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Gun Charges & the California Gun Laws

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Gun Charges & the California Gun Laws Bradley Corbett   When it comes to gun laws, it’s important to know exactly what they are so you can avoid facing gun charges. According to Federal Firearms Laws, a firearm is defined as any weapon which will expel a projectile by means of an explosive or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.

Prohibited Persons

These are subjects that are unauthorized to possess a fire are: felons, drug users or addicts, illegal aliens, subjects of a domestic restraining order, prior convicts of domestic assault, fugitives and dishonorably discharged military.   Here’s a quick reference of Federal Firearms Laws:
  • A firearm may not be sold, delivered to, or transferred to a juvenile.
  • Carrying, use, or possession of a firearm in relation to a drug felony or a federal crime of violence is prohibited.
  • Stolen firearms are prohibited from being received, possessed, concealed, accepted, or transported across a state line.
  • Firearms may not be possessed or discharged within a school zone (except by an authorized person).
  • Seizure and forfeiture of a firearm involved in criminal offenses is authorized.
  • Knowingly possessing or manufacturing illegal firearms and destructive devices is prohibited.
  • Information should be traceable for every firearm.
  • No selling, giving, or disposing of any firearm to any prohibited persons.

Specific California Gun Laws

Since the majority of gun legislation is enacted at the state level and is independent of Federal Firearms Laws, gun laws across the U.S. vary considerably. However, individuals are not exempt from federal laws. The state of California has its own specific gun laws regarding both handguns and long guns:
  • Background checks on private gun sales are required and sales must be through a licensed dealer.
  • A purchase permit is required.
  • A permit is required to own a firearm.
  • You are required to register your firearm.
  • Open carry is allowed in some rural counties.
  • Magazine size is limited to 10 rounds (this law is still unresolved).
  • Felons are prohibited from possession of a firearm.
  • California does not have a provision that protects the right to own and bear firearms.

Common Gun Charges and Defenses

The following are some common gun charges, the penalties they carry, and typical defenses.

Carrying a Loaded Firearm

A subject is in violation of this law when carrying a loaded firearm while in any public place or street in a prohibited area. Penalties:
  • Probation
  • Up to 1 year in county jail
  • Up to $1,000 fine
  • The subject had no knowledge of possessing a firearm.
  • The firearm was not loaded.
  • The subject did not possess the firearm in a prohibited area.
  • The law permits this particular subject to carry a loaded firearm (member of military, etc.).
  • There was police misconduct.

Carrying a Concealed Weapon

A subject is guilty of carrying a concealed weapon when carrying the weapon in a vehicle or carrying the weapon on their person.  Penalties:
  • 16-36 months in state prison
  • Up to $10,000 fine
  • The subject had no knowledge of carrying the weapon.
  • The weapon was in the trunk or some other locked compartment.
  • The subject has a license to carry a concealed weapon.
  • The weapon was not concealed.
  • The weapon was within their home or business.
  • The subject carried the weapon in self-defense.
  • There was police misconduct.

Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Any subject who has been convicted of a felony or who is addicted to any narcotic drug and who owns, purchases, receives, or has possession or control of any firearm is guilty of a felony. Penalties:
  • 16-36 months in county jail
  • Formal probation or parole supervision
  • Up to $1,000 fine
  • Permanent firearm ban
  • Immigration consequences, if applicable
  • Temporary loss of Search and Seizure Rights
  • The subject’s prior felony conviction was reduced to a misdemeanor.
  • The subject was not in possession of the firearm.
  • The subject was unaware they were in possession of the firearm.
  • The subject was disposing the firearm or transporting it to law enforcement.
  • There was police misconduct.

What to Do If You Find Yourself Facing Gun Charges

Gun laws and gun charges can be complicated, but you’re not on your own to figure them out. If you are facing firearm offenses in California, take advantage of your situation by using an attorney for gun charges to help you with your case. Contact Bradley Corbett today!  

Bradley Corbett

Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.

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