Everyone shares a basic desire to protect themselves from and avoid unnecessary harm. Living in a populous state like California means having to interact with and encounter many people on a daily basis, and brings the risk of being harmed. Many people own guns to prevent this outcome, but California has many laws that criminalize gun ownership and use. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best way to combat charges related to any crime, including gun charges. The State is currently seeking to add more restrictions on gun possession that would make it even more difficult to stay within the bounds of the law, and potentially subject a number of innocent people to unfair charges. California has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, and it takes very little for the State to revoke a person’s ability to legally own or possess a gun. A bill is currently in front of the governor that would criminalize owning a gun following a conviction for a misdemeanor hate crime. Additionally, another bill is on the cusp of becoming law that would ban the open carry of long guns in unincorporated areas outside of cities. A discussion of these two bills, and where firearms are prohibited generally, will follow below.
California law prohibits certain people from possessing guns and ammunition. Examples of when an individual would fall under this prohibition include:
- anyone convicted of a felony;
- a person with two or more convictions for brandishing a weapon;
- persons convicted of certain misdemeanors; and
The bill currently before the governor would add misdemeanor convictions for hate crimes to this list. The ban on owning guns for designated misdemeanors is for 10 years following the conviction, and violations are classified as a crime subject to up one year in State prison or county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
The other bill under consideration would ban openly carrying unloaded firearms (rifles and shotguns), other than handguns, which is a separate offense, in a public place or street within unincorporated areas of a county. A conviction for violating this provision could mean up to a year in jail and/or a fine up to $1,000.
A conviction for either proposed offense would have long-term consequences, such as job and housing prospects. To avoid this harsh result, the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney should be secured to strongly fight any charge.
Where Firearms Currently Prohibited
Present law prohibits carrying unloaded handguns in public places or streets within an incorporated city or county, and in public places where firearms are prohibited generally, including:
- school grounds;
- government buildings;
- airports; and
- public transit facilities.
Further, carrying a loaded firearm anywhere is a crime, even if the gun is inoperable, but the defendant must know the gun was loaded in order to be convicted. Further, the open carry of weapons is generally prohibited except in unincorporated areas where open carry is not illegal, and this exception is what the proposed bill mentioned above is trying to eliminate.
The gun laws in California are highly complex and frequently change, making it easy to unknowingly violate the law. A criminal defense attorney is trained in defending gun charges, and, depending on the circumstances, can succeed in having charges reduced or dismissed.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
Criminal charges are scary, and the criminal justice system overwhelming. Do not face this very serious situation without an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side. The Manshoory Law Group, APC represents clients throughout Los Angeles on a wide range of criminal charges, both minor and serious, and provides a dedicated and detailed approach to get their clients the best possible result. Attorneys are available 24/7 to take your call. Contact us for a free consultation