Late this morning (like, midnight ish) three men participated in an armed home invasion in California. One of the men was using an AR-15 pistol equipped with a pistol arm brace. The men were caught and arrested, but instead of simply being charged with the usual weapons related felonies the California police decided to tack on the charge of “possession of a short barreled rifle.” This is a state statute and not a Federal one being charged, but it still doesn’t bode well for others . . .
From a local source:
According to Turlock police spokesperson Officer Mayra Lewis, three suspects, one armed with an AR-15, entered the home and forcefully took several items from a resident.
Justin Singh and Adari allegedly took the victim’s purse and other personal items while Austin Singh waited by the door with the AR-15, said Lewis. The suspects then fled in a white SUV.
Authorities located the assault rifle, with the laser sight on, in the vehicle, according to Ceres SWAT. A large quantity of marijuana was also located.
Justin and Austin Singh were both arrested for robbery, possession of an assault weapon, possession of a short-barrelled rifle, and possession of marijuana with intent to sell. Justin Singh was also arrested for violation of his probation for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Adari was arrested for robbery and possession of an assault weapon.
So, before we get ahead of ourselves, the California statute is MUCH more broad in its definition of a “short barreled rifle” than the Federal law that the ATF just recently clarified:
As used in Sections 16530 and 16640, Sections 17720 to 17730, inclusive, Section 17740, Article 1 (commencing with Section 27500) of Chapter 4 of Division 6 of Title 4, and Article 1 (commencing with Section 33210) of Chapter 8 of Division 10 of Title 4, “short-barreled rifle” means any of the following:
(a) A rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length.
(b) A rifle with an overall length of less than 26 inches.
(c) Any weapon made from a rifle (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if that weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length.
(d) Any device that may be readily restored to fire a fixed cartridge which, when so restored, is a device defined in subdivisions (a) to (c), inclusive.
(e) Any part, or combination of parts, designed and intended to convert a device into a device defined in subdivisions (a) to (c), inclusive, or any combination of parts from which a device defined in subdivisions (a) to (c), inclusive, may be readily assembled if those parts are in the possession or under the control of the same person.
While the statute is more broad than the Federal version, it still takes some wiggling to fit the arm brace equipped AR-15 into one of these categories. In fact, the felons in question have a pretty good chance that the judge can and will throw out the charge, like they did when the ATF tried to make their claim that a vertical foregrip constituted an AOW and the court threw out the charge (U.S. v. Davis, Crim No. 8:93-106 (D.S.C. 1993) ).
We will keep an eye on the situation, stay tuned.