Assault Weapons – Exceptions To Criminal Penalties

There are a variety of exceptions to the laws proscribing criminal penalties for the manufacture, sale, transfer and possession of assault weapons including .50 BMG rifles.

The prohibitions do not apply to:

  1. the delivery, transfer, or sale of an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle to, or the possession of an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle by, a member of a federal law enforcement agency, provided that person is authorized by the employing agency to possess the assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle; 1

  2. a person who lends a lawfully possessed and registered assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle under certain specified circumstances;2

  3. an executor or administrator of an estate that includes an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle and where the probate court and the administer of the estate are exempted by the Act; 3

  4. the importation of an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle by the registered owner of the weapon; 4

  5. the sale, purchase, or possession of, assault weapons or .50 BMG rifles by specified law enforcement agencies; 5

  6. Manufacturing assault weapons or .50 BMG rifles for sale to specified entities and persons; 6

  7. the possession and importation of an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle by a nonresident attending or going directly to or from an organized competitive that involves the use of an assault weapon if other specified conditions are met; 7

  8. a person complying with 30900 et seq., or a person acting under specified sections of the Penal Code; 8

  9. a person otherwise complying with the Penal Code, or to a person with a permit to possess an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle under 30900 et seq; 9

  10. an executor or administrator of an estate that includes an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle registered under 30900 et seq., or that was otherwise possessed lawfully,10 if the weapon is possessed at a place authorized by the Penal Code or as authorized by the probate court; 11

  11. the person to whom an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle is loaned; 12

  12. the possession of an assault weapon during the 90-day period after it was specified as an assault weapon, or during the 1-year period after it was earlier defined as an assault weapon, by a person who is eligible to register the particular weapon, who lawfully possessed the weapon prior to the date it was specified or defined as an assault weapon, and who otherwise complies with the Act; 13

  13. the delivery, transfer, or sale of an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle to, or the possession of an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle by, a sworn peace officer member of an agency specified in Penal Code, if authorized by the peace officer's employer; the peace officer also must meet specified registration requirements; 14

  14. the possession or use of assault weapons or .50 BMG rifles by sworn peace officer’s members of those agencies for law enforcement purposes, whether on or off duty.


1 Section 30630(c) of the California Penal Code.
2 Sections 30660(a), (b) of the California Penal Code.
3 Section 30655(a) of the California Penal Code.
4 Sections 30670(a); 30945 of the California Penal Code.
5 Section 30625 of the California Penal Code.
6 Sections 30645; 31005 of the California Penal Code.
7 Section 30665 of the California Penal Code.
8 Sections 31000, 31005, 31050, or 31055 of the California Penal Code
9 Sections 31000; 31005; 30675(a) of the California Penal Code.
10 Section 30630(a) of the California Penal Code.
11 Sections 30945(a); 30655(b) of the California Penal Code.
12 Sections 30660(b); 30660(c) of the California Penal Code.
13 Section 30635 of the California Penal Code.
14 Sections 30625; 30630(b) of the California Penal Code.