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High-Capacity AR-15 Magazine Restriction Guide

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You may have heard at one time or another about restrictions on high capacity AR-15 magazines. Or high capacity magazine ban, for short. While the high capacity magazine ban pertains to all high-capacity ammunition feeding devices, this article is going to be more focused on restrictions around AR-15 magazines. You may have heard of the high capacity magazine, but outside of hearing of it, do you know what it actually entails and why there is one in the first place?

States with High-Capacity Magazine Restrictions

To begin with, free America (states that don’t have mag bans) is the overwhelming majority at 42 states. States with hi capacity mag bans include;

  • California (no surprise there)
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii (handguns only)
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • And New York

Oddly enough, counties and cities within already restricted states passed their own laws restricting AR-15 magazine size. Los Angeles County passed its own 10-round limit for no apparent reason as the entire state of California already had such a ban. The cities of San Francisco, Ca; Sunnyvale, Ca; Albany, NY; Buffalo, NY; Rochester, NY; and New York, NY ( 5-round limit) all have their own bans as well. They seem to correlate to politicians up for re-election. Seeing as the laws are already in place it is easy legislation to pass and makes them look tough on crime.

High-Capacity Magazine "Reasonings"

So why all the hubbub about the AR-15 magazine capacity? Well, for that, you have William B. Ruger to thank. Yes that Ruger, founder of Sturm, Ruger and Co.. At the time congress was pushing for a federal ban on very loosely defined assault weapons. Ruger thought that if he could convince congress to ban magazines instead of firearms themselves that a lesser of two evils could be achieved. So in March of 1989 he sent a letter containing the following passage to every member of congress:

The best way to address the firepower concern is therefore not to try to outlaw or license many millions of older and perfectly legitimate firearms… but to prohibit the possession of high capacity magazines. By a simple, complete and unequivocal ban on large capacity magazines, all the difficulty in defining ‘assault rifle’ and ‘semi-automatic rifles’ is eliminated. The large capacity magazine itself, separate or attached to the firearm, becomes the prohibited item. A single amendment to Federal firearms laws could effectively implement these objectives.”

~William B. Ruger


The good news is that most of the states that placed bans on AR-15 magazine size did not make their legislation retroactive. Meaning that you are grandfathered in if you already had high capacity AR-15 magazines. But trying to get magazines sent to your state could land you in court with a few fines.

Thankfully, magazine size doesn’t impact a weapons performance or the user’s ability to change the mag. With a bit of practice, the difference between a 10-rounder and a 30-rounder is a few seconds.

What’s more important is that none of the bans hold you back from building an AR-15 now. So get your AR-15 parts together and order up a dozen AR-15 magazines that comply with your local laws and get your 2nd Amendment on.

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