California Laws Against Carrying Firearms

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Numerous California laws against carrying firearms have been established. These laws are aimed at prohibiting carrying or possessing firearms under certain circumstances. If you are found to be in possession of or carrying an illegal firearm you may face substantial criminal penalties. To further educate you on California laws against carrying firearms, we have outlined some of the most relevant firearm offenses below.

Felon with a Firearm

California laws against carrying firearms prohibit three classes of people from legally owning or acquiring guns:

  1. Felons
  2. Anyone convicted of specific misdemeanors
  3. Anyone addicted to narcotic drugs

California Penal Code 12021 PC is commonly known as the “felon with a firearm” law. If you own, possess, purchase, or receive a gun and you fall within one of these groups you may face prosecution. If convicted your gun rights may be revoked for a minimum of ten years and possibly for life.

Carrying a Concealed Weapon

California laws against carrying firearms may not always apply in cases where a California Concealed Weapon (CCW) permit is involved. Typically, if you have a license or permit to carry a concealed weapon under California Penal Code 12025 PC, you are not violating the law. However, you must be able to prove that you have a valid license to carry the firearm in question. If it is determined that you are illegally carrying a concealed weapon on your person or in your vehicle you may face criminal prosecution. At trial the prosecution must prove that you knew you were illegally carrying a concealed weapon at the time of your arrest.

Brandishing a Weapon

California laws against carrying firearms prohibit you from brandishing a weapon. Under California Penal Code 417 PC brandishing a weapon means: “drawing, exhibiting, or using a firearm or deadly weapon”. This includes using the weapon in a rude, angry, or threatening manner. It does not matter if you intended to cause harm; the crime is complete once the weapon has been brandished.

Carrying a Loaded Firearm in Public

Under Penal Code 12031 PC it is against the law to carry a loaded firearm in public, including a vehicle. Unless you have a valid California Concealed Weapons Permit (CCW) you may face prosecution under California laws against carrying firearms. The prosecution will attempt to prove that you were illegally carrying a loaded firearm and concealing the firearm in public.

Manufacturing, Selling, or Possessing Dangerous Weapons

In California it is against the law to manufacture, sell, or possess dangerous weapons under Penal Code 12020 PC. The law is quite broad; however, it can be narrowed down to a couple of important aspects:

  1. Specific dangerous guns and weapons are listed in Penal Code 12020(a)(1) and PC 12020(a)(2) and include such weapons as nunchucks, short-barreled shotguns and rifles, and metal knuckles, also known as brass knuckles.
  2. Carrying explosives, knives, or other instruments that may inflict great bodily injury or death, as referenced in Penal Code 12020(a)(3) and PC 12020(a)(4).

In California certain assault weapons and rifles have been banned. Under Penal Code 12280 PC you may be punished for manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing these banned weapons. Some of the banned weapons include:

  • all AK series rifles
  • Uzis
  • Colt AR-15 series semiautomatic rifles

California Laws against Carrying Firearms

California has strict laws when it comes to gun charges and they may become even stricter. Firearm sentencing enhancements may also be imposed, increasing your prison sentence if convicted. Under firearm sentencing enhancements you not only serve the sentence for the felony gun charge, you also serve the additional sentenced imposed for the “enhancement”. You may commonly hear this referred to as the “10-20-life ‘use a gun and you’re done’” law.  It is important to understand that you cannot be convicted of a sentencing enhancement by itself, in order for it to apply; you must first be convicted of an underlying felony gun charge.

Arrested on Gun Charges

If you or a loved on have been arrested on gun charges or would like more information on California firearm offenses, California gun laws, and California laws against carrying firearms, please contact Fresno criminal defense attorney Gregory W. Fox today at (559) 222-5800. Your case will be discussed confidentially and in most instances an appointment can be scheduled for the same day.

If you have any questions regarding the services provided at the Law Office of Gregory W. Fox,
or would like to schedule your free initial consultation, please contact us today at (559) 222-5800. Hablamos español.