Bump stocks have essentially been illegal in California since 1990. Any person who possesses, manufactures, imports into California, offers a bump stock for sale or gives or lends one, is committing a crime in the state. But in September of 2018, the language of the existing law around bump stocks was expanded to specifically include “multiburst trigger activators,” “bump stocks” and “burst triggers” as illegal.
As of March 26, 2019, there will also be a federal regulatory ban on bump stocks and similar devices, making it a federal crime to possess one. Owners of the devices will need to turn the devices into a nearby office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) or otherwise destroy the device. The regulation identifies possible methods of destruction which must make the device incapable of being readily restored to function including melting, shredding, cutting, or crushing the device. The ATF provides instructions and detailed diagrams for destroying a bump stocks and similar devices at the ATF website: https://www.atf.gov/rules-and-regulations/bump-stocks/how-to-destroy.
The newest law signed by Governor Brown in September, Senate Bill 1346, amended the older California ban on attachable devices that allow a firearm to shoot two or more shots in a burst to now include “multiburst trigger activators” such as:
1) A device that uses a spring, piston, or similar mechanism to push back against the recoil of a firearm, thereby moving the firearm in a back-and-forth motion and facilitating the rapid reset and activation of the trigger by a stationary finger. These devices are commonly known as bump stocks, bump fire stocks, or bump fire stock attachments.
(2) A device placed within the trigger guard of a firearm that uses a spring to push back against the recoil of the firearm causing the finger in the trigger guard to move back and forth and rapidly activate the trigger. These devices are commonly known as burst triggers.
(3) A mechanical device that activates the trigger of the firearm in rapid succession by turning a crank. These devices are commonly known as trigger cranks, gat cranks, gat triggers, or trigger actuators.
(4) Any aftermarket trigger or trigger system that, if installed, allows more than one round to be fired with a single depression of the trigger.
Penalties for Bump Stock Possession
In California a bump stock violation is a wobbler offense, meaning it can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances and criminal history of the offender.
A misdemeanor possession of a bump stock is punishable by up to one year in county jail. If convicted of a felony bump stock charge it can mean a sentence of 18 months to three years in prison.
Five other bills going into effect will impact gun owners:
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