California Gun Laws

California’s gun laws are among the most restrictive in the nation although nearly anyone can buy a gun without the need for a license. Only those individuals with a felony conviction, some misdemeanor convictions that involve violent conduct, minors under 18, drug addicts, and those suffering from mental illness may not buy, possess or own firearms.

Even though the Second Amendment to the US Constitution has been interpreted as providing the right to own firearms, the US Supreme Court also ruled that reasonable restrictions may be placed on the sale, transfer, use and ownership of firearms.

Some of California’s gun laws are summarized below:

Open Carry Laws

California does not allow you to carry a loaded handgun or long gun such as a rifle or shotgun in plain view in public areas. The exception is if you are at a shooting range or engaged in hunting on private property or a place of business or if you have a reasonable concern for your life. It is a misdemeanor to carry an open, unloaded handgun in public.

Concealed Carry Laws

You may only carry a concealed weapon if you have a permit to do so, including having a handgun in a holster. If your weapon is in your car, it must be in the trunk or in a locked and secure container.

Sale of Firearms

To buy a firearm under any circumstances requires you to produce a state-issued identification document or other proof of California residence and to buy a gun only from a licensed dealer. This includes private sales and purchases at gun shows. No resident of another state may purchase a firearm within California. You must also pass a written firearms safety test and produce a Handgun Safety Certificate, which is valid for 5 years.

To buy a firearm, you must complete an application, which includes a thumb print and an investigation by the California Department of Justice. There is also a 10-day waiting period. If approved, the gun dealer is obligated to register the transfer of ownership and retain the record. You then have 30 days to pick up the firearm or you will have to repeat the application process. Further, only one gun can be purchased per application per every 30 days.

Assault Weapons

You may not sell or transfer any assault weapon or .50 caliber BMG weapon. Any firearms listed as an assault weapon that is in the AK and AR-15 series or similar series or as listed in the Roberti Roos assault weapon law are banned. If you legally owned an assault weapon before it was banned or have a permit to possess one, these weapons may be kept at your residence or place of business. Also, some gun or shooting clubs may possess them under some circumstances. Further, only 10 round clips are permitted in this state.

Crimes Involving Firearms

Like most states, California treats crimes involving firearms very severely and will enhance the sentences in most criminal offenses if a firearm was used. For example, the use of a firearm is considered a deadly weapon if a crime is committed. This includes firing or pointing a gun at anyone or using it to club someone. There are also laws prohibiting you from shooting at an occupied car or dwelling or negligently discharging a firearm if it was likely to cause great bodily injury or death.

Sentencing enhancements for using a gun depend on the type of weapon used, your criminal history, if you were the one who used the gun and the nature of the underlying criminal offense. Under a number of laws, you could face an additional 10 years for using a gun in the commission of a crime, 20 years for firing a gun while committing a crime and 25 years to life if you killed or seriously injured someone with a gun.

Any felony you commit with a gun is also subject to being a “strike” under California’s three strikes law, which will double your sentence if it is a second strike and subject you to a mandatory minimum sentence of 25-years to life for a third strike.

The following are some of California’s crime crimes:

  • Carrying a loaded weapon (PC 12031)
  • Brandishing a weapon (PC 417)
  • Carrying a concealed weapon (PC 12025)
  • Carrying a loaded firearm (PC 12031)
  • Assault with a deadly weapon (PC 245(a)(1)
  • Felon with a firearm (PC 12021)
  • Grand theft firearm {PC 487(d)(2)}
  • Unlicensed sale of a firearm (PC 12070)
  • Armed robbery (PC 211)
  • Unlawful possession of a deadly weapon (PC 12020)
  • Unlawful possession of an assault weapon (PC 12280)

Immigration Consequences

For non-citizens, a gun crime has severe consequences. In some cases, a gun crime can be reduced o dismissed, but if not, you face an increased risk of deportation since most gun offenses are crimes of moral turpitude.

Call the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis

Any gun crime conviction can result in serious prison time and have long range or permanent adverse consequences on your life. If you have been charged with a gun crime, call the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis today for a free, confidential initial consultation at (213) 687-4412.