Articles Tagged with gun laws

Across the country, more and more people are buying firearms. Some enjoy hunting, while others feel they need protection. Whatever the reason, if you wish to purchase and own a gun in the state of California, it is important that you are aware of and abide by the laws of the state in order to avoid problems with law enforcement. 

Getting a Gun

For starters, make sure any gun purchase is made through a licensed dealer, and be aware that there is a 10-day waiting period before you can take possession of the firearm. The exception to this is when transferring a firearm between parent and adult child, grandparent and adult grandchild, or between spouses. You must be 18 years old or older for a purchase, although anyone under the age of 21 may possess a handgun, except under certain exemptions, such as having a hunting license or working for law enforcement or the military. You will have to show a valid I.D. to make the purchase and show that you are in the country legally. To purchase a handgun, you will have to prove that you are a resident of the state, as well. 

Storing Weapons

Be aware that if a child gets hold of your weapon and has an accident that results in injuries or fatalities, you could be charged with a felony if the gun was not stored in a locked container or otherwise locked and inoperable.

Illegal Weapons

In California, the purchase, sale, manufacture, and import of large-capacity magazines are illegal. That means anything that can use more than 10 rounds is not allowed. The exception to this rule is for anything you may have owned and registered prior to 2000, assuming you were not prohibited at that time from owning a weapon or anything manufactured before 1899, which would be considered an antique. In general, assault weapons and their magazines may only be transferred or sold to licensed dealers or law enforcement departments. Those in violation of these rules are subject to both criminal and civil penalties as of 2023, according to SB 1327.

Unlawful Firearm Possession

There are a number of restrictions as to who may legally possess a firearm under California law.  Those restrictions include:

  • Those under age 18;
  • Those previously convicted of a felony;
  • Anyone addicted to narcotics;
  • Those with two or more misdemeanors related to firearms;
  • Anyone with an outstanding warrant;
  • People with certain mental health conditions.

While it is possible to get out of gun possession charges with only a misdemeanor, in some cases, offenders may face felony charges, resulting in three years behind bars and thousands of dollars in fines.  That’s on top of losing the right to possess firearms in the state forever. Continue reading

There are two types of Americans — those who cherish their rights to keep and bear arms, and those that want nothing to do with firearms. After a criminal conviction, your right to own a firearm could be eliminated. According to data from the Giffords Law Center, California has the strictest gun laws in the country. Therefore, a criminal arrest and conviction here may have even harsher implications on your ability to own a firearm.

Regardless of the crime with which you have been charged, the best chance you have at securing the most favorable outcome will be to work with a resourceful and seasoned attorney in your state. In California, residents that are arrested and charged with crimes, from misdemeanor offenses to serious felonies, can count on the legal counsel of the trusted and aggressive San Diego misdemeanor defense attorney David M. Boertje.

How Can a Misdemeanor Conviction in California Affect Your Rights? 

A felony conviction in the state of California means you will be unable to be near guns or legally own them, but a misdemeanor conviction is different. Misdemeanor offenses are considered less serious criminal acts than felonies. Then there are wobbler crimes. These crimes are not necessarily a misdemeanor or a felony. A prosecutor has discretion when considering what charges to bring, and they can decide if the details of your case warrant a misdemeanor or felony charge.

A conviction for a misdemeanor may not come with a restriction on your right to bear arms forever, but it could come with a restriction for a limited amount of time. Some convictions that come with a 10-year ban on owning a gun in California include the following:

  • Assault and battery
  • Sexual battery
  • Threatening public officials
  • Intimidating or threatening witnesses and victims
  • Discharging a gun in a grossly negligent way
  • Violation of a domestic protection order
  • Domestic violence
  • Unlawfully bringing a weapon into a courtroom
  • Threatening to cause physical bodily harm to another party

Criminal penalties alone can be hard enough to endure, but when your rights are restricted, this can be an incredible setback and make an already distressful situation even more challenging. 

When you face criminal charges, you may be able to defend yourself against them and secure the most favorable outcome of having your case dismissed or your charges dropped. To help you achieve your goals, working with a legal professional who knows the criminal justice system in California and how to get results is critical. Continue reading

People who are interested in purchasing a gun must do so lawfully because the repercussions that come with unlawful possession of a firearm in California are harsh. According to the Giffords Law Center, California has an A rating on gun laws and is the most restrictive state in the nation when it comes to gun legislation. This is why it is incredibly important to understand California’s strict gun laws so that if you purchase one, you do so legally. Once you own a gun, you must follow the laws to avoid any potential pitfalls that could result in you getting tangled up in the criminal justice system.

What California Gun Control Questions are Asked Most Often?

If you are unsure about issues like illegal possession of weapons, what is in the Gun Control Act, or how you are allowed to use your firearm, a knowledgeable California criminal defense lawyer can help. The following information may provide more clarity when it comes to the most common concerns and inquiries about gun ownership in California:

  • How old must you be to buy a gun?

People who are over the age of 18 are legally allowed to buy rifles and shotguns as well as ammunition for them. You have to be older than 21 years of age for all other types of legally available firearms.

  • How can you legally sell a firearm in California?

People who are older than 21 years of age must have a Federal Firearms License, must contact their local police station that they applied for the license, and have an appropriate location for selling firearms.

  • Who regulates gun ownership?

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution provides Americans the right to keep and bear arms and the federal government determines what people qualify to own specific types of firearms. The ability to carry in public, though, is regulated by the state and local governments.

  • What must you do to buy a firearm in California?

If you are interested in buying a firearm in California, you have to undergo a background check. You must file an ATF 4473 so the federal government can look into your background and see if there is anything that would prevent you from being able to purchase a firearm. Sellers use the information that the ATF 4473 brings about to determine a potential purchaser’s eligibility for buying a firearm.

Some states also require that people who want to purchase a firearm have a permit. In California, if you want to buy a shotgun or a rifle, a permit is a must. Also, California mandates taking a gun safety class and obtaining a passing grade on a written test before a person can purchase a gun. Continue reading

According to Graham Barlowe, the Special Agent in Charge of the Sacramento office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, guns are considered just as valuable as cash or jewelry in a home break in. While referring to a recent string of robberies in our state’s capital Barlow stated, “Cash is extremely valuable because it can get you a number of things, but of the commodities that we find that people that are involved in criminal activity are looking for, guns are very high on the list.” At least seven gun stores have been targeted for burglaries in that area this summer.

It is reported that over 34 guns are reported lost or stolen in California every day, adding up to more than 12,000 guns a year. These stolen guns are likely used for future robberies, homicides, or gang activity. In fact, most of the guns being sold in the streets illegally are probably stolen guns that were legally purchased.

Click on this data analysis to see how many guns were reported lost or stolen to California law enforcement agencies from 2010-2015.

A Miramar College adjunct professor has filed a lawsuit against the school claiming he did not  get a promised full-time faculty spot after he raised concerns about firearms that were missing or unregistered at the school. The school happens to have a firing range for the San Diego police academy. Jim Soeten is a part-time professor filed a claim with the school on February 5. It was rejected by the college on March 19, to which Soeten and his lawyer gave notice of a formal lawsuit.

Back in October 2014, another faculty member, Jordan Omens, was disciplined for bringing a firearm to a meeting (Omens was placed on leave after the incident). Soeten had also complained to the school that other faculty members were illegally selling ammunition to students. In his lawsuit, Soeten says that more than 30 firearms have been found by college officials in the office area and workspace that were not owned by the school. He also claims that one gun was found to be registered to former San Diego Police Chief and Mayor Jerry Sanders. The lawsuit further claims that Soeten was told to keep quiet about the unaccounted-for firearms.

Guns in Schools in California: Exemptions

I was recently reported in the news that California is once again considering legislation that would completely ban concealed carry guns at colleges and schools in the state. Senate Bill 707, was introduced by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis). The idea for the bill came from university and college police, who say school officials should have more control over campus safety. Democrats were in support and Republicans opposed it, but lawmakers approved the measure in early September. The Bill is now headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.  If he signs it, it will become law.

California’s “Gun-Free School Zone Act” (California Penal Code 626.9)

California already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country that cover gang-related activities, weapons one is not allowed to own (ie. assault rifles), and who may or may not purchase a gun. What you may not realize, however, is that current California law makes it illegal to possess a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school or college campus without permission from administrators. See CA Penal Code 626.9 (enacted in 1995). The law does include exemptions for retired law enforcement officers and those with concealed carry permits.  

Penalties for violation include a two to five year imprisonment. Discharging a firearm in a school zone raises that sentence to five to seven years.

Senate Bill 707 would basically expand this law and prohibit those who do have a conceal and carry permit from bringing a gun within 1000 feet from schools and universities.

California Concealed Firearm Permits (California Penal Code 26150 & 26155)

It is normally a crime to carry a loaded or unloaded gun in public in California unless you have a permit.  You may be able to apply for a permit with the state if:

  • You are determined to have good moral character (ie. no prior convictions);
  • Good cause exists because you can demonstrate you and your family are in immediate danger;
  • You meet legal residency requirements;
  • You have completed an acceptable gun safety course.   

A concealed gun must still be a legal gun. California bans the possession of assault weapons and rifles. See California Penal Code 30600. Additionally, a permit for conceal and carry may not necessarily carry over to other states if you are traveling. Some states have reciprocity with others. California in particular, does not recognize out-of-state conceal and carry permits. Continue reading

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