California Guns, Weapons & Firearms Penalties & Charges

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California has many laws regarding the possession of guns, weapons and firearms, and it can be confusing about what is illegal or legal.

Some of the weapons charges in California include:

  • Carrying a concealed firearm

  • Improper handling of a gun in a car

  • Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or firearm

  • Possession of a deadly weapon by a felon

  • Firing or shooting a gun into a building that is occupied

  • Selling firearms

  • Possessing assault weapon

The most common firearms charge in California is possession of a gun without a permit. This is usually a misdemeanor charge. It is quite common because the issuance of concealed carry permits in this state is quite limited, and is up to the discretion of a local judge and sheriff.

The state defines a deadly weapon as anything that can cause death if it is used in a violent fashion. So, very many things can be considered a deadly weapon, including your vehicle and even your fist.

Another common weapons charge in this state is brandishing a deadly weapon. This can be charged against you if you show any type of deadly object or weapon in a threatening manner. This is a misdemeanor that can get you at least 30 days in jail.

Many people in California also are charged with a weapons violation for the transportation of a firearm in their car. The law requires that a gun be unloaded and stored in a locked, secure container. This means the trunk in most cases; a glove compartment does not qualify.

California Laws and Penalties

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor weapons charge, you can get up to a year in jail. Note that a fine of as much as $1000 can be given to you rather than a jail term.

For a felony charge, you will most likely get a prison sentence. You can get a penalty from one year to 20 years in prison in this state. This depends upon the exact offense, your criminal record and the general circumstances regarding the crime.

Guns, Weapons & Firearms Defenses

If you are found guilty on a guns or weapons charge in this state, you can have great problems finding employment or trying to find a place to live. There are many good defenses that a CA weapons lawyer can use:

  • The police engaged in improper search and seizure in your car, in your home or on your person.

  • The weapon was used in self defense

  • The firing of the weapon was an accident

  • You do not own the firearm or weapon in question

Statute of Limitations

Generally, the statute of limitations for a felony gun charge in California is three years. But there are many exceptions. There is no statute of limitations for a charge punishable by death or a life sentence without parole. So, if you allegedly committed a murder with a firearm, there would be no statute of limitations in that case.

CA Guns, Weapons & Firearms Cases

  • South Dakota Joins Other States in Opposing CA Gun Ordinance – The attorney general of South Dakota has joined with two dozen other states that oppose a California city ordinance that states all handgun owners must disable them in their homes. The AG stated last week that he strongly supports the safekeeping of handguns at home, but that the government should not dictate how people keep their guns at home.

  • Pacific Grove CA Police Boss Admits to Gun Charges – A former police commander in Pacific Grove, California admitted to stolen gun charges, as well as extortion, fraud and making threats. He admitted that he stole large numbers of shotguns, rifles and pistols after a nearby college closed down its police academy. He was an instructor there. He faces two years in federal prison.

  • CA Passes New Law Regarding Toy Guns – A new law in California requires all toy manufacturers to make plastic guns in bright colors so that the police are able to distinguish between real and fake guns.

  • Police Fatalities Rise in 2014, Most by Guns – There were more police killed in the line of duty by guns in 2014, and there were 14 police fatalities involving firearms in California.