While gun possession is legal for many people, there are still laws that govern how firearms may be used, by whom, and when it can be used and possessed. If you use a firearm or possess one in the commission of a crime, it will enhance your sentence.
There are also laws that include weapons other than guns that are considered dangerous. These include knives, tear gas, grenades, brass knuckles, blackjacks, and martial arts weapons.
In most instances in California, you can buy a firearm without a license. Persons who may not possess one include convicted felons, those addicted to narcotics, who suffer from mental illness, under 18 years of age, or a conviction for certain violent misdemeanor offenses. If you fail to have one, you face a misdemeanor charge with a maximum sentence of up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine.
If you move to California and possess a handgun, you have 60 days to register the weapon with the Department of Justice.
You may only carry a concealed weapon if you are issued a concealed weapons permit after completing an approved safety course. Otherwise, the gun must be in plain sight but you may not carry it at all in a school zone or government building.
If you are carrying a weapon such as a revolver that is capable of being concealed on yourself or in a motor vehicle in which you are an occupant, you can be charged for unlawfully concealing a weapon. In an auto, the weapon must be securely locked in a container with a lock. It does not matter if the gun is incapable of being fired.
This is generally a misdemeanor with a one-year county jail sentence possibility and a fine up to $1,000.
It can be charged as a felony if the possessor had a felony conviction, knew the weapon was stolen, is an active member of criminal street gang, did not lawfully own the gun, or was prohibited from owning firearms for whatever reason.
A conviction can result in incarceration for up to 3 years in state prison.
Waving a firearm or dangerous weapon in a threatening manner is punishable by a minimum of 30 days in jail, unless the firearm was brandished in public or in front of a law enforcement officer in which case the penalties are more severe.
Unlicensed Sale or Transfer of Firearms
You are generally not permitted to do any of these activities unless you have a license or are exempt. The sale or transfer of firearms can be done by unlicensed persons but it must involve a licensed gun dealer.
Violation of this law is a misdemeanor, but it subjects the violator to 6 months in county jail and a fine up to $1,000 for each firearm that is illegally sold or transferred.
This offense refers to an assault committed with any type of deadly weapon that is capable of inflicting serious bodily harm. It can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the type of weapon used, the severity of the injury if any, and if the victim is a police officer or public worker.
You do not have to inflict a serious injury on someone; only that you had the intent and the capacity or ability to have done so.
A dangerous weapon includes knives, brass knuckles, blackjack, sword, or martial arts weapons such as “nunchucks.” It must be a weapon that is commonly used in an unlawful manner, but it may include other objects like a sharp pencil, rock, or bottle if it is used in such a manner that is likely to cause severe injury, such as stabbing someone in the eye or biting off their ear.
Great bodily harm includes broken limbs, black eyes, lacerations requiring stitches, stab wounds, severe burns, and others. Again, you need not have actually caused these types of injuries to be prosecuted.
In case you do inflict a serious injury, you could face an enhanced charge of an additional 3-6 years incarceration in state prison and a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law. If you receive a second strike, your sentence can be doubled. A third strike results in a prison sentence of 25-years to life.