Up until the year 2012, individuals in California were allowed to openly carry unloaded handguns, provided they legally owned the firearm. However, this is no longer the case. Currently, individuals can face criminal charges if they carry an unloaded handgun in public.
California Penal Code Section 26350: Openly Carrying an Unloaded Handgun charges are used to prosecute this act. You can find out more about this charge, the effects of a conviction, and some legal defenses with the Simmrin Law Group.
The Definition of Openly Carrying an Unloaded Handgun
PC 26350 makes it illegal to carry an unloaded handgun openly. The court system in California defines handguns as any firearm that is capable of being concealed on a person. This can include pistols and revolvers. In addition, firearms may be considered handguns for the purposes of PC 26350 charges if they have a barrel:
- Under 16 inches in length
- Over 16 inches in length, if it can be interchanged with a barrel under 16 inches in length
Openly carrying an unloaded handgun charge can apply anytime an individual carries a firearm in a public or prohibited place.
Possible Exceptions for Openly Carrying an Unloaded Handgun
You should be aware that there are numerous exceptions to PC 26350 charges in the state of California. For example, anyone with a concealed carry permit (CCP) is legally allowed to carry an unloaded handgun in public. People may also be allowed to carry an unloaded handgun if they are:
- Serving in the military
- An active or honorably retired peace officer
- Hunters or individuals at target ranges
- Licensed to sell or manufacture firearms
- Employed at a common carrier
Additionally, unloaded handguns may sometimes be openly carried at pawn shops, gun repair shops, and gun shows in California.
Other Charges for Carrying a Firearm in California
Carrying a concealed handgun has been considered illegal in California for many years. Even partially concealing a firearm could lead to charges under California Penal Code Section 25400: Carrying A Concealed Firearm.
Individuals can also face criminal charges under California Penal Code Section 25850: Carrying A Loaded Firearm. You should be aware that the state of California also uses criminal charges for carrying other weapons in public. These charges can include:
- California Penal Code Section 16590: Manufacturing, Selling, or Possessing Dangerous Weapons
- California Penal Code Section 18710: Possessing Destructive Devices
- California Penal Code Section 21310: Carrying a Concealed Dirk or Dagger
- California Penal Code Section 21510: Carrying A Switchblade
Penalties for Openly Carrying an Unloaded Handgun
Individuals in California can face misdemeanor charges for openly carrying an unloaded handgun. The penalties for a PC 26350 conviction can include:
- Jail time of up to one year
- Fines of up to $1,000
In some cases, the court system may sentence an individual to a period of probation, instead of jail time. You should be aware that these penalties apply for each unloaded handgun that is openly carried in a public place. This means that individuals who are carrying multiple firearms may face multiple convictions for PC 26350 charges.
Defenses for PC 26350 Accusations in California
There are a number of legal defenses that could apply if you are accused of openly carrying a handgun in California. You can go over your legal options with a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. Based on your situation, a legal professional could work to show that:
You Were Legally Entitled to Carry a Handgun
As we mentioned earlier, some people are legally permitted to carry an unloaded firearm in public. If you are legally allowed to carry a firearm, you should not be convicted under PC 26350.
You Weren’t Carrying Your Handgun in Public
You are not supposed to carry an unloaded handgun while in public in California. However, you are allowed to have an unloaded handgun in your home or business, as long as you own the property.
You Were Subjected to an Illegal Police Search
Police officers in the state of California have to follow certain legal guidelines. If you were searched in a way that violated your Constitutional rights, the charges you are facing could be thrown out.
Speak with a Lawyer About PC 26350 Charges Today
The Simmrin Law Group is here to help you deal with California Penal Code Section 26350: Openly Carrying an Unloaded Handgun charges. We can begin going over your legal options now. Just call us at (310) 896-2723, or fill out our online contact form to get a free consultation from our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers now.