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# 414 Gun control laws

mp3 #414 Gun Control Laws (mp3 file)


Law enforcement officers investigating a crime may ask you questions without arresting you. Volunteering information can lead to your arrest. If you suspect you may be the subject of an investigation, you should IMMEDIATELY consult with a criminal attorney to avoid incriminating yourself. Continue here to be referred to an experienced and insured criminal defense attorney:


California's gun control laws are very lengthy and detailed, so this SmartLaw message cannot describe them all. However, the state Department of Justice publishes a 37-page booklet which is entitled "California Firearm Laws." This booklet can be found on the Department of Justice Office of Attorney General website at http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/firearms/pdf/cfl2013.pdf A free handbook containing basic firearm safety information is also available from the Department of Justice at the same web address. For more information regarding these and other publications, you can contact the California Department of Justice at 916-263-4887.

This SmartLaw message will discuss the following 18 questions:

1-What is a firearm?

2 -What is a handgun?

3-What is a sawed-off shotgun or rifle?

4-What is a machine gun?

5-What are assault weapons?

6-What is a firearm silencer?

7-What is a sniperscope?

8-May everyone possess firearms and ammunition?

9-May you use a firearm in defense of life and property?

10-May you carry a concealed handgun on your person or in your vehicle?

11-May you carry a firearm in a public place?

12-May you carry a firearm in your home or business?

13-Are there restrictions on the sale of firearms?

14-Are there restrictions on the shipping of firearms?

15-Are there other prohibited acts with firearms?

16-What is the basic firearms safety certificate course?

17-How can you handle and store firearms safely? And,

18-May minors buy or possess firearms?

First, what is a firearm?

 The term "firearm" includes rifles, shotguns, revolvers, pistols, or any other device designed to be used as a weapon, from which a projectile is expelled by the force of any explosion or other form of combustion. The term "firearm" also includes the frame or receiver of any such weapon. Bb guns and pellet guns are not considered to be firearms under this definition.

Next, what is a handgun?

The term "handgun" is any pistol, revolver, or other firearm which is capable of being concealed upon the person, that has a barrel length of less than 16 inches. A "handgun" is also any device that has a barrel length of 16 inches or more, which is designed to be interchanged with a barrel less than 16 inches.

Next, what is a sawed-off shotgun or rifle?

Sawed-off shotguns have a barrel length of less than 18 inches, or an overall length of less than 26 inches. Sawed-off rifles have a barrel length of less than 16 inches, and an overall length of less than 26 inches. It is a crime in California to be in possession of a sawed-off shotgun or rifle.

Next, what is a machine gun?

A machine gun is any firearm that shoots more than one shot automatically (without manual reloading) by a single function of the trigger. It is a crime in California to possess a machine gun.

Next, what are assualt weapons?

Assault weapons are certain designated semiautomatic rifles, shotguns and pistols. They are listed in California penal code section 12280, and they are popularly known as Uzi-type weapons. It is a crime to possess assault weapons in California, unless they were lawfully acquired before June 1, 1989, and they have been properly registered with the state department of justice.

Next, what is a firearm silencer?

A firearm silencer is a device used in silencing, diminishing or muffling the report or sound of a firearm when it is fired. It is a crime in California to possess a silencer for firearms.

Next, what is a sniperscope?

A sniperscope is a device for use on a firearm, which enables the operator to detect objects during the nighttime, using a projected infrared light source and an electronic telescope. In California it is a crime to possess a sniperscope.

Next, may everyone possess firearms and ammunition?

No, there are many people who may not possess any firearm or ammunition. It is a crime in California for any person who has been previously convicted of a felony, or of certain misdemeanors, or anyone who is addicted to a narcotic drug, to possess any type of firearm or ammunition. People convicted of certain other misdemeanors may not possess any firearm for 10 years after their conviction of such crimes. Juveniles who commit certain offenses may not possess any firearms or ammunition until they reach 30 years of age. Certain mental patients may not possess any firearm or ammunition.

Next, may you use a firearm in defense of life and property?

The answer to this question is that it all depends on the circumstances, so there can be no one correct answer. For example, an assault with fists does not justify the use of a firearm or other deadly weapons in self-defense, unless the person being assaulted believes, and a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances would also believe, that the assault is likely to inflict great bodily injury. The use of excessive force to defend against an assault may result in civil or criminal penalties.

You may defend your home against anyone who attempts to enter your home in a violent manner, and who intends to do violence to any person in the home. The amount of force that you may use in resisting such entry, is limited to that which would appear necessary to a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances to resist the violent entry. The occupant of a home may use a firearm when resisting the intruder's attempt to commit a forcible and life-threatening crime against anyone in the home, but only if a reasonable person in the same or similar situation would believe that the intruder intends to commit a forcible and life-threatening crime (such as murder, mayhem, rape, or robbery) and there is imminent danger of such crime being accomplished, and the occupant acts under the belief that use of a firearm is necessary to save himself or herself or another from death or great bodily injury. Great bodily injury means a significant or substantial physical injury.

Next, may you carry a concealed handgun on your person or in your vehicle?

No, it is a crime in California to carry a concealed handgun on your person or in your vehicle, unless you have a police permit to do so. However, a firearm carried openly from a belt or in a holster is not considered to be concealed. Also, if a firearm is locked in your vehicle's trunk, or in a locked container inside your vehicle, it is not considered to be concealed. You may not carry a firearm in your utility or glove compartment, however. Even if you carry your firearm openly, your firearm may not be loaded. Under certain circumstances, you may obtain a license or permit to carry a concealed handgun or other firearm, from the sheriff of the county, or the chief of police, where you live.

Next, may you carry a loaded firearm in a public place?

No, you may not. It is a crime in California to carry a loaded firearm on your person, or in any vehicle, while in any public place, or on any public street, or in any place where it is unlawful to discharge a firearm. A firearm is considered to be loaded when there is a live cartridge or shell in, or attached in any manner to the firearm, including, but not limited to, the firing chamber, magazine, or clip. A muzzle-loading firearm is considered to be loaded when it is capped or primed, and has a powder charge and ball or shot in the barrel or cylinder. A police officer may inspect any firearm on your person or in your vehicle, to determine if it is loaded. If you refuse inspection, you may be arrested.

Next, may you carry a firearm in your home or business?

Yes, if you are age 18 or older, and you are not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm, you may keep and carry a firearm, or have a firearm that is loaded, at your place of residence, including a temporary residence, campsite, or on private property you either own or lawfully possess. Also, if you are engaged in a lawful business (including non-profit organizations), or if you are an officer, employee, or authorized agent of the business, you may possess a loaded firearm within the place of business. Again, you must be age 18 or older, and not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm. However, if your home or business site is in a state or federal park or game preserve, you may be prohibited from possessing a handgun or firearm, whether loaded or unloaded.

Next, are there restrictions on the sale of firearms?

Yes, there are restrictions. It is unlawful for a person who is not a licensed firearms dealer to sell, loan, or otherwise transfer a firearm to another non-licensed person, unless the sale, loan, or transfer is completed through a licensed dealer or law enforcement agency. There are exceptions to this general rule, such as sales or transfers between parent and child, or between grandparent and grandchild, but people who receive a concealable firearm in this way must obtain a basic firearm safety certificate, and report possession within 30 days to the state department of justice on a required form. Another exception is the infrequent sale of handguns, meaning five or fewer sales per year, but even these infrequent sales must still be completed through a licensed dealer.

When you buy a handgun or concealable firearm from a dealer or pawnbroker, you must sign the dealer's register of firearm purchases, giving your home address and your date of birth. The dealer sends a copy to the state department of justice in Sacramento and to the chief of police or sheriff in the city or county where you live. There is a waiting period of 10 days after your application for purchase, before you can receive your concealable firearm. There is also a 10-day waiting period before you can purchase a rifle or shotgun.

Next, are there restrictions on the shipping of firearms?

Yes, there are restrictions. Long guns such as rifles or shotguns may be mailed through the u. S. Postal service, but handguns may not be sent through the u.s. postal service. A common carrier, or a contract carrier, must be used to ship a handgun.

Federal and state laws generally prohibit carrying any firearm or ammunition on your person, aboard any commercial passenger airplane. Similar restrictions may also apply to other common carriers such as trains, buses, and ships.

Next, are there other prohibited acts with firearms?

Yes, there are. For example, it is a crime in California to obliterate or alter the identification marks placed on any firearm, including the make, model, or serial number; or to buy, sell, or possess such a firearm.

It is also a crime to bring a firearm onto the grounds of, or into the buildings of, a public or private school, college, or university. It is a crime to discharge a firearm at a residence, building, vehicle, or aircraft, whether it is occupied or not. It is a crime to discharge a firearm from a motor vehicle. It is a crime to draw or exhibit a firearm, that is either loaded or unloaded, in a threatening manner, except in self-defense, so that a reasonable person would be apprehensive or in fear of bodily harm. It is also a crime to draw or exhibit a lasers cope that projects a colored target on a person, in a threatening manner, except in self-defense. A laser scope is a portable battery-powered device, capable of being attached to a firearm, and projecting a laser light at a distance.

Next, what is the basic firearms safety certificate course?

Since 1994, you must possess a basic firearm safety certificate before receiving a handgun through a sale or transfer. The course consists of two to four hours of instruction on handguns, including safe use, handling and storage; methods of child-proofing handguns; laws about carrying and handling; and responsibilities of ownership. Information about where to attend a basic firearm safety course, may be obtained from firearms dealers, organizations such as the national rifle association, or the state department of justice.

Next, how can you handle and store firearms safely?

In California, it is a crime if you keep a loaded firearm where a child obtains it, and uses it improperly. All firearms should be kept unloaded, and stored in a locked container. Ammunition should be stored in a location separate from the firearm. Trigger locking devices, and locked firearm safes and cabinets, are also helpful for safe storage.

When you handle a firearm, never point it at yourself or others. Never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot; until then, keep your trigger finger around the grip of the gun. Always keep the firearm unloaded until you are ready to use it. If you do not know how to open the gun's action safely, to see if a firearm is loaded or not, ask someone who knows how to check it for you.

In conclusion, may minors buy or possess firearms?

It is a crime in california for a firearms dealer to sell a handgun to any person under the age of 21, or any firearm to any person under the age of 18. It is also a crime to sell ammunition to any person under age 18. It is also a crime for a person under the age of 18 to possess a handgun or live ammunition, unless an exception applies, such as:

1--the minor is accompanied by his or her parent or legal guardian, and the minor is actively engaged in a lawful recreational sporting, ranching, or hunting activity, or in a motion picture, television, or other entertainment event, or

2--the minor is accompanied by a responsible adult, and has. Prior written consent of his or her parent or legal guardian, and the minor is involved in one of the activities that have just been described, or,

3--the minor is at least 16 years of age, has prior written

Consent of his or her parent or legal guardian, and the minor is involved in one of the activities just described.

Please remember that this SmartLaw message does not include everything contained in California’s gun control laws. For additional information, consult the California penal code beginning at section 12000, and order from the state department of justice, the booklets described at the beginning of this SmartLaw message.

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