California Gun Laws

California gun laws

California takes its gun laws seriously, ensuring everyone who owns or wants to buy a gun knows the rules. This state has some of the strictest regulations in the country. If you're looking to purchase or own a firearm in California, it's essential to understand what these laws mean for you. At Olen Firm Criminal Defense Lawyers, we're here to guide you through the complexities of these laws to ensure your rights are protected.

In this guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about California gun laws. From purchasing a firearm legally to understanding open carry versus concealed carry, we've got you covered. We aim to provide you with the knowledge to navigate these laws confidently.

Overview of Firearm Regulations in California

California's gun laws are strict, with many rules that gun owners must follow. If you live in California, you need a Firearm Safety Certificate before you can buy a gun. This safety certificate shows that you know how to handle a firearm safely. Also, California bans some types of guns, like assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.

The state also keeps a close eye on who buys and sells guns. You can only purchase a gun from a licensed firearms dealer, and you can't just sell a gun to anyone you want. You must do a background check on the person buying the weapon. This helps keep guns away from people who should not have them.

The Process of Purchasing a Firearm Legally

The process of purchasing a firearm legally

To buy a gun in California, you must jump through several hoops. Some of the critical parts involved include:

Background Checks and Waiting Periods

When you buy a gun, California law says you have to wait ten days before you can take it home. This waiting period gives law enforcement time to do a thorough background check. They check to see if you've done anything that would stop you from having a gun, like certain crimes or mental health issues. For example, a convicted felon in CA cannot own a gun. Or, if you have a conviction for domestic violence, you might not be allowed to own a gun.

In these ten days, the California Department of Justice looked through various records. If everything checks out from the DOJ, you can get your firearm. But if something pops up, they may say you can't have a gun.

Required Documentation for Gun Ownership

It would help if you showed a few things to buy a gun in California. A California driver's license or ID is a must. This proves you live in the state. You also need your Firearm Safety Certificate to show you how to safely use a gun. This handgun safety certificate is crucial to owning a loaded firearm in California.

If you're not a U.S. citizen, you must show extra paperwork. This could be a green card or a visa. The state wants to make sure you're in the country legally before letting you buy a firearm.

Restrictions on Firearm Purchases

California doesn't let just anyone buy a gun. Some of the reasons why you might lose your gun rights and be placed on the gun prohibition list include:

  • You've been convicted of a felony;
  • You've been convicted of brandishing a firearm twice;
  • You've been convicted of assault with a weapon;
  • Barred by a federal law from possessing a gun;
  • You've been involuntarily committed twice in a year;
  • You are under the age of 18;
  • You acutely have a mental illness; and
  • You are addicted to drugs.

Dozens of misdemeanors are tied to a 10-year ban. A few common examples include:

  • Assault;
  • Battery;
  • Brandishing a firearm; and
  • Making criminal threats.

Reach out to us with any questions you might have.

Also, you can't buy more than one handgun in a 30-day period. This rule helps stop people from getting lots of guns quickly and then selling them to others without a license.

Carrying Weapons: Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry

Carrying weapons open carry vs. concealed carry

In California, walking around with a gun that people can see, known as open carry, is generally against the law. This is prohibited under CA Penal Code 26530, and a conviction could lead to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000.

Concealed carry is different. If you want to carry a concealed firearm, you need a CCW permit. Illegally concealing a weapon is banned under California Penal Code 25400. If you are convicted of illegally concealing a gun, you could face up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If you have a permit to carry a concealed handgun and follow all other required laws, you should not be charged or convicted.

California's Red Flag Law and Protective Orders

California's Red Flag Law lets family or law enforcement ask a judge to take guns away from someone who might be a danger. If the judge agrees, that person has to give up their weapons for some time under a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO).

Protective orders can also stop people from having guns. If someone is threatening or hurting you, you can ask for a protective order. If the court gives you one, the person you're afraid of can't have a gun while the order is in place.

The Role of Mental Health in Gun Ownership

The role of mental health in gun ownership

California takes mental health seriously when it comes to guns. If you've been in a mental health facility for being dangerous, you might lose your right to own a firearm. The state wants to make sure that people who might be at risk of hurting themselves or others don't have access to weapons.

Evaluations for Gun Ownership

Before you can own a gun, California may check your mental health history. They look to see if you've been in a mental health hospital against your will because you were a danger. If you have, you might not be able to get a gun.

But if you're doing well now, you can ask the court to say it's okay for you to own a gun. This process can take time, and you must show that you're no longer dangerous.

Prohibitions Due to Mental Health Conditions

If a court has said you're not fit to stand trial because of mental health, or if you've been found not guilty of a crime because of insanity, you can't have a gun. Also, if you've been in a mental health hold called a "5150," you can't have a firearm for five years.

Restoring Firearm Rights After a Mental Health Hold

If you've gotten better after a mental health hold, you can ask for your gun rights back. You need to show evidence that you're well now. This could be letters from doctors or proof that you've been stable for a while.

Storage Laws and Child Access Prevention

In California, there's a legal responsibility placed on individuals to securely store firearms, especially in environments where access by unauthorized individuals, particularly those prohibited by law, is possible. The law assesses several criteria: whether the individual had control over the domain where the firearm was stored, whether they were aware or should have been conscious of the risk that a person barred from gun possession might obtain it, whether such a person acquired the firearm, and if this access led to injury or illegal activity involving the gun.

In addition, the state enforces stringent child access prevention statutes that hold individuals criminally and civilly responsible for carelessly leaving firearms where minors could unsupervisedly access them. The law considers whether the firearm owner knowingly or should have recognized the potential for a child to access the gun, even if no access occurred. However, this liability is nullified if the gun owner takes reasonable measures to safeguard the firearm from potential access by a minor.

California Assault Weapons Ban

In California, it is illegal to own, possess, sell, distribute, or transfer an assault weapon except under particular situations. Assault weapons are controlled and effectively banned by California Penal Code Section 30600.

  • California considers an assault weapon to be anything falling under these categories:
    A centerfire rifle with semi-automatic action that can accept a magazine that detaches and includes at least one of several features: an outstanding pistol grip beneath the action, a stock with a thumbhole, a stock that can either fold or extend, any device that can launch grenades or flares, a muzzle device that diminishes flash, or a second grip at the front for the firing hand.
  • A centerfire rifle with a semi-automatic mechanism that comes with an integrated magazine able to hold more than ten rounds.
  • Any centerfire semi-automatic rifle that is shorter than 30 inches in total length.
  • Semi-automatic pistols that can accept a magazine not fixed within the pistol grip and feature any of the following: a barrel ready for attachments like a suppressor, a secondary grip for stability, a barrel shroud that protects the shooter from heat, or the ability to accept a magazine in a position other than the pistol grip.
  • Semi-automatic pistols equipped with a non-removable magazine that can hold over ten rounds.
  • Semi-automatic shotguns that have a folding or telescoping stock and a conspicuously protruding pistol grip or thumbhole stock, or those with a vertical handgrip.
  • Semi-automatic shotguns capable of using detachable magazines.
  • Shotguns that feature a revolving cylinder.

A conviction under this penal code is a felony. A felony conviction strips you of your gun rights. You could also have to spend up to eight years in county jail. Contact us for clarification on what is considered an assault weapon in CA.

Gun Ownership Rights Restoration

Sometimes, you can get your right to own a gun back. If the court took away your gun rights because of a prior criminal conviction, you might be able to restore them. You have to show that you've changed and are avoiding trouble with the law, including domestic violence, assault, and homicide.

However, getting your gun rights back under state law can be challenging. It would help if you convinced the court that you wouldn't be a danger to anyone. That is where our team can help you. Reach out to us for help getting your gun rights back.

What To Do If You Are Charged Under California Gun Laws

If California charges you with a gun law crime, don't try to handle it alone. First, stay calm and don't give up. You have rights, and a good lawyer can help you. A few key steps to follow include:

  1. Only talk to the police with a lawyer. Anything you say can be used against you.
  2. Contact Olen Firm Criminal Defense Lawyers right away. We know the laws and can start defending you fast.
  3. Write down everything you remember about the situation. This can help your lawyer understand what happened.
  4. Don't talk about the case with anyone but your lawyer. Even people you trust could end up telling the police what you said.
  5. Follow your lawyer's advice and make sure you show up for all of your court dates. We will control the narrative and put the best possible defense forward.

Remember, getting charged by a law enforcement agency isn't the same as being found guilty. With the right Los Angeles Gun Crimes Lawyer, you can clear your name or get a lighter punishment from a state or federal judge.

Reach Out To Our Los Angeles Gun Crimes Lawyer at Olen Firm Criminal Defense Lawyers

Reach out to our Los Angeles gun crimes lawyer at the Olen Firm

If you're dealing with gun charges or need to understand California gun laws better, Olen Firm Criminal Defense Lawyers is here for you. Our lawyers have the know-how and the grit to defend your rights. Everyone deserves a strong defense if state or federal law enforcement agencies charge them. We can fight to protect your right to possess firearms.

Don't let confusion about gun laws put you at risk. Contact us today to schedule a free case consultation.

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