Prohibited Weapon and
Firearm Offenses Attorney In San Diego
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 a weapon is used in a crime, the state adds additional, often very strict penalties to the criminal charges. If you have been accused of any type of crime related to the use or possession of a weapon, such as negligent discharge of a firearm or possession of a concealed weapon, lawyer Peter M. Liss can help. Call today for a free consultation.
Illegal Weapons in California
There are many specific state laws defining what weapons are illegal in our state. Some of the most common weapons people are charged with illegally possessing 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 to possess, 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 that they were doing anything wrong. If you have any questions about whether or not you can possess a certain weapon or carry it in a particular location, it is best to speak with a weapons defense attorney rather than possibly breaking the law.
Firearm Laws in California
While most adults over the age of 21 are allowed to possess handguns, rifles and shotguns in California, the laws involving who can possess guns and what types of firearms are prohibited are notoriously complex. This is why it is always advisable to contact a San Diego criminal defense attorney if you have any questions about local firearms laws. For example, machine guns, assault weapons, armor-piercing bullets and large ammunition feeding devices are generally prohibited. However, some types of now-outlawed firearms and other weapons may be possessed if owned before the current laws were passed.
Regardless of the type, everyone who owns guns must safely store them where a minor cannot access the weapon without obtaining parental permission first.
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. If you’re wondering how you’re supposed to transport guns without carrying them openly or concealed, then you probably won’t be surprised to learn that 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 guns laws are those dealing with minors. Those under 18 cannot possess a handgun or any other firearm that can be concealed on their person, unless they have their parent’s permission and the weapon is being used for certain sports, agricultural, theatrical or other such purposes. Possession of rifles and shotguns is legal for people of all ages, as long as the weapon cannot be concealed on their bodies.
Purchase of any type of gun or ammunition is prohibited for anyone under 18. Those under 21 can buy most rifles and shotguns (though not semi-automatic rifles), but cannot buy handguns from a firearms dealer. There are exceptions though for the legal sale of a handgun to those with valid hunting licenses or members of the armed forces. Similarly, parents and other immediate family members can legally sell or transfer handguns those over 18.
Because it’s easy to run afoul of these laws, it is often advisable to contact a San Diego firearm offenses attorney if you have any questions about gun possession, purchase or storage and minors.
Lost Second Amendment Rights
Additionally, some people may lose their right to carry firearms if they have a certain type of conviction 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 will also result in a firearms ban. 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 charges related to unlawful gun possession due to a criminal conviction should immediately contact a San Diego felon with a firearm attorney 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 or other concerned parties can also petition a judge to temporarily ban someone from owning a firearm under the state’s red flag laws if they believe that person may present a risk to themselves or others. 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
The specific penalties for criminal possession of a weapon in California vary greatly depending on what type of weapon you were arrested with and what specific law you have been accused of violating. Most weapons charges are punishable by jail or prison time, probation and fines. Additionally, you may also be prohibited from possessing certain weapons in the future.
Sentence Enhancements Related to Weapons
Using a weapon while committing a crime will often result in enhanced penalties under California law. For example, while simple assault charges are normally 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 will add a strike to your record under California’s three strikes rule.
It is also against the law to carry a gun while in possession of 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 an additional 10 years to your sentence. If the gun was fired, 20 years can be tacked on and if someone was seriously injured or killed, a life sentence may be added.
Fighting Weapons Charges
Because weapon charges are so complex, it is critical you do not speak to police without your Vista weapons attorney present, otherwise you may end up accidentally offering a confession rather than a defense to your case. That being said, there are many strong defenses against these crimes, such as:
- improper search and seizure on the part of the police
- having a valid concealed firearm permit
- having an authorized collection of historical weapons
- having a weapon you are legally permitted to own as a martial arts teacher
- possessing the weapon for the purposes of making a play or film
If you or a loved one has been accused of breaking a weapon law in San Diego County, please contact an experienced violent crime defense lawyer like Peter M. Liss. Call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free consultation in his Vista office located just across the street from the North San Diego County Jail and courthouse or his more central San Diego office just off the I-5.