Illegal Possession of a Firearm in California

While the laws in California permit most adults to purchase and possess a firearm, there are many restrictions and requirements. They cover not only who may own or possess a firearm, but also licensing, locations where a firearm may not be permitted, whether a gun may be carried openly, concealed carry rules, illegal firearms, and more.

If you have been charged with illegal possession of a firearm, contact a San Diego gun crimes lawyer. At RJT Criminal Lawyer, we have the experience to help. We are aggressive in our approach to these offenses and seek to provide you with the best opportunity for a dismissal or a reduced charge. Call us for a free consultation.

Prohibited Firearms

As noted above, there are numerous restrictions on the possession of firearms in California. Here are some which relate to the specific characteristics of the prohibited firearms:

  • Short-barreled shotguns and rifles. PC 33215 prohibits the possession of short-barreled (“sawed off”) shotguns and rifles.
  • Undetectable firearms. The possession of “undetectable firearms” is prohibited in California. That term is defined in PC 17280 as any weapon that, after removal of grips, magazines and stocks, is not detectable by a standard metal detector.
    • Guns that are disguised or that have a misleading appearance. This includes cane guns (PC 24410) and wallet guns (PC 24710).
  • Zip guns. These are usually homemade guns that were not originally designed to be a firearm and were not brought into California by a licensed importer.

In addition to the weapons themselves, the law in California restricts the possession and/or use of silencers, laser scopes, and ammunition, including armor-piercing bullets.

Prohibited Possessors

The list of people who are prohibited from owning and/or possessing a firearm is extensive. While it includes some obvious categories such as those having certain criminal convictions, the list of prohibited possessors is extensive. It includes any person who:

  • Has been convicted of a felony in any state (not just California) or under the federal law.
  • Has been convicted of any one of a host of violent crimes.
  • Has been directed as part of their probation not to possess a firearm.
  • Has been convicted of, or who has an outstanding warrant for, any one of dozens of misdemeanors, including assault, battery, stalking, and many others.
  • Is the subject of a domestic violence restraining order.
  • Has been found to be not guilty by reason of insanity. It also covers those who have been found to be mentally incompetent to stand trial.
  • Is addicted to narcotics.
  • Has been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.
  • Is an illegal alien.

This is only a partial list of the many categories of persons who are prohibited from possessing or owning a firearm in California. Note that some of these restrictions are lifetime bans; others are effective for a limited period of time.

Restrictions on Where You May Carry a Firearm

Most cities and urban areas in California are “no gun” zones. The fact that you may lawfully purchase and possess a firearm does not release you from all restrictions. In addition to concealed carry and open carry rules, there are, for example, certain specific places where you may not bring a firearm, notwithstanding legal ownership and possession. They include:

  • You may not bring a firearm onto the property of a school (including most colleges and universities). This applies even if you have a carry license.
  • Public Meeting. No matter where a public meeting is held – i.e., whether in a public building or not – you are generally prohibited from carrying a firearm at the meeting.
  • Capitol Grounds. You may not carry a firearm anywhere on capitol grounds.
  • Federal Buildings. You may not carry a firearm in any federal building, including courthouses, a Veteran’s Administration hospital, or other federal facility.

The potential penalties for violation of these rules vary depending upon the particular facts of the case. Likewise, the cause of the loss of gun rights will determine, in the first instance, how long those rights will be forfeited.

Restoration of Gun Rights

If your gun rights – your right to own and possess a firearm – have been lost, the first thing to understand is the length of time the restriction applies. In the case of a lengthy or even a lifetime ban, you may still seek to have your gun rights restored. Your options are basically limited to a pardon from the governor, or an application to the court to have a felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.

Gun Rights Defense Lawyer in San Diego

The right to possess and own a gun: where you may and may not possess a firearm; open carry; concealed carry; permits; local government restrictions; and similar questions make the issue of gun rights a complex one. If your gun rights have been lost or are threatened by an arrest or a pending court case or other factors, our firm can help.

At RJT Criminal Lawyer, we understand the laws governing the ownership and possession of firearms, including the best way (a) to avoid having those rights taken away, and (b) to seek a restoration of those rights if they have already been forfeited. Call us to see how we can protect your Second Amendment rights. Your initial consultation is free.