom Week argument worked for Yang, because in June, a Tulare County judge dismissed the case against him.
This prosecution shouldn’t have happened, of course, but it did. Luckily, Yang is free to go about his life rather than facing a felony conviction, but I can’t help but wonder what happens in a couple of years if someone else has been found with a larger-capacity magazine.
In a perfect world, it won’t matter because the ban was fully overturned and the Supreme Court ruled the law was unconstitutional, thus ending this stupidity once and for all.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in this one.
As things stand, it’s still illegal to buy such a magazine in California. Those who bought one or more may well find themselves having to justify their ownership in a court of law.
This does remind us to be careful when jumping on opportunities like Freedom Week. I’m not saying don’t take advantage of it. Not by a longshot. I’m simply saying that it might be a good idea to step up your recordkeeping efforts. Hold onto credit card receipts, emails from when you ordered the magazines, shipping invoices, any piece of documentation you can think of to prove when those magazines were ordered.
After all, it’s clear that the police in an anti-gun state like California aren’t going to believe you, so make the prosecution’s case as impossible as you can.
Meanwhile, those law-abiding people are stuck with the relatively few magazines they could buy during that time period while criminals are buying them left and right without any regard to the law whatsoever. Funny how that shakes out, but such is life.
But all this can go away. All we need to do is overturn a very bad law and put an end to this kind of thing even being remotely possible.