Understanding California’s 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.

Defending You Against Firearms Possession Charges

If you are facing charges related to the possession of a gun, the experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office of David M. Boertje can help.  Schedule a confidential consultation in our San Diego office today.  

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