An interesting legal theory.
Academy sporting goods chain sued by couple wounded in Sutherland Springs church shooting
On Friday, Rosanne Solis and Joaquin Ramirez sued Academy Sports + Outdoors for selling Devin Patrick Kelley a Ruger AR-556 with 30 round capacity magazines. While this model is legal in Texas, Kelley was a resident of Colorado, where it’s illegal to sell, possess or manufacture magazines with capacities over 15 rounds.
Emily Taylor, a gun law expert in San Antonio, said she believes Solis and Ramirez have a case. Federal law prohibits licensed gun dealers from selling to residents of other states unless the buyer meets them in person and the sale “fully” complies “with the legal conditions of sale in both such States.”
IANAL, yada yada…
Not quite, Taylor. Federal law prohibits licensed gun dealers from selling firearms to residents of other states, with exceptions.
18 U.S. Code § 922(b) It shall be unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to sell or deliver—
3) any firearm to any person who the licensee knows or has reasonable cause to believe does not reside in (or if the person is a corporation or other business entity, does not maintain a place of business in) the State in which the licensee’s place of business is located, except that this paragraph (A) shall not apply to the sale or delivery of any rifle or shotgun to a resident of a State other than a State in which the licensee’s place of business is located if the transferee meets in person with the transferor to accomplish the transfer, and the sale, delivery, and receipt fully comply with the legal conditions of sale in both such States (and any licensed manufacturer, importer or dealer shall be presumed, for purposes of this subparagraph, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, to have had actual knowledge of the State laws and published ordinances of both States), and (B) shall not apply to the loan or rental of a firearm to any person for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes;
And “firearm”? “Rifle”?
26 U.S. Code § 5845Firearm
The term “firearm” means (1) a shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length; (2) a weapon made from a shotgun if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length; (3) a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length; (4) a weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length; (5) any other weapon, as defined in subsection (e); (6) a machinegun; (7) any silencer (as defined in section 921 of title 18, United States Code); and (8) a destructive device. The term “firearm” shall not include an antique firearm or any device (other than a machinegun or destructive device) which, although designed as a weapon, the Secretary finds by reason of the date of its manufacture, value, design, and other characteristics is primarily a collector’s item and is not likely to be used as a weapon.
No mention of magazines in federal law there.
The term “rifle” means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger, and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire a fixed cartridge.
As best I understand the laws, federal restrictions are not on magazines; just firearms. Dealers in other states aren’t responsible for complying with Colorado laws on non-firearms. For this case to fly, Solis and Ramirez will have to convince the jury that a magazine is a rifle component that — just as a drop-in auto sear is a “machinegun” — constitutes a firearm in its own right.
If I were on the jury, they would have to come up with a remarkably persuasive argument to convince me of that. Personally, I think the DIAS=machinegun bit is ridiculous, but at least it’s codified in law. Magazine=firearm is not.
But gun controllers would love it, as such a ruling would make magazines into firearms, subject to all the licensing for manufacture and sale, and background checks by FFLs.
Serial numbers. Bound book entries. Inspections.
And, if magazines are guns, what of the existing millions of unserialized commercially sold magazines?
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