california weapon law

In California it is legal for many people to own or possess guns. Nonetheless, it is a subject of one of the numerous restrictions.
Under California law, weapon is defined as anything that can potentially cause death or used in a violent manner. The United States Constitution guarantees the right to own and possess guns. Nonetheless, there are numerous legal acts regulating when, who and how the firearms can be used.
Below, we will introduce you the main elements of the California Gun Laws. In the resources of our site you can find detailed information about different kind of firearm offenses in California.

1. May I Own or Possess a Firearm?
2. Who is Prohibited from Firearm Possessing?
a) Can a Minor Possess a Firearm?
b) Firearm Carrying or Transportation in a Vehicle
3. Purchase of Firearm in California
4. California Handgun Safety Certificate
5. Charges for Violation of California Firearm Laws/ Gun Laws and Penalties

In addition, we are ready to provide answers to your initial questions concerning firearm charges in California for free.

1. May I Own or Possess a Firearm?

Mostly, all adults are permitted to buy firearm without a license in California. If the person is not prohibited by law from owning or possessing a firearm, it is allowed to keep to keep it:
– In your house;
– Owned business place;
– To carry a firearm in a locked container.

It must be noted that if it is prohibited from owning a gun, you have also no right to have ammunition. Under California Laws, if you want to buy handgun, it is required to have a valid handgun safety certificate. Non-California residents moving into state have to register their handguns during 60 days.

2. People prohibited from Firearm Possession in California

There are certain categories of people who are prohibited from owing or possessing a firearm. Particularly, it is unlawful for anyone who is:
– convicted of a felony,
– a drug addict, present or former mental patient,
– ever committed for mental observation,
– acquitted by reason of insanity.
Moreover, persons with certain misdemeanor involving force or violence convictions cannot own or possess a firearm within 10 years of the conviction. Juvenile offenders committed a misdemeanor or a felony involving force or violence is deprived from the right to own or possess a firearm until 30 years old.

a) Can a Minor Possess a Firearm?
There are two cases when a minor can possess a firearm or live ammunition:
– There is written permission of a parent or a guardian
– Under the supervision of a parent or a guardian.

A minor under 16 has the right to possess a handgun, when:
– There is written permission of a parent or a guardian
– Under the supervision of a parent or a guardian
– Participating in a legal recreation activity involving firearms with the parent’s or a guardian written permission to participate in such activities or accompanied by them.

b) Firearm Carrying or Transportation in a Vehicle
It is unlawful to carry in any public place or on any public area:
– a loaded rifle;
– shotgun;
– handgun.

However, there are some exceptions:
– on target ranges while a person is shooting;
– in a shooting club while there is a hunting premise;
– members of antique or historical collector’s club at a show, while going to and from the show the weapons are locked in a trunk or in a container;
– if there is a reasonable believes that the person’s property is in immediate danger;
– if the person is engaged in making a lawful arrest;
– if a firearm is carried at home or at the business place.

3. Can I Purchase a Firearm in California?

Under California law, it is required that all firearm sales must be completed through a California licensed gun dealer. Including, gun show and private sales, transfers or loans of firearms. Any application of a transfer or sale must go through a California licensed firearms dealer. That is the one way to consider such transaction to be legal.
The dealer receives form purchaser and sends to the California Department of Justice the copies of the following documents:
– The purchaser’s valid California driver’s license or his or her I.D. card with supplied thumbprint;
– Proof of California residence.

The California Department of Justice conducts a background check at a fee within 10 days. If they do not discover non-eligibility of the person, the dealer can keep a register of firearm’s transfer. One person can apply to buy only one pistol, one revolver or other firearm which can concealed upon the person. Any person can purchase or transfer a handgun, if he or she has a Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC).
The requirement to have or buy an approved safety device for handguns is obligatory in order to obtain a handgun from a dealer. Under California Penal Code 23620 PC, no firearm may be sold, transferred, or manufactured within California unless that firearm is accompanied by a DOJ-approved firearms safety device. You can find the ROSTER OF FIREARM SAFETY DEVICES CERTIFIED FOR SALE in California by the following link: .

Carrying a handgun concealed without a license, including within a vehicle, is unlawful. You can place a firearm in a vehicle, if:
– It is in the trunk of your vehicle;
– It is locked in the container but not in the utility or glove compartment.

4. How Can I Obtain a Handgun Safety Certificate?
In order to obtain a handgun safety certificate, it is required to take a written test, including questions (but is not limited to) related to the laws applicable to the ownership, use, handling, and carrying of firearms. The test is administered by the California Department of Justice certified instructor.
The Handgun Safety Certificate is vale for five (5) years.

5. What Penalties Can I Face If I Break California Gun Laws?
Mostly, California weapon offenses are considered to be felony. For example, if during the commission of any crime you have been found with a firearm, you penalty will be exacerbated.
The following circumstances affect whether you will be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor:
– What kind of weapon you possessed
– The way you used this weapon
– Your criminal history.
Judge takes into consideration all specific circumstances of the crime in order to determine the sentence.
Example: An offender committed a felony assault with a deadly weapon may face a sentence of 2-4 years in prison. If the firearm is semi-automatic, the potential penalty increases to 3-6 years in prison.
The most common California Firearm Charges are the following:
– Felon with a firearm( California Penal Code 29800 PC)
– “Brandishing a weapon” ( California Penal Code 417 PC)
– Assault with a firearm ( California Penal Code 452(a)(2) PC)
– “Drive-by shooting” law ( California Penal Code 26100 PC)
– Possession of firearm with intent to injure (California Penal Code 29805 PC)
– Possession of firearm with intent to cause fear of violence (California Penal Code 23515 PC)
– Use of firearm to resist arrest (California Penal Code 148(a) PC)
– Carrying firearm with criminal intent ( California Penal Code 25400 PC)
– Carrying a firearm in a public place ( California Penal Code 25850 PC)
– Trespassing in a building with a firearm ( California Penal Code 602 PC)
– Using another person to mind a dangerous weapon ( California Penal Code 245(a)(1) PC)

The  Margarian Law Firm aggressively protected the rights of criminal defendants in California. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Direct approach with our clients allows us to easily obtain dismiss or reduction of the charges. Additionally, we provide a flat fee agreed upon before we begin. Feel free to contact us!

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