NOTE: On Nov 4th, 2023 The P365 was added to the California roster which makes the specifics in this article about that firearm no longer accurate though the general information about California's list is still valid.
Out of control, lunatic lawmakers are making the decisions to ditch California's beautiful beaches and idyllic weather for states that value freedom and safety much easier. Unfortunately, it doesn't get much worse than California, at least when it comes to states hostile toward gun owners.
There isn't any doubt that if gun-grabbing politicians had their way, the uber-restrictive gun laws in California would not only be the law of the land for all Americans but would be even more restrictive.
The California Gun List —
If you don't live in California, you may not even be aware of one of the most destructive anti-gun laws (and it's a long list) that's hurting gun owners in the state. And, it started back on January 1, 2001.
The law in question states:
no handgun may be manufactured within California, imported into California for sale, lent, given, kept for sale, or offered/exposed for sale unless that handgun model has passed firing, safety, and drop tests and is certified for sale in California by the Department of Justice
Lawmakers promoted the legislation, not as the gun-control power grab it was. Instead, as essential to providing, you guessed it…public safety.
How Does A Gun Make it on The List —
Okay, so why can't you buy a Sig Sauer P365 in California? The simple answer is because it isn't on the approved list. So the next logical question is, how does a gun get added to the list?
First, the manufacturer submits three unmodified handguns to an independent testing laboratory, certified by the California Attorney General. Then, the lab begins testing by firing 600-rounds through each gun.
Testing is paused for 5-10 minutes to let the gun “cool down” each time 50 rounds get fired. Additional testing involves checking for loose screws and quickly cleaning each time the gun fires 100 rounds.
To pass, all three models submitted to the laboratory need to make it through the first 20-rounds of ammunition without a malfunction caused by ammo.
All three submissions must also have no more than six malfunctions during the 600 test rounds, not due to ammunition.
After the 600 rounds, the gun must be free of cracks or breakages to operating parts of the handgun that increase the user's risk of injury.
If the three guns make it this far, it goes through a series of drop safety tests to ensure the gun doesn't fire if dropped. The test involves a series of six trials, each with a primed case and no powder or projectile in the chamber. During the trials, the primer must not ‘fire' to pass.
Hooray, the gun is safe and can be added to the approved list, right?
Not so fast!
Pay Your Tax —
It isn't enough that the guns passed the rigorous safety trials. For each model the company wants added to the approved roster, they must pay an “annual maintenance fee” of $200.
The company must send three samples for testing and pay the $200 fee for each gun variation each and every year. This requirement applies even to entirely cosmetic differences, like a different slide or frame color.
And the fun doesn't stop there.
Some Guns “Just Aren't Safe”–
Some guns would most assuredly pass all the safety tests with flying colors. But they aren't “safe” under California law.
For example, any gun with a capacity of over 10 rounds cannot make it on the list.
In addition, any center-fired handgun manufactured after January 1, 2006, must have a loaded chamber indicator or a magazine disconnect mechanism. Also, any rimfire handgun manufactured after January 1, 2006, must have a magazine disconnect mechanism if it has a detachable magazine.
And lastly, any center-fired handgun manufactured after January 1, 2007, must have a loaded chamber indicator and a magazine disconnect mechanism if the handgun has a detachable magazine.
For those not familiar with what a magazine disconnect is, here is the scoop. A magazine disconnect disables the gun from firing unless a magazine is seated.
Apparently, this is a safety feature designed to reduce the chance of a negligent discharge. The idea is that if someone removes the magazine and doesn't realize there is still a live round in the chamber, they wouldn't be able to fire the gun.
Typically, folks make this error when they go to clean the gun.
However, in my estimation, the function is entirely unnecessary and potentially harmful. The safety rules are sufficient for safe gun handling and demand the person handling the gun to know the gun's condition. Gun owners should understand that a gun is only as “safe” as the person holding it.
In addition, a magazine disconnect could disable your handgun during a violent encounter.
For example, imagine a close-quarters fight where you or the attacker engages the magazine release. Even with a round in the chamber, your gun won't fire. Sure immediate action can get the gun up and running, but let's go one step further.
Consider what happens if the magazine is stripped entirely from the gun. Without the ability to fire the round in the chamber, your gun is essentially an impact weapon.
But the unreasonableness doesn't even stop there!
Microstamping Insanity —
California law requires manufacturers to make new semi-auto handguns with “microstamping” technology. Microstamping is the method of producing each gun to stamp the shell casing with a unique I.D. microscopically.
The hope is that this feature would help investigators identify suspects based on casings found at crime scenes. But, of course, this would only be helpful if all guns had the microstamping ability. Additionally, national, universal gun registration is also required. And it all is useless, considering altering the gun to hide the micro stamp is quite simple.
How does microstamping affect the guns added to California's approved list? Well, in addition to microstamping technology being pointless, it is costly for manufacturers. At this point, the cost of producing a micro stamp compliant gun is not worth it, mainly because older models without the technology are still allowed on the list.
For example, generation 4 and 5 Glocks are not on the list. But as of today, someone can purchase a gen 3 Glock. Glock can make more money selling only gen 3 Glocks in California than they can by retooling to produce a California compliant Glock with microstamping ability.
Similarly, Sig Sauer's fantastic P365 won't be on the shelves in California because of the requirements for new semi-automatic handguns. But even with the demand, it doesn't make sense financially for Sig to produce a California compliant model.
At least not yet.
They Aren't Finished —
The totalitarian overlords in California won't stop as long as citizens in California can own any guns whatsoever. So legislators are continually working to propose legislation that would remove models of guns that don't meet the most current requirements but are allowed because they were grandfathered in.
If this legislation were to pass, the number of guns available for the average Californian to legally possess would be almost zero.
Government Exemptions of Course —
Of course, law enforcement and other entities would always have a carve-out in the law to allow their possession of “off roster” guns. For example, take a look at the 28 governmental agencies exempted from the over-restrictive gun list.
Suppose you're a gun owner or value freedom, and a hasty departure from California isn't possible. In that case, I recommend that you get involved with local organizations whose focus is protecting the individual's Second Amendment rights.
Owning an “off-roster” gun —
Some of the most popular handguns for concealed carry, such as the Sig Sauer P365, aren't on the list. The odds are remote, but you may be able to find a Californian who owns one. Things that are rare fetch higher prices, and people are not usually willing to part with them.
If you find someone willing to conduct a private party sale and pay the premium, a person with a Federal Firearms License (FFL) can complete the transfer. You will still need to wait 10 days, complete California DOJ paperwork, and pay an additional fee to the government, But you could be the proud owner of your very own used Sig P365.
Sounds fun right?
Invaluable Legal Resource —
Gun laws in California are bad, but it isn't the only state with whacky rules prohibitions of gun owners. If you travel and carry a gun, I hope you consider our smartphone app. We spent a lot of time creating the best legal resource that you can use to determine any state’s firearm laws, and much, much more. Our App called Concealed Carry Gun Tools is completely free and provides legal information for every state and DC.