Due to what seems to be an overwhelming outbreak of interest in California for people who buy the Benelli M4 who want to add a collapsible stock onto their firearm, I thought I better put up a page that includes my thoughts on the subject, as I'm often asked about this and there is a lot of confusion.
VERY IMPORTANT: My thoughts ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE in any fashion - they are just my thoughts on the subject. I encourage you to consult a competent firearms attorney if you seek legal advice or have any further questions.
And I will admit, I myself might be a tad confused with everything I'm seeing and hearing, as there exists a lot of conflicting information and along with that gun stores are stocking and carrying Benelli M4 shotguns with a pinned stock, and if that's the case Benelli must be sending Benelli M4 shotguns in this configuration into California.
But I have come to some conclusions about this law and about the Benelli M4 with a pinned stock and whether it is compliant with the California Assault Weapons Ban prohibiting collapsible stocks on a semiautomatic shotgun, and I have chosen that I myself want nothing to do with pinning stocks and I myself want nothing to do with helping others pin stocks as I myself am also a California resident and firearms enthusiast, and I love my freedom and my right to bear arms - and I don't want that jeopardized.
I am also an active member of the California State Bar and I have no interest in helping people pin a stock that very well could be a violation of the California Assault Weapons Ban, which is a felony. And I have no interested in helping you feel better about your decision to flirt with the CA AWB.
So before I give you my thoughts, again, this is NOT LEGAL ADVICE - the thoughts below are simply for your consideration. I am not a practicing attorney and I do not intend to be. If legal advice is what you are looking for, or clarification on the law, or further discussion of the law, DO NOT CONTACT ME for this clarification or further discussion - contact a competent attorney who is well-versed in firearms law to help you clarify whatever it is you need clarified or to have a discussion with - I'm not the person for you for that clarification or discussion.
So my thoughts are this: having a collapsible stock on your gun in California is illegal and is a violation of the California Assault Weapons Ban.
I believe this is true because of the way a shotgun is defined as an 'assault weapon' under the CA AWB, and because there are no exceptions offered and there is no wording to suggest that simply pinning a stock gets you around the law.
Here is the definition of a shotgun that is considered to be an 'assault weapon' under the CA AWB:
A semiautomatic shotgun that has both of the following:
A folding or telescoping stock.
A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, thumbhole stock, or vertical handgrip.
Every folding stock I've ever seen for the Benelli M4 has a pistol grip. So item B is satisfied for every single Benelli M4 that I'm aware of that has a collapsible stock.
So the question then becomes if your pinned stock is considered a telescoping stock (or collapsible stock).
Keep in mind, if your Benelli M4 has both a folding / telescoping stock AND a pistol grip, it's an assault weapon as far as I'm concerned (and it appears the law agrees).
So we need to consider item A in the definition to come to a conclusion on this law.
Popular opinion is that if one pins the stock, it's no longer collapsible / telescoping.
Well, that might be true if to remove the pin would destroy the stock and make it useless and worthless.
But it's my understanding that the pins people are using are indeed removable, allowing one to use a tool to remove the pin, adjust the stock to a different position, and then to put the pin back.
Well, that's still a collapsible stock.
Nothing in the law says that you can have the stock so long as it's pinned in a fixed position and it requires a tool to remove the pin to make an adjustment.
Remember when California required that all rifle magazines had to be fixed such that it required a 'tool' to remove the magazine? Well, lawmakers didn't define tool, which allowed the marketplace and creative individuals out there to make anything they wanted as the tool - so someone came up with the 'bullet button.' That was the workaround - and it complied with law.
Nothing in regards to shotguns and collapsible stocks tells us that the stock can be used so long as it remains fixed absent the use of a tool to make an adjustment.
Because of this, I prefer to come to a conclusion that errs on the side of caution - because violation of the law is a felony and that's a real big deal.
It is my personal opinion, not legal advice, but my opinion for your consideration, that because the law makes no mention of any sort of pinning the stock, and the law makes no mention of allowing the stock if a tool is required to make an adjustment, that having any potentially collapsible stock on the Benelli M4 in the state of California is a felony and is a violation under the CA AWB.
As far as I see it, it's that simple.
Many will disagree. That's totally fine.
And I recognize that I could be 100% incorrect in my opinion. I can live with that. I'd much rather live with that than to live with helping others potentially commit felonies, or helping others feel good and/or justifying a potential felony being committed.
I want no part of that.
And I am concerned for people out there going along with what seems to be popular opinion on this issue and they may be cruising through life with a potential felony in their gun cabinet.
Think this one through, folks. Go get legal advice from a practicing attorney who is competent in firearms law. Perhaps contact the DOJ if you'd like.
But before you go along with conventional wisdom, give this one a lot of thought. Is that stock really worth it?