Articles Tagged with gun charges

Without a doubt, California has the toughest gun laws in the United States. Earlier this week, Governor Jerry Brown signed several gun control bills into law, making the state’s gun laws even tougher. Effective January 1, 2019, what follows is a summary of the new legislation.

  • Age to buy shotgun or rifle increased to 21: Bill SB100 increased the age for buying a shotgun or rifle in California from 18 to 21. Exceptions are carved out for hunters, police officers, and members of the military.
  • Domestic violence offender lifetime gun ownership ban: Bill AB3129 permanently bans anyone convicted of certain domestic violence misdemeanors from owning a firearm for life.
  • Prior mental illness confinement lifetime gun ownership ban: Bill AB1968 permanently bans anyone who has been hospitalized more than once in a year for mental health issues and found to be dangerous to self or other from owning a firearm for life.
  • Mandatory training: Bill AB2103 requires anyone applying for a concealed gun permit to attend an eight-hour gun safety and handling training course or class. The applicant must pass a test that includes fining a gun at a target.
  • Police initiated restraining orders: Police seeking a gun violence restraining order will be permitted to apply for order verbally when there is no time to make written request.
  • Maintenance of lost firearm database: All California law enforcement agencies will be required to input information on lost or stolen guns into a state database within a week of the agency finding out the firearm was missing.
  • “Bump stock” ban: Bill SB1346 bans “bump stocks” which convert semiautomatic rifles to rapid fire machine guns.
  • Ban on possession of ammunition and gun magazines if guns taken away: Bill SB1200, permits judges to order that mentally unstable people whose guns are taken away also be barred from possessing ammunition and gun magazines.

Charged With a Gun Crime in California?

Illegally carrying a firearm in California is a serious offense. If you have been charged with a gun crime in California, you can face either a misdemeanor or felony charge along with heavy fines and years of imprisonment. If you face gun charges in California, consult a qualified San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney who can help mitigate penalties. Continue reading

In the saga of the Bundy wildlife refuge occupation, Federal prosecutors in Oregon filed a trial brief outlining their case against the occupiers. Prosecutors noted that that evidence teams recovered more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition. Defendants have claimed they were exercising their first amendment rights, but government prosecutors have rejected these defenses.  They note that “Taking a gun into a government office is not First Amendment protected activity.”

The Rights Enumerated in the Bill of Rights are Not Unlimited

The first 10 amendments in the U.S. Constitution is also called the “Bill of Rights.” But constitutional rights are not absolute, and do not automatically have a legal defense for a crime by simply citing a constitutional right.  In fact there are plenty of restrictions that have been imposed on other rights by the Supreme Court.    

The First Amendment prohibits the impediment of the free exercise of religion, speech, press, the right to peaceably assemble or the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.  Specifically, it says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

However, the Supreme Court over the years has placed many restrictions on these rights. You are free to exercise your religion for example, but not if it involves human and animal sacrifice.  One’s free speech may also not be protected if it falsely defames someone’s reputation, incites violence, threatens someone, reveals a trade or military secret and threatens national security, or if it is deemed to be obscene. When, where, and how speech is expressed is also restricted. The government has put limitations on who can speak, such as students, prisoners, and government employees. It can also restrict your speech if you are blocking a public throughway (ie. street) while doing it. While determining limitations on speech, courts must carefully weigh the value of protecting speech against the countervailing public interests, including public safety.   

The second amendment has been mostly invoked in the gun-rights debate as the “right to bear arms” and has been interpreted to include for the purposes of self defense. It states “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

While the NRA would have you believe otherwise, the second amendment is also limited. You cannot point a loaded gun at someone or use it to threaten them, for example. The case of District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 specified that we have a constitutional right to use firearms for self defense in our private homes. But the opinion did not suggest that right extended to other areas. Continue reading