San Francisco Is Suing an Irving Gun Maker for Peddling Banned High-Capacity Magazines

Exile Machine makes no bones about the fact that its primary reason for existing is to skirt California gun laws. The Irving gun manufacturer's name is a reference to its CEO, who it says lived and worked in California for most of the past 40 years. The first product the company produced was a special adapter for AR-15s to get around restrictions on rifles with pistol grips. More recently, it's begun disassembling high-capacity magazines, the sale of which is otherwise illegal in the state, and selling them as "repair/rebuild kits."

"We're all hoping for the quick overturning of the CA semiautomatic rifle ban and the other crazy restrictions," the company writes. "We want everyone in this great country to enjoy shooting as we do here in Texas."

Alas, the state of California does not share that sentiment. San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a lawsuit yesterday against Exile and two other companies for illegally selling high-capacity magazines (more than 10 rounds) and "profit(ing) at the expense of public safety in California."

California passed its ban back in 1999, but it only applied to the sale, manufacture and import of the magazines, not possession. The law allowed residents who already owned high-capacity magazines to keep them and take them to dealers for upkeep and repair.

That's the loophole that Exile has been exploiting. The company argues, essentially, that it's not selling people full magazines but pieces to be used to repair those already in the possession of the purchaser. The Exile website is very clear on that point:

CA-Legal Magazine Repair / Rebuild Kits are to be used to 1) repair or rebuild your existing legally owned high capacity magazines or 2) permanently block to 10 rounds or 3) store in a disassembled condition for use outside of California. They are not intended for reassembly into new high capacity magazines.

"This is a fig leaf," Herrera declares in the lawsuit. Not only is it clear from the other information on Exile's website that it's marketing its products so California residents can skirt the state's gun laws, but shipping whole magazines, even disassembled, is illegal.

"The gun businesses we've sued today think they've devised a clever end‐run around California law by selling fully functional high‐capacity magazines that have simply been disassembled into a few easily‐reassembled parts," Herrera said in a press release announcing the lawsuit. "Our litigation intends to prove otherwise."

Exile announced on its Facebook page that it has no comment on the lawsuit, though it did announce the arrival of a shipment of high-capacity magazines this morning. "First priority will of course be given to those NSA interns monitoring this frequency. [A]nd of course we never charge a disassembly fee to turn these into 100% legal repair/rebuild kit for our California customers."

(h/t The Dallas Morning News)

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson