California prohibits certain people from possessing firearms, but even those who are legally able to possess firearms are still subject to many restrictions. Possessing certain types of firearms or possession in certain prohibited places can result in criminal charges.
Convictions for these crimes can result in serious penalties, including possible imprisonment and enormous fines. Felony convictions and convictions for certain misdemeanor offenses can also lead to people losing their rights to possess firearms.
Attorney for Firearms Possession Arrests in San Francisco
If you were arrested in Northern California for an alleged criminal offense involving possession of a firearm, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. [[$firm]] aggressively defends clients in communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Valley, and Coast.
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California Firearms Possession Crimes Information Center
- Which kinds of crimes can people be charged with for possessing firearms?
- Who cannot legally possess a firearm in California?
- Where can I learn more about firearm possession in San Francisco?
Types of Prohibited Firearm Possession Offenses in San Francisco County
California has numerous laws prohibiting certain kinds of firearms as well as laws on the locations where a firearm may be possessed. California Penal Code § 25400 establishes that a person commits the offense of carrying a concealed firearm when he or she does any of the following:
- Carries concealed within a vehicle that is under the person’s control or direction any pistol, revolver, or other firearms capable of being concealed upon the person;
- Carries a concealed pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon his or hers person; or
- Causes to be carried concealed within any vehicle in which the person is an occupant any pistol, revolver, or other firearms capable of being concealed upon the person.
A person commits the crime of carrying a loaded firearm in public under California Penal Code § 25850 if he or she carries a loaded firearm on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited area of unincorporated territory.
Carrying a concealed firearm and carrying a loaded firearm in public convictions are both punishable as felony offenses in the following cases:
- If the accused was previously convicted of any felony, or of any crime made punishable by a provision listed in California Penal Code § 16580;
- If the firearm is stolen and the alleged offender knew or had reasonable cause to believe that it was stolen;
- If the accused is an active participant in a criminal street gang; or
- If the accused is not in lawful possession of the firearm or the person is within a class of persons prohibited from possessing or acquiring a firearm.
If the offender has been convicted of a crime against a person or property, or of a narcotics or dangerous drug violation, carrying a concealed firearm and carrying a loaded firearm in public convictions that are punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
The same sentence is also applicable to any carrying a concealed firearm or carrying a loaded firearm in public offense involving both of the following conditions:
- The pistol, revolver, or other firearms capable of being concealed upon the alleged offender is loaded, or both it and the unexpended ammunition capable of being discharged from it are in the immediate possession of the person or readily accessible to that person; and
- The alleged offender is not listed with the Department of Justice pursuant to California Penal Code § 11106(c)(1) as the registered owner of that pistol, revolver, or other firearms capable of being concealed upon the person.
All other carrying a concealed firearm or carrying a loaded firearm in public convictions are punishable by up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
California Penal Code § 626.9, otherwise known as the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995, makes possession of a firearm in a place that an accused knows, or reasonably should know, is a school zone a felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison.
Under California Penal Code § 171c(a)(1), any person who brings a loaded firearm into, or possesses a loaded firearm within, the State Capitol, any legislative office, any office of the Governor or other constitutional officer, or any hearing room in which any committee of the Senate or Assembly is conducting a hearing, or upon the grounds of the State Capitol, can be sentenced to up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
California Penal Code § 171d makes bringing a loaded firearm upon or into, or possessing a loaded firearm upon or within, the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion or any other residence of the Governor, the residence of any other constitutional officer, or the residence of any Member of the Legislature punishable by one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
An offender can be sentenced to up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000 for a violation of either California Penal Code § 171.5 (firearm possession in an airport or a passenger vessel terminal) or California Penal Code § 171.7 (firearm possession in a public transit facility).
Under California Penal Code § 30610, possession of any .50 BMG rifle is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in county jail. A first violation, however, can be punishable by a fine of up to $500 if the alleged offender was found in possession of no more than two firearms in compliance with California Penal Code § 30905 and the alleged offender satisfies all of the following conditions:
- The alleged offender proves that he or she lawfully possessed the .50 BMG rifle prior to January 1, 2005;
- The alleged offender has not previously been convicted of a violation of this article; and
- The alleged offender was found to be in possession of the .50 BMG rifle within one year following the end of the .50 BMG rifle registration period established pursuant to California Penal Code § 30905.
There are some exceptions under the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 and the .50 Caliber BMG Regulation Act of 2004, which allow for limited lawful possession of a .50 BMG rifle.
It is important to note, however, that possession of a .50 BMG rifle can be charged as a separate count and be enhanced or just as an enhancement when the .50 BMG rifle was possessed during the commission of a separate crime.
Possession of Firearm by Prohibited Person Penalties in California
The California Department of Justice notes that state and federal law make it unlawful for the following persons to possess firearms:
Any person who is convicted of a felony, or any offense enumerated in California Penal Code § 29900 or California Penal Code § 29905;
- Any person who is ordered to not possess firearms as a condition of probation or other court order listed in California Penal Code § 29815(a) and California Penal Code § 29815(b);
- Any person who is convicted of a misdemeanor listed in California Penal Code § 29805;
- Any person who is adjudged a ward of the juvenile court because he or she committed an offense listed in California Welfare and Institutions Code § 707(b), an offense described in California Penal Code § 1203.073(b), or any offense enumerated in California Penal Code § 29805;
- Any person who is subject to a temporary restraining order or an injunction issued pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure § 527.6 or California Code of Civil Procedure § 527.8, a protective order as defined in California Family Code § 6218, a protective order issued pursuant to California Penal Code § 136.2 or California Penal Code § 646.91, or a protective order issued pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code § 15657.03;
- Any person who is found by a court to be a danger to himself, herself, or others because of mental illness;
- Any person who is found by a court to be mentally incompetent to stand trial;
- Any person who is found by a court to be not guilty by reason of insanity;
- Any person who is adjudicated to be a mentally disordered sex offender;
- Any person who is placed on a conservatorship because he or she is gravely disabled as a result of a mental disorder, or impairment by chronic alcoholism;
- Any person who communicates a threat to a licensed psychotherapist against a reasonably identifiable victim that has been reported by the psychotherapist to law enforcement;
- Any person who is taken into custody as a danger to self or others under California Welfare and Institutions Code § 5150, assessed under California Welfare and Institutions Code § 5151, and admitted to a mental health facility under California Welfare and Institutions Code § 5151, 5152, or certified under California Welfare and Institutions Code §§ 5250, 5260, and 5270.15;
- Any person who is addicted to the use of narcotics;
- Any person who is under indictment or information in any court for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
- Any person who has been discharged from the military under dishonorable conditions;
- Any person who is an illegal alien;
- Any person who has renounced his or her US Citizenship; or
- Any person who is a fugitive from justice.
California Firearms Possession Resources
California Firearms Laws Summary | 2016 | California Department of Justice — The California Firearms Laws Summary provides a general summary of state laws governing the common possession and use of firearms by people who are not law enforcement officers or members of the armed forces. Learn more about persons ineligible to possess firearms, sales and transfers of firearms, and reporting requirements for new California residents. You can also find information about the shipment of firearms, transportation of firearms, and openly carrying an unloaded handgun.
National Rifle Association of America Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) | California Gun Laws — The NRA-ILA is the lobbying arm of the NRA, the nonprofit organization that advocates for the rights of gun owners. On this section of its website, you can view gun laws in California as well as laws on purchase, possession, and carrying of firearms. You can also learn more about California’s concealed carry reciprocity with other states in the nation and read recent news about gun issues in the state.
Find a Firearms Possession Defense Lawyer in San Francisco, CA
Were you arrested for an alleged firearm possession crime anywhere in Northern California? Exercising your right to remain silent is important in order to preserve the chances of having your charges dropped or dismissed. Contact [[$firm]] to learn more about how to fight firearms possession charges in San Francisco.
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