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10 Round Mags

  Legal Ruling on Questar's
LAR-15 .223/5.56 Pistol Magazines...

E-mail Received Monday March 12, 2007 from  xxxx  xxxxx - (copied DFAIT & CFC by xxx xxxxx)

Good day Mark:

Attached you will find a document sent by this office to DEFAIT Canada & the Firearms Registry with respect to the LAR-15 PISTOL Magazine issue.  The finding is in favour of your product.

x.x. xxxxxxx (xxxx) xxxxx
Section Head
Firearms Reference Table Section
Senior Firearms Technologist
Firearms Support Services Branch
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
P.O. Box 8885,
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1G 3M8
xxx-xxx-xxxx

 Good afternoon everyone:

 Attached you will find an MS or Microsoft WORD document which will be of interest.

 This document is the final chapter in the saga of a cartridge magazine specific to the Rock River Arms LAR-15 Pistol, which is a 'handgun, commonly available in Canada', which may have a capacity of (not more than) ten shots.

 1.   The Rock River Arms, LAR-15 Pistol qualifies as a "handgun, commonly available in Canada".

 2.   The cartridge magazine for this handgun as manufactured by C Products LLC has been deemed to be acceptable as a "handgun magazine" as it meets the following criterion:

a)  It is designed and manufactured for use in a handgun commonly available in Canada and has a capacity of not more than ten cartridges of the kind or type for which the magazine was designed.

b)  The cartridge magazine for this handgun as manufactured by C Products LLC is not an adaption of a magazine designed and manufactured for use in a semi-automatic rifle.

 3.   The design that has been found acceptable as a handgun magazine is held by the RCMP, Firearms Support Services, Firearms Reference Table Section as a "pattern".  This particular design and NO other design is approved for use as a "handgun magazine for a handgun commonly available in Canada".

 4.   As an assist to identification, the cartridge magazines which have been deemed acceptable as a "a magazine for use in a handgun commonly available in Canada", bear the following identification markings on the body or magazine case, applied at the time of manufacture by the manufacturer:

 RRA MODEL LAR-15 PISTOL MAGAZINE
223 REM/5.56 MM NATO - 10 ROUND CAPACITY

NOTE:  -  No other ten shot capacity magazines are deemed acceptable as "a magazine for use in a handgun commonly available in Canada" as of 2007-03-12.

 

What does all of this mean? 
There are many people who mistakenly believe rifles are limited to 5 rounds and
handguns are limited to 10 rounds... but that is NOT CORRECT.

The reality is the legislation specifies how to determine the capacity of a magazine... it does this by classifying the magazine itself for type and capacity based on what that magazine was "designed and manufactured" for.  The legislation makes no reference to what firearm the magazine is subsequently used in once it has been classified and its' legal capacity determined.  
The classification of, and the legal capacity of a magazine does not change simply because it is placed in or used in a handgun,
a semi-auto rifle, a pump rifle, a bolt action rifle, etc..

The applicable legislation can be found at:  http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/showdoc/cr/SOR-98-462///en?page=1 

Select " Section 7" to view the legislation that came into force on December 1, 1998.  See specifically Part 4 Prohibited Devices, about 4/5ths of the way down the page... Read the wording carefully... it doesn't actually say that a handgun may have a 10 round magazine... what it actually does is tell you what magazines are classified as handgun magazines, what handgun magazines may not exceed 5 round capacity (yes there are some that are limited to 5), and what handgun magazines are "Prohibited Devices" because they do exceed a certain capacity.

Think of it like this... you start off from a position that all magazines are "legal" and have unlimited capacity... then the legislation puts capacity limits on certain magazines and in specified instances classifies some as Prohibited Devices, depending on whether they get caught up in the various regulations that have been passed into law.  So... reading the legislation you see it states that:

A Prohibited Device is... Any Cartridge Magazine...
(b) that is capable of containing more than 10 cartridges of the type for which the magazine was originally designed and that is designed or manufactured for use in a semi-automatic handgun that is commonly available in Canada.

In other words (generally) a magazine designed and manufactured for use in a semi-auto handgun commonly available in Canada can have a capacity of 10 or fewer rounds and is perfectly legal, but if it has more than 10 rounds it is a Prohibited Device.

Notice that I said "generally"... and indicated that some handgun magazines can only contain 5 rounds maximum... this comes from Paragraph 3(1) which states that a Prohibited Device is Any Cartridge Magazine...

 a) that is capable of containing more than five cartridges of the type for which the magazine was originally designed and that is designed or manufactured for use in

(i) a semi-automatic handgun that is not commonly available in Canada,
(ii) a semi-automatic firearm other than a semi-automatic handgun,
(iii) an automatic firearm whether or not it has been altered to discharge only one projectile with one pressure of the trigger,
(iv) the firearms of the designs commonly known as the Ingram M10 and M11 pistols, and any variants or modified versions of them, including the Cobray M10 and M11 pistols, the RPB M10, M11 and SM11 pistols and the SWD M10, M11, SM10 and SM11 pistols,
(v) the firearm of the design commonly known as the Partisan Avenger Auto Pistol, and any variant or modified version of it, or
(vi) the firearm of the design commonly known as the UZI pistol, and any variant or modified version of it, including the Micro-UZI pistol;

Again, notice it doesn't say that they can contain 5 rounds, but rather that if these types of magazines contain more than 5 they are classified as being a Prohibited Device.

Now go back and re-read the RCMP's decision on our LAR-15 Pistol Magazines... it is very specifically worded because it needs to articulate how these magazines meet the specific requirements of the legislation.

First requirement is that the handgun the magazines are made for must be "commonly available in Canada" otherwise we would be limited to 5 round maximum capacity no matter what... the RCMP letter acknowledges that the LAR-15 Pistol is a handgun commonly available in Canada so we meet the first legal requirement.

Next, the RCMP acknowledged that Questar's LAR-15 Pistol Magazine (as submitted for classification) did indeed meet the other requirement of the legislation, which states the magazine must be "... designed or manufactured for use in a semi-automatic handgun..." .

Having determined that these are in fact designed and manufactured as "Pistol Magazines" and that the handgun they were made for was "commonly available in Canada" the magazines met the legal requirements and were classified by the RCMP as "Pistol Magazines" legal for use in the LAR-15 Pistol at a capacity of 10 rounds. 

Since Canadian law does not re-classify a magazine (or change its' legal capacity) from it's original classification simply because you put it into a firearm other than the gun it was originally manufactured to be used in, you are free to use the magazine in any firearm that you wish at the stated legal capacity.  That's the law.

This is the same for the Glock pistol magazines being used in an Olympic Arms AR rifle (10 round capacity), or the Beretta "pistol magazine" being used in a CX Storm at 10 round capacity, even though the nearly exact same magazine with CX Storm stamped on it can only have a 5 round capacity no matter what firearm you put it in.  One is classified as a "Pistol Magazines" having a legal capacity of 10 rounds while the other is classified as a "Rifle Magazine" having a legal capacity of 5 rounds... nearly identical magazines but with two different classifications and two different legal capacities... neither of which are based on what gun they are used in, but rather what gun they were designed and manufactured for. 

Previously posted on CFC's Website and as stated officially by RCMP: "The classification of a firearm magazine depends on the type of firearm the magazine was designed to be used in, not the type of firearm it is actually used in."

There are many other examples of magazine cross-over where 10 round magazines are legally useable in rifles as long as the magazine was classified as a "Pistol Magazine" and legal for 10 round capacity in the first place.

People who look to the legislation hoping to see where it clearly says:  "the following 10 round magazine can be used in the following rifle" are going to be disappointed because that's not what the legislation does... instead, it tells you what isn't allowed.  You won't find a statement in the legislation stating that pump action or bolt action rifles may have unlimited capacity magazines but in fact that is legally the case.  If the bolt or pump action rifle has a magazine that was designed and manufactured specifically for it (not for a handgun, or a semi-auto rifle, or one of the specifically named firearms), then that magazine would legally have an unlimited capacity because under the legislation there is nothing that sets a capacity limit on the magazine and nothing that defines the magazine as a Prohibited Device.

You will find that the legislation does specifically make a few "exclusions" for certain firearms... only because they would otherwise be caught up in the regulations and thereby wrongly classified:

(2) Paragraph (1)(a) does not include any cartridge magazine that

(a) was originally designed or manufactured for use in a firearm that

(i) is chambered for, or designed to use, rimfire cartridges,
(ii) is a rifle of the type commonly known as the "Lee Enfield" rifle, where the magazine is capable of containing not more than 10 cartridges of the type for which the magazine was originally designed, or
(iii) is commonly known as the U.S. Rifle M1 (Garand) including the Beretta M1 Garand rifle, the Breda M1 Garand rifle and the Springfield Armoury M1 Garand rifle;

Such is the way our laws are written.