The 72-year-old gunman, Huu Can Tran suspected of killing 10 people at a dance studio in adjacent Monterey Park on Saturday night was disarmed by two people at a second dance studio in the Los Angeles suburb of Alhambra, according to authorities, who applauded their actions for averting a second potential bloodbath.

Police located a handgun inside the van where Tran was discovered dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in addition to the semiautomatic assault weapon recovered from the Alhambra location. According to California’s gun regulations, which prohibit high-capacity magazines that may store more than 10 rounds of ammunition, the assault pistol with the extended big-capacity magazine may have been illegal to own.

Is semiautomatic assault pistol legal to own in California?

Semi-automatic weapons, large-capacity magazines, and .50 BMG calibre rifles that the state has designated as assault weapons are prohibited from being sold in California. Large-capacity magazine restrictions were declared unlawful on March 29, 2019, however, the decision was suspended while the matter was being appealed. The restriction was declared illegal on August 14, 2020, by a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit Court, however, vacated this judgement on February 25, 2021, pending an en banc rehearing of the matter.

On June 4, 2021, Roger Benitez, a senior judge in the Southern District of California, ruled that the assault weapons ban was unconstitutional, but he granted a 30-day stay of proceedings. The stay was later extended indefinitely by the Ninth Court of Appeals. Possession of automatic firearms, as well as short-barreled shotguns and rifles, is prohibited unless a Dangerous Weapons Permit is obtained from the California Department of Justice and there is a valid reason for their possession, such as manufacturing, repair, collecting in limited cases (pre-1990), movie prop guns, or dealing to police/military. A loaded weapon is defined in California Penal Code 25850.

Handgun sales to those under 21 were already prohibited, but stricter age limits for rifles and shotguns were enacted in 2018 in response to some of the country’s worst mass shootings, including the Valentine’s Day 2018 slayings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.