Ammunition and Black Powder
Ammunition and Black/Smokeless Powder
This article refers to 'personal use'; commercial storage or manufacturing are outside the scope of this article.
Local regulations on purchase procedures, such as thumbprints and identification requirements, are outside the scope of this article.
For eligible persons, neither California nor Federal law impose any limits on purchase or storage of manufactured or reloaded ammunition.
California does place limits on storage of smokeless propellant - 20 pounds - and black powder - 1 pound.
Prohibited persons may not possess any ammunition, or reloaded ammunition (Penal Code 30305) or any ammunition components (Penal Code 16150).
- 1 California law does not address any limit to personal ownership or storage of ammunition
- 2 California defines smokeless powder and black powder as explosives
- 3 Ammunition and small arms primers are NOT explosives
- 4 California requires permits to do things with explosives
- 5 Permits do not apply to small quantities, as specified
- 6 Ammunition means lots of things for ineligible persons
- 7 A note on ineffective Penal Code sections
California law does not address any limit to personal ownership or storage of ammunition
There is nothing in any California Code that regulates quantities for any of purchase, ownership, possession or storage.
California defines smokeless powder and black powder as explosives
Health and Safety Code 12000
12000. For the purposes of this part, "explosives" means any substance, or combination of substances, the primary or common purpose of which is detonation or rapid combustion, and which is capable of a relatively instantaneous or rapid release of gas and heat, or any substance, the primary purpose of which, when combined with others, is to form a substance capable of a relatively instantaneous or rapid release of gas and heat. "Explosives" includes, but is not limited to, any explosives as defined in Section 841 of Title 18 of the United States Code and published pursuant to Section 555.23 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and any of the following: (a) Dynamite, nitroglycerine, picric acid, lead azide, fulminate of mercury, black powder, smokeless powder, propellant explosives, detonating primers, blasting caps, or commercial boosters.
Ammunition and small arms primers are NOT explosives
Health and Safety Code 12000(f)
(f) For the purposes of this part, "explosives" does not include any destructive device, as defined in Section 16460 of the Penal Code, nor does it include ammunition or small arms primers manufactured for use in shotguns, rifles, and pistols.
California requires permits to do things with explosives
Health and Safety Code 12101
12101. (a) No person shall do any one of the following without first having made application for and received a permit in accordance with this section: (1) Manufacture explosives. (2) Sell, furnish, or give away explosives. (3) Receive, store, or possess explosives. (4) Transport explosives. (5) Use explosives. (6) Operate a terminal for handling explosives. (7) Park or leave standing any vehicle carrying explosives, except when parked or left standing in or at a safe stopping place designated as such by the Department of the California Highway Patrol under Division 14 (commencing with Section 31600) of the Vehicle Code. (b) Application for a permit shall be made to the appropriate issuing authority.
Permits do not apply to small quantities, as specified
Health and Safety Code 12102
12102. This chapter does not apply to any possession or use of 20 pounds or less of smokeless powder, or one pound or less of black sporting powder, provided that: (a) Smokeless powder is intended only for hand loading of small arms ammunition of .75 caliber or less. (b) Black sporting powder is intended for loading of small arms or small arms ammunition of .75 caliber or less. (c) All such powder is for private use and not for resale, and, in the case of black sporting powder, there shall be no gift, delivery, or other disposition to another person. (d) The storage, use and handling of such smokeless and black powder conforms to rules, regulations, or ordinances of authorities having jurisdiction for fire prevention and suppression in the area of such storage, use, and handling of such explosives.
Ammunition means lots of things for ineligible persons
Penal Code 16150
16150. (a) As used in Section 30300, "ammunition" means handgun ammunition as defined in Section 16650. (b) As used in subdivision (a) of Section 30305 and in Section 30306, "ammunition" includes, but is not limited to, any bullet, cartridge, magazine, clip, speed loader, autoloader, or projectile capable of being fired from a firearm with a deadly consequence. "Ammunition" does not include blanks.
A note on ineffective Penal Code sections
Penal Code sections 30352, 30355, 30357, 30360, 30362 and 30365 are still 'on the books' but were challenged in court and a permanent injunction was issued against enforcing them. See AB 962 and Parker v California.