The state of California does not always treat the possession of a gun as a criminal act. In fact, most Californians are legally allowed to own some types of guns. These firearms may be kept in private homes, someone’s business, or moved around as long as they are kept in a locked container.
However, if you are found to be improperly in possession of a firearm, you can face a wide range of consequences, including fines and up to 20 years in prison. You may also lose your gun rights, or the right to keep and bear arms in California, for 10 years to the rest of your life.
What Type Of Charges Does California Have For Possession Of A Gun?
Some individuals who illegally possess a firearm in California may be subject to misdemeanor charges. These charges can include up to $1,000 in fines and no more than a year spent in county jail.
Individuals illegally possessing a gun may also face more serious felony charge. These charges can come with a jail sentence of up to 20 years, to be carried out in state prison.
California also uses sentencing enhancements on crimes committed with a firearm. This means that additional years are added to a sentence if a gun was used while committing a serious felony. These enhancements allow California judges to add the following to a prison sentence:
- 10 years if you possess a gun
- 20 years if you fire a weapon
- 25 years if you seriously hurt or kill someone with a gun
Who Is Allowed To Possess A Gun In California?
As noted, most citizens of the state are allowed to own a gun. However, there are exceptions to this rule. California restricts members of the following groups from owning a firearm:
- Minors (under 18)
- Individuals who are mentally ill
- Individuals with a narcotics addiction
- Individuals with specific misdemeanor convictions
- Individuals with at least two convictions related to Penal Code 417
Federal laws regarding gun ownership also apply to citizens of California. This means that people can not possess a firearm if they:
- Renounced their U.S. citizenship
- Are fugitives from justice
- Were dishonorably discharged from the military
- Are in the country illegally
- Are facing a court order related to stalking
Be aware that some gun charges can be sent to federal court. These cases may be more serious and can lead to more severe fines and lengthy prison time.
Are There Any Guns You’re Not Allowed To Own In California?
While California allows most citizens to possess firearms, there are some guns that the state prohibits. Penal Code 30600 PC allows only those with permits to own assault weapons and rifles in California. These guns include Uzis, AK series rifles, and more.
Individuals who possess these guns without a permit may face 1-3 years of incarceration. Any act of manufacturing, distributing, importing, lending, and selling unlicensed guns is considered a felony, with a sentence of 4-8 years behind bars. If these weapons are sold or given to minors, an additional year is added to the penalty.
What Is The Penalty For Carrying A Concealed Firearm In California?
California allows citizens to carry concealed firearms as long as they have a permit. This permit requires you to finish a firearms training course and to reside in the issuing city. You must also have a good character and good cause to get the license.
Individuals who carry a concealed gun without this permit may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on their circumstances. Those charged with a misdemeanor may face a fine of $1,000 and a year in prison. A felony charge may lead to sentences of 16 months to 3 years in prison along with a fine of up to $10,000.
Are There Penalties For Possessing Ammunition Or Firearm Accessories?
California ties the possession of a gun to the possession of ammunition. Individuals who cannot own a gun are not allowed to possess ammunition and may face similar charges if they hold ammo illegally. Additionally, the state does not permit individuals to own armor-piercing ammunition. Possession of this ammunition can result in a prison term of 1-3 years.
Individuals who own a silencer are also committing a felony in the state of California. This can lead to a fine of up to $10,000 along with 16 months to 3 years of incarceration.
Are There Defenses For Charges Related To Possessing A Firearm?
Defending against gun possession charges can be difficult due to California’s complicated firearm laws. Individuals can argue they’re legally able to carry a firearm or that they were carrying the weapon in self-defense, but this requires understanding California’s legal codes.
We can help you with experienced lawyers that are familiar with your rights and California’s state laws. Don’t wait until the last second to prepare your defense. Take advantage of a free initial consultation at the Simmrin Law Group. Contact our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm today by calling 310-997-4688 or filling out the form on the right.