If you are a gun enthusiast or you simply believe in the right to protect yourself with a firearm, you likely understand that such rights stem from the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, for many decades, lawmakers and citizens have been at odds about how to interpret that amendment.
Federal law permits certain gun-related actions and prohibits others. The state of California also has laws for controlling gun use, who may own a firearm and the kinds of weapons you may possess, and these laws are among the strictest in the country.
Banned weapons and other restrictions
While federal law has replaced waiting periods with so-called instant checks, California still requires a 10-day waiting period to purchase a weapon. The state also adds even more restrictions to the list of those people who are under a lifetime ban from owning a firearm, such as those whom a court deems incompetent to stand trial or acquits by reason of insanity. Even if you do not fall under these categories, you may not possess any of the following in California:
- A rifle shorter than 16 inches, a shotgun shorter than 18 inches or an unconventional pistol
- An assault weapon
- A cane gun
- A wallet gun
- A weapon with a multi-burst trigger activator
- A gun that others cannot immediately identify as a firearm
- Firearms that a metal-detector cannot recognize, such as those made of plastic or ceramic or those that do not provide accurate images when scanned
Penalties for violating state or federal gun laws can be quite steep and may include a ban on the future possession of a firearm. Additionally, certain factors, such as your proximity to a school when you are in possession of a gun, can have a profound effect on the outcome of your case if you are convicted of gun crimes.
Not only are gun laws different from state to state, but laws within a state often change rapidly. It may take a single event or an outcry from certain special interest groups to hurry a bill or amendment through the legislative process. For this reason, if you have questions or concerns about your rights to possess a firearm or you are facing charges for violating state or federal gun laws, you would be wise to reach out for experienced legal representation.