San Diego Weapons Crimes Lawyer
The state of California has some of the strictest weapons laws in the country, prohibiting the possession of certain weapons and even banning some people from being able to own an otherwise legal weapon. When crimes involve weapon usage, the state adds additional, often very harsh penalties to the criminal charges. If you have been accused of a crime related to using or possessing a weapon, attorney Peter M. Liss can help. Call today for a free consultation.
Illegal Weapons in California
There are many specific state restrictions defining what weapons are illegal in our state. Some of the most common illegal weapons used in San Diego include:
- Billy clubs
- Telescoping Rods
- Brass knuckles
- Throwing stars
- Concealed knives
- Spring-loaded knives, such as switchblades
- Any weapon carried in a concealed fashion
- Pepper spray canisters larger than 2.5 ounces
- Prohibited guns
Weapons Free Zones
Even a weapon that is ordinarily legal, such as a stun gun, may be illegal to carry in certain areas, including schools, government buildings and airports. Because weapons charges are so complex in our state, it is unfortunately common for people to be arrested for a crime when they were unaware they were doing anything wrong. If you have any questions about whether or not you can possess a specific weapon at all or in a particular San Diego County location, speak with a weapons crimes lawyer rather than possibly breaking the law.
Firearm Charges in California
While most adults over the age of 21 are allowed to possess handguns, rifles and shotguns in California, the rules involving who can have guns and what types of firearms are prohibited are notoriously complex. These laws are so complex that contacting a San Diego criminal defense attorney is always advisable if you have any questions about local firearms laws. For example, while it is illegal to purchase new machine guns, assault weapons, armor-piercing bullets and large ammunition feeding devices, there are exceptions if the owner had these items before the passage of the current laws. Similarly, while it is legal to build your own gun, even with a 3D printer, you must obtain a serial number and apply it to the weapon within 10 days.
Regardless of the type, everyone who owns guns must safely store them where a minor cannot access the weapon without parental permission.
Transporting a Firearm in California
It’s worth mentioning that while open carrying guns is always illegal in California, carrying a concealed weapon is also a crime unless you have a concealed carry permit. As for how to transport guns without carrying them openly or concealed, the process is a bit complicated and involves locking the unloaded weapon in a locked container or the trunk of your car.
Juvenile Possession of Guns
Perhaps some of the most confusing areas of the state’s gun restrictions are those dealing with minors. Those under 18 cannot possess a handgun or any other firearm concealed on their person unless they have their parent’s permission and the minor will be using weapon for sports, agricultural, theatrical, or similar purposes. Possession of rifles and shotguns is legal for people of all ages, as long as the weapon is not concealed.
The law also prohibits anyone under 18 from purchasing any type of gun or ammunition. Those under 21 can buy most rifles and shotguns (though not semi-automatic rifles) but cannot purchase handguns from a firearms dealer. There are exceptions for the legal sale of a handgun to those with valid hunting licenses or members of the armed forces. Similarly, parents and immediate family members can legally sell or transfer handguns to those over 18.
Because it’s easy to run afoul of these laws, contacting a San Diego firearm offenses attorney is often advisable if you have any questions about gun possession, purchase, storage, and the laws surrounding firearm use by minors.
Lost Second Amendment Rights
Additionally, some people may lose their right to carry firearms if they have specific convictions on their criminal record. All felony convictions will result in this gun prohibition, but violent misdemeanor crimes, including gang crimes, domestic violence or hate crimes also result in firearms bans. If you’re in the military, this could essentially end your career in the service, even if you are not discharged, since service members frequently need to be able to handle firearms.
Anyone facing unlawful gun possession charges due to a criminal conviction should immediately contact a San Diego felon with a firearm attorney. Try not to say anything to the police without your lawyer present because it is very easy to accidentally say something that can harm your case when attempting to defend yourself against these accusations.
Temporary Firearm Bans
Family members, co-workers, teachers, school officials, employers and other concerned parties who believe someone may present a risk to themselves or others can petition a judge to temporarily ban someone from owning a firearm under the state’s red flag laws. A San Diego firearm offenses attorney may be able to help stop this process.
Finally, it’s worth adding that those who currently suffer from an addiction to narcotics cannot possess a gun, although they can regain possession of the weapon if they beat their addiction.
Penalties for Violating San Diego Weapons Laws
Penalties for criminal possession of a weapon in California vary dramatically depending on the weapon type and what law prosecutors accuse you of violating. Most weapons charges are punishable by jail or prison time, probation and fines. You may also be prohibited from possessing certain weapons in the future.
Sentence Enhancements Related to Weapons
Using a weapon while committing a crime often results in enhanced penalties in California. For example, while simple assault charges are ordinarily punishable by up to six months in jail, assault with a deadly weapon charges can carry a sentence of up to four years in prison and add a strike to your record under California’s three strikes rule.
It is also a crime to carry a gun while possessing certain drugs, including cocaine, heroin, PCP, meth and similar drugs. Doing so is a felony that could subject you to up to four years in prison.
Gun Possession and the 10-20-Life Rule
Under California’s 10-20-Life rule, carrying a gun while committing certain violent and sex crimes can add 10 years to your sentence. If you fired the gun, 20 years can be tacked on and if someone was seriously injured or killed, you could face a life sentence.