Assault Weapons in California
Any resident of the U.S. is undoubtedly familiar with the Second Amendment to the Constitution that states the rights of individuals to keep and bear arms. But while civilians on U.S. ground are permitted to possess firearms, what many people don’t realize is that there are still numerous restrictions as to who specifically has the right to keep and use firearms and which weapons are legal.
California gun laws are some of the toughest in the nation. They are complex and tightly regulated with hundreds of different code sections, making it difficult for the average citizen to completely understand everything that the law entails.
The State of California has made it illegal to manufacture, sell, give away, lend, or possess firearms that are considered assault weapons. Assault weapons are described by the California Attorney General as, “highly dangerous offensive weapons which are unambiguously hazardous…they are the same type that the soldiers typically use when fighting in war.”
There are more than 70 variations of firearms that are listed as assault weapons in Penal Code 30510 PC. They are defined by name, by series, and also by characteristic. Some of the more notable examples of assault weapons that are banned in the State of California are:
- All AK series rifles
- All AR-15 series weapons
- .50 BMG caliber rifles
- Short-barreled shotguns and rifles
- Semi-automatic firearms that accept more than 10 rounds
- Semi-automatic firearms that can accept a detachable magazine
Specific makes and models of banned assault weapons in California can be found in Penal Code 30510, while Penal Code 30515 lists banned assault weapons based on general characteristics.
Exceptions to Assault Weapons Bans
In California, there are several exceptions to the law that allow an individual to possess a firearm that is classified as an assault weapon. These exceptions include:
- Possessing the firearm before the law classified it as an assault weapon
- Engaging in lawful target shooting or firearm exhibitions
- Holding a valid permit to possess an assault weapon (not just a concealed firearms permit)
- Being the administrator or executor of an estate that holds said firearms
- Being a non-California resident who is traveling to or from an organized competition that involves such weapons
Defending Assault Weapon Charges
Not everyone who owns an assault weapon does so with the intent of harming others. Since practically any firearm can be purchased at the click of a button online, it’s common for many firearms owners to not be aware that their purchase is illegal in their city or municipality.
Because assault weapon charges in the State of California are so complex, it takes an experienced and meticulous defense attorney to properly defend your case. San Diego criminal defense lawyer Bradley Corbett is well versed in California’s assault weapon laws and will fight tirelessly to win the best verdict possible.
Common defenses to assault weapons charges include:
- Having a valid permit to possess an assault weapon, not just a concealed firearm
- The firearm was discovered as a result of an illegal search and seizure
- Police misconduct
Assault Weapon Penalties
In California, different penalties exist for the possession of assault weapons versus the distribution, manufacturing, selling, transporting, lending, or giving away of assault weapons.
Those found in possession of assault weapons could face either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the situation. These penalties can range from up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year in a county jail, or up to three years in state prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
On the other hand, if someone is found guilty of more than just possessing an assault weapon, they can face up to eight years in California State Prison for each illegal weapon involved in the case.
Don’t face assault weapon charges without the help of an expert attorney like San Diego criminal defense attorney Bradley Corbett. Call today for a free case consultation.