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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since I've seen numerous comments about what is / isn't a flash suppressor in California, and no definitive answers, I decided to do some research. This could be tagged in multiple places, so I figured it would better to just start a new thread.

taken from the CA DOJ web site:

DOJ Firearms Division

Department of Justice Regulations for Assault Weapons and Large Capacity Magazines


Hearing Dates:
February 24, 2000, Sacramento, California
February 28, 2000, Los Angeles, California

Section 978.20 Definitions of Terms Used to Identify Assault Weapons
Section 978.20 further defines terms used in Penal Code section 12276.1 to describe the characteristics that identify a firearm as an assault weapon. The six terms (Section 978.20 (a-f)) initially identified in this section are addressed separately relative to the revisions made to each of the original definitions proposed by the Department and subsequently noticed and modified.

978.20(a) Detachable Magazine
[text deleted]

978.20 (B) Flash Suppressor
This term was originally defined as "any device that reduces or conceals the visible light or flash created when a firearm is fired. This definition includes flash hiders, but does not include compensators and muzzle brakes (devices attached to or integral with the muzzle barrel to utilize propelling gasses for counter-recoil)." There were two primary problems with the definition when it was originally noticed to the public (December 31, 1999 through February 28, 2000). The most significant problem with the original definition was that it included and/or excluded particular devices by name (flash hider, muzzle brake, compensator) without consideration of whether the devices actually suppress flash. After further consideration prompted by public comments, the Department concluded that the absence of statutorily defined specific measurement standards or a statutory requirement to establish those standards demonstrates a legislative intent to identify any device that reduces or redirects flash from the shooter's field of vision as a flash suppressor regardless of its name and intended/additional purpose. Thus, "flash hiders" are flash suppressors only if they reduce or redirect flash from the shooter's field of vision. Conversely, "compensators" and "muzzle brakes" are not flash suppressors only if they do not reduce or redirect flash from the shooter's field of vision. The revised definition is clearly consistent with the legislative intent of the statute as it neither includes nor excludes any particular device on the basis of its name only. Additionally, "conceals" in the original definition presented the possibility of an overly broad interpretation which could have included any device positioned between the shooter's eye and the muzzle flash, such as the sights on a gun. To avoid such unintended interpretation, the word "conceals" was replaced with "redirects." Accordingly, the original definition was changed to: "flash suppressor means any device that reduces or redirects muzzle flash from the shooter's field of vision." This revised definition was noticed to the public during the first 15-day comment period (May 10 through May 30, 2000). Comments addressing this version of the definition prompted further reconsideration and revision. As such, the definition was revised a second time by replacing " . . . that reduces or redirects muzzle flash . . . " with " . . . designed, intended, or that functions to reduce or redirect muzzle flash . . . " This change was necessary because it became clear that flash suppressors are typically attached by twisting or screwing the device onto the threaded barrel of a firearm. Therefore, by simply making a half turn (180 degrees), an otherwise fully operational flash suppressor would not function as prescribed in the prior definition. The revised definition eliminates this potential loophole. Accordingly, this final revision "flash suppressor means any device designed, intended, or that functions to reduce or redirect muzzle flash from the shooter's field of vision," was noticed during the second 15-day comment period (July 12 through July 31, 2000). Although additional comments were received, no comments were received during the second 15-day comment period that resulted in substantial revision to the definition. However, the Department made a non-substantial revision by adding "perceptibly" to the phrase "reduce or redirect" to confirm that if a reduction or redirection of flash is so minuscule that it is imperceptible to the human eye, it could not reasonably be considered a reduction.

Hope that clears some things up...


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Thanks for the info Davey. I've often wondered what Kalif would think of my early Choate "muzzle brake". I bought it mainly for the front sight since I wanted the protective ears. Not having fired my Mini at night I am not sure how much flash is redirected. I could cut off the offending portion but the Kalif law makers would probably decide the modification illegal. It only gets worse next year. At least for now you can still buy a Mini.
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