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California Firearms Laws, 2005

California Firearms Laws


DEFINITIONS

Firearms

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 includes the frame or receiver of any such weapon. (Penal Code § 12001.)

For the purposes of sections 12025 and 12031, the term firearm also includes any rocket, rocket propelled projectile launcher, or similar device containing any explosive or incendiary material whether or not the device is designed for emergency or distress signaling purposes. (Penal Code § 12001.)

Handguns

A handgun is any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person that has a barrel length of less than 16 inches. The term also applies to 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. (Penal Code § 12001(a).)

Exceptions

The term firearm does not apply to a federally defined “antique” firearm for the purpose of dealer licensing requirements, sales or loans between private parties, or requirements to obtain a Handgun Safety Certificate pursuant to Penal Code sections 12070, 12071, subdivisions (b) (c) or (d) of 12072, or 12073. The term firearm does not apply to federally defined “curio” or “relic” long guns over 50 years old for the purpose of transfers between private parties. (Penal Code §§ 12001(e), 12078(t)(2).)

1. PROHIBITED FIREARMS, AMMUNITION, AND RELATED DEVICES

It is unlawful for any person to own, possess, lend, manufacture, import, sell, or offer to sell any short-barreled shotgun or short-barreled rifle, any firearm that is not immediately recognizable as a firearm, any camouflaging firearm container, any cane or wallet gun, any undetectable firearm, any ammunition that contains or consists of a flechette dart, any bullet that contains or carries an explosive agent, any zip gun, any unconventional pistol, any multiburst trigger activator, any nunchaku, any metal knuckles, any belt buckle knife, any leaded cane, any lipstick case knife, any cane sword, any shobi-zue, any air gauge knife, any ballistic knife, any shuriken, any writing pen knife, and any metal military practice handgrenade or metal replica handgrenade. It is unlawful for any person to carry a concealed dirk or dagger. (Penal Code §§ 12001.5, 12020(a)(1).)

It is unlawful for any person to commercially manufacture or cause to be commercially manufactured, or knowingly import into the state for commercial sale, keep for commercial sale, or offer or expose for commercial sale, any hard plastic knuckles. (Penal Code § 12020.1.)

It is unlawful for any person to manufacture, cause to be manufactured, import into the state, keep for sale, or offer or expose for sale, or give or lend, any large-capacity magazine. (Penal Code § 12020(a)(2).)

A short-barreled shotgun means a firearm designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell that has a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length or an overall length of less than 26 inches; any weapon made from a shotgun which meets the barrel length or overall length criteria; any device which may be restored to fire a fixed shotgun shell and which meets the barrel length or overall length criteria; or any part or combination of parts designed and intended to convert a device into a short-barreled shotgun or which would permit an individual to readily assemble a short-barreled shotgun. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(1).)

A short-barreled rifle means a rifle having a barrel length of less than 16 inches or an overall length of less than 26 inches; any weapon made from a rifle which meets the barrel length or overall length criteria; any device which may be restored to fire a fixed cartridge and which meets the barrel length or overall length criteria; or any part or combination of parts designed and intended to convert a device into a short-barreled rifle or which would permit an individual to readily assemble a short-barreled rifle. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(2).)
A camouflaging firearm container means a container designed to enclose a firearm, making it unrecognizable, and is capable of being fired by external controls while enclosed in the container. The term excludes camouflage gear used in hunting. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(9).)
A cane gun means any firearm mounted or enclosed in a stick, staff, rod, crutch, or similar device designed to be, or capable of being used as an aid in walking, if such firearm may be fired while mounted or enclosed therein. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(5).)
A wallet gun means any firearm mounted or enclosed in a case resembling a wallet, designed to be, or capable of being carried in a pocket or purse, if such firearm may be fired while mounted or enclosed in such case. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(4).)
An undetectable firearm means any weapon (after grips, stocks and magazines are removed) which is less detectable than the security test devices which are used to calibrate and set walk-through metal detectors; or a weapon which has a major component made of barium sulfate or other compounds which do not generate an image accurately depicting the component on the x-ray machines commonly used at airports. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(22).)
A flechette dart means a dart one inch in length that is capable of being fired from a firearm and has tail fins that take up approximately five-sixteenths of an inch of the body. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(6).)
A zip gun means a weapon or device made or altered to expel a projectile by the force of an explosion or other form of combustion which was not imported by a person licensed pursuant to federal law, not designed as a firearm by a manufacturer licensed pursuant to federal law and on which no federal tax was paid nor exemption from federal tax granted. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(10).)
An unconventional pistol means a firearm that does not have a rifled bore and has a barrel or barrels less than 18 inches in length and an overall length of less than 26 inches. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(12).)
A multiburst trigger activator means a device designed or redesigned to be attached to a semiautomatic firearm which allows the firearm to discharge two or more shots in a burst by activating the device, or a manual or power-driven trigger activating device constructed so that when attached to a semiautomatic firearm it increases the rate of fire of that firearm. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(23).)
The term bullet containing or carrying an explosive agent does not include tracer ammunition manufactured for use in shotguns. (Penal Code § 12020(b)(6).) A dirk or dagger means a knife or other instrument with or without a handguard that is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury. A nonlocking folding knife, a folding knife not prohibited by section 653k, or a pocketknife, is considered a dirk or dagger only if the blade of the knife is exposed and locked into position. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(24).)
A nunchaku means an instrument consisting of two or more sticks, clubs, bars or rods to be used as handles, connected by a rope, cord, wire, or chain. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(3).)
A metal knuckle means a device or instrument made wholly or partially of metal to be worn in or on the hand while striking a blow to increase the force of the impact. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(7).)
The term hard plastic knuckles means any device or instrument made wholly or partially of plastic that is not a metal knuckle as defined in paragraph (7) of subdivision (c) of Section 12020, that is worn for purposes of offense or defense in or on the hand, and that either protects the wearer's hand while striking a blow or increases the force of impact from the blow or injury to the individual receiving the blow. The plastic contained in the device may help support the hand or fist, provide a shield to protect it, or consist of projections or studs that would contact the individual receiving a blow. (Penal Code § 12020.1.)
A ballistic knife means a device that propels a knifelike blade as a projectile by means of a coil spring, elastic material, or compressed gas. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(8).) A shuriken means an instrument without handles consisting of metal having three or more radiating points with one or more sharp edges, used as a weapon for throwing. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(11).)
A belt buckle knife means a knife which is an integral part of a belt buckle and has a blade of a least 2-1/2 inches in length. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(13).) A lipstick case knife means a knife enclosed within and made an integral part of a lipstick case. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(14).)
A cane sword means a cane, stick, staff, rod, pole, or similar device having a concealed blade that may be used as a sword. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(15).)
A shobi-zue means a staff, crutch, rod, or pole concealing a knife or blade which may be exposed by a flip of the wrist or mechanical action. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(16).)
A leaded cane means a staff, crutch, stock, rod, pole or similar device unnaturally weighted with lead. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(17).)
An air gauge knife means a device that appears to be an air gauge, but has a concealed pointed metallic shaft designed to be a stabbing instrument when exposed by mechanical action or gravity, and locks into place when extended. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(18).)
A writing pen knife means a device that appears to be a writing pen, but has a concealed pointed metallic shaft designed to be a stabbing instrument when exposed by mechanical action or gravity, and locks into place when extended. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(19).)
A metal military practice handgrenade or metal replica handgrenade means a device that is readily usable as a grenade or may be easily modified for ready use as a grenade, and does not include any plastic toy handgrenade or any metal military practice handgrenade that is a relic, curio, memorabilia, or display item that has been filled with a permanent inert substance or has otherwise been permanently altered in a manner that prevents ready modification for use as a grenade. (Penal Code §§ 12020(a), 12020(b)(15).)
A large capacity magazine means any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds, but shall not be construed to include a feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds, a tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm, or a .22 caliber tube ammunition feeding device. (Penal Code § 12020(c)(25).)

Exceptions

The general prohibition in this section does not apply to any instrument, ammunition, weapon, or device other than a short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun that is found and possessed by a person who is not prohibited by law from possessing firearms or ammunition and who possessed the instrument, ammunition, weapon, or device no longer than was necessary to transport it to a law enforcement agency for disposition according to law.
In the case of a firearm, prior notice must be given to the law enforcement agency prior to transporting it to that agency for disposition, and the firearm must be transported unloaded and in a locked container, as defined by Penal Code section 12026.2(d). (Penal Code §§ 12020(b)(15) and (16).)
The general prohibition in this section does not include antique firearms. An antique firearm is defined as any firearm that was manufactured in or before 1898 and is not designed or redesigned to use rimfire or conventional center fire ignition with fixed ammunition. This includes any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system or replica thereof, regardless of the date of manufacture. Firearms manufactured in or before 1898 that use fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade are also considered antiques. (Penal Code § 12020(b)(5).)
This general prohibition also does not include any firearm or ammunition that is a curio or relic as defined in section 478.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations and is in the possession of a person permitted to possess such items pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with section 921) of Title 18 of the United States Code and the regulations issued pursuant thereto. (Penal Code § 12020(b)(7).)

Machineguns

It is unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale, possess, or knowingly transport any machinegun. (Penal Code § 12220.)
The term machinegun means any weapon that shoots or is designed to shoot more than one shot automatically (without manual reloading) by a single function of the trigger. The term also includes any frame or receiver of a machinegun and any part or combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting an otherwise legal weapon into a machinegun. The term also includes any weapon deemed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives as readily convertible to a machinegun under Chapter 53 (commencing with section 5801) of Title 26 of the United States Code. (Penal Code § 12200.)
These prohibitions do not apply to (a) persons having a permit or license issued by the California Department of Justice to possess, transport, or sell machineguns (Penal Code §§ 12230, 12231, 12233, 12250); or (b) federal or state military or naval forces or law enforcement officers acting within the scope of their duties. (Penal Code §12201.)

Assault Weapons and .50 BMG Rifles

It is a felony for any person to manufacture, distribute, transport, import into California, or keep or offer for sale, or give or lend, an assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle. (Penal Code § 12280.) Any person who lawfully possesses an assault weapon must have registered it as such with the Department of Justice. Any person who lawfully possessed a .50 BMG rifle as of January 1, 2005 must register it with the Department of Justice by April 30, 2006. (Penal Code § 12285.) The term assault weapon means the following designated semiautomatic firearms as defined by Penal Code section 12276: (a) All of the following specified rifles: (1) All AK series including, but not limited to, the models identified as follows:
(A) Made in China AK, AKM, AKS, AK47, AK47S, 56, 56S, 84S, and 86S.
(B) Norinco 56, 56S, 84S, and 86S.
(C) Poly Technologies AKS and AK47.
(D) MAADI AK47 and ARM.
(2) UZI and Galil.
(3) Beretta AR-70.
(4) CETME Sporter.
(5) Colt AR-15 series.
(6) Daewoo K-1, K-2, Max 1, Max 2, AR 100, and AR110C.
(7) Fabrique Nationale FAL, LAR, FNC, 308 Match, and Sporter.
(8) MAS 223.
(9) HK-91, HK-93, HK-94, and HK-PSG-1.
(10) The following MAC types:
(A) RPB Industries Inc, sM10 and sM11.
(B) SWD Incorporated M11.
(11) SKS with detachable magazine.
(12) SIG AMT, PE-57, SG 550, and SG 551.
(13) Springfield Armory BM59 and SAR-48.
(14) Sterling MK-6.
(15) Steyer AUG.
(16) Valmet M62S, M71S, and M78S.
(17) Armalite AR-180.
(18) Bushmaster Assault Rifle.
(19) Calico M-900.
(20) J&R ENG M-68.
(21) Weaver Arms Nighthawk.
(b) All of the following specified pistols:
(1) UZI.
(2) Encom MP-9 and MP-45.
(3) The following MAC types:
(A) RPB Industries Inc, sM10 and sM11.
(B) SWD Incorporated M-11.
(C) Advance Armament Inc, M-11.
(D) Military Armament Corp. Ingram M-11.
(4) Intratec TEC-9.
(5) Sites Spectre.
(6) Sterling MK-7.
(7) Calico M-950.
(8) Bushmaster Pistol.
(c) All of the following specified shotguns:
(1) Franchi SPAS 12 and LAW 12.
(2) Striker 12.
(3) The Streetsweeper type S/S Inc, SS/12.
(d) Any firearm declared by the court pursuant to section 12276.5 to be an assault weapon that is specified as an assault weapon in a list promulgated pursuant to section 12276.5.
(e) The term “series” includes all other models that are only variations, with minor differences, of those models listed in subdivision (a), regardless of the manufacturer.
(f) This section is declaratory of existing law, as amended, and a clarification of the law and the Legislature’s intent which bans the weapons enumerated in this section, the weapons included in the list promulgated by the Attorney General pursuant to section 12276.5, and any other models which are only variations of those weapons with minor differences, regardless of the manufacturer. The Legislature has defined assault weapons as the types, series, and models listed in this section because it was the most effective way to identify and restrict a specific class of semiautomatic weapons.

The term “assault weapon” also means any firearm that falls under one of the following definitions pursuant to Penal Code section 12276.1: (1) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:
(A) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon.
(B) A thumbhole stock.
(C) A folding or telescoping stock.
(D) A grenade launcher or flare launcher.
(E) A flash suppressor.
(F) A forward pistol grip.
(2) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
(3) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches.
(4) A semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:
(A) A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer.
(B) A second handgrip.
(C) A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel that allows the bearer to fire the weapon without burning his or her hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel.
(D) The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip.
(5) A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
(6) A semiautomatic shotgun that has both of the following:
(A) A folding or telescoping stock.
(B) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, thumbhole stock, or vertical handgrip.
(7) A semiautomatic shotgun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine.
(8) Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder.

The following definitions shall apply relative to defining assault weapons: (1) "Magazine" shall mean any ammunition feeding device. (2) "Capacity to accept more than 10 rounds" shall mean capable of accommodating more than 10 rounds, but shall not be construed to include a feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds. (3) "Antique firearm" means any firearm manufactured prior to January 1, 1899.

Possession, Transport, Sale, and Manufacture of Assault Weapons and .50 BMG Rifles

A person may not possess or transport an assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle, as defined, unless the weapon has been registered as an assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle with the Department of Justice, or the person has obtained a permit for that weapon from the Department. (Penal Code §§ 12276, 12280, 12285, 12286.) A lawfully possessed assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle may be transported for any lawful purpose if it is unloaded and either securely locked in the trunk of a vehicle or in a locked container carried inside the vehicle other than the utility or glove compartment. (Penal Code §§ 12280(m), 12285(c)(7), 12026.1.) A person in lawful possession of an assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle may sell it only to a properly licensed firearms dealer who has been issued an assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle permit by the Department of Justice or may elect to relinquish the weapon to a police or sheriff’s department. (Penal Code §§ 12285, 12288.) The Department of Justice may issue permits for the manufacture of assault weapons or .50 BMG rifles to federally licensed manufacturers of firearms for sale to law enforcement agencies, persons having permits to acquire assault weapons or .50 BMG rifles, persons out of state who have federal firearm dealer licenses entitling them to sell these weapons to federal law enforcement and military agencies, and law enforcement or military agencies in other states and, for sale to foreign governments and agencies approved by the U.S. State Department. (Penal Code § 12287.)

Armor-Piercing Bullets

It is unlawful for any person to manufacture, sell, or knowingly possess or transport handgun ammunition designed primarily to penetrate metal or armor. (Penal Code §§ 12320, 12321.) Handgun ammunition means ammunition principally for use in pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed upon the person, as defined in subdivision (a) of section 12001, notwithstanding that the ammunition may also be used in some rifles. (Penal Code § 12323(a).) Handgun ammunition designed primarily to penetrate metal or armor means any ammunition, except a shotgun shell or ammunition primarily designed for use in rifles, that is designed primarily to penetrate a body vest or body shield. (Penal Code § 12323(b).) Body vest or shield means any bullet-resistant material intended to provide ballistic and trauma protection for the wearer or holder. (Penal Code § 12323(c).)

Exceptions

The prohibition against possessing, manufacturing, etc., armor piercing ammunition does not apply to the following (Penal Code § 12322):
• Specified members of the military while on duty and engaged within the scope of their duties.
• Any police agency or forensic laboratory.
• Persons who hold valid permits issued pursuant to Penal Code section 12305.
• The possession of handgun ammunition designed primarily to penetrate metal or armor by a person who found the ammunition, if he or she is not prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition pursuant to section 12021, 12021.1 or paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of section 12316 of this code or section 8100 or 8103 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and is transporting the ammunition to a law enforcement agency for disposition according to law.

Larger Caliber Weapons and Tracer Ammunition

It is unlawful to possess any of the following:
• Any projectile containing any explosive, incendiary material, or any other chemical substance including, but not limited to, that commonly known as tracer or incendiary ammunition, except tracer ammunition manufactured for use in shotguns.
• Any bomb, grenade, explosive missile, or similar device or any launching device therefor.
• Any weapon of greater than .60-caliber that fires fixed ammunition, or any ammunition therefor, other than a shotgun or shotgun ammunition.
• Any rocket, rocket-propelled projectile, or similar device of a diameter greater than 0.60 inch, or any launching device therefor, and any projectile or similar device containing any explosive or incendiary material or any other chemical substance, other than the propellant for such device, except for devices designed primarily for emergency or distress signaling purposes. (Penal Code §§ 12301, 12303.)

These prohibitions do not apply to specified members of the military, peace officers listed in Penal Code sections 830.1 or 830.2, any peace officer in the Department of Justice authorized by the Attorney General, or firefighters while on duty and acting within the scope and course of their employment, or to persons having a permit issued by the California Department of Justice. (Penal Code §§ 12302, 12305.)

Firearm Silencers

A silencer is defined as a device designed, used, or intended for use in silencing, diminishing or muffling the report of a firearm including any combination of parts designed or redesigned and intended for use in fabricating or assembling a silencer, or any part intended only for use in assembling or fabricating a silencer. (Penal Code § 12500.) It is a felony for any person, firm, or corporation within this state to possess any silencer for firearms. This prohibition does not apply to any peace officer listed in Penal Code section 830.1, or to military or naval forces of this state or of the United States in the official discharge of their duties, nor does it apply to the manufacture, possession, transportation or sale to agencies listed in Penal Code section 830.1, or to military or naval forces of this state or of the United States by dealers registered under Chapter 53, commencing with section 5801 of Title 26 of the United States Code. (Penal Code §§ 12520, 12501.)

Sniperscopes

A sniperscope is defined as a device made or adapted for use on a firearm, that enables the operator to detect objects during nighttime through the use of a projected infrared light source and an electronic telescope. (Penal Code § 468.)
Any person who buys, sells, receives, disposes of, conceals, or possesses a sniperscope is guilty of a misdemeanor. This prohibition does not apply to authorized use or possession of sniperscopes by members of the armed forces or peace officers, and does not prohibit use or possession solely for scientific research or educational purposes. (Penal Code § 468.)

Boobytraps

Boobytraps are concealed or camouflaged devices designed to cause great bodily injury when triggered by an unsuspecting person. They include guns, ammunition, or explosives attached to trip wires, sharpened stakes, and lines or wires with hooks attached. It is unlawful to possess such devices with the intent to use them as boobytraps and anyone who assembles, maintains, places, or causes such devices to be placed is guilty of a felony. (Penal Code § 12355.)

Flamethrowing Devices

A flamethrowing device means any nonstationary and transportable device designed or intended to emit or propel a burning stream of combustible or flammable liquid a distance of at least 10 feet. Possession of a flamethrower is either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances under which it is possessed. (Health and Safety Code § 12761).

2. PERSONS INELIGIBLE TO POSSESS FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION

Persons Convicted of Felonies or Other Specified Crimes

Any person who (a) has been convicted of a felony under the laws of the United States, the State of California, or any other state, government, or country, or (b) is addicted to any narcotic drug may not own or have in his or her possession, custody, or control any firearm. (Penal Code § 12021(a).)
It is unlawful for any person who is prohibited from possessing firearms, to possess ammunition. (Penal Code § 12316(b).)
A felony conviction refers to a conviction of an offense that can only result in felony punishment under California law, or any sentence to a federal correctional facility for more than 30 days, or a fine of more than $1,000, or both. (Penal Code § 12021(f).)
Any person convicted of any of the following crimes specified in Penal Code sections 12001.6 and 12021.1, whether as a felony or misdemeanor, may not lawfully possess or have under his or her custody or control any firearm:
• Murder or voluntary manslaughter.
• Mayhem.
• Rape.
• Sodomy or oral copulation by force, violence, duress, menace, or threat of great bodily harm.
• Lewd acts on a child under the age of 14.
• Any felony punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison for life.
• Any other felony in which the defendant inflicts great bodily injury on any person, other than an accomplice, that has been charged and proven, or any felony in which the defendant uses a firearm which has been charged and proven.
• Attempted murder.
• Assault with intent to commit rape or robbery.
• Assault with a deadly weapon or instrument on a peace officer.
• Assault by a life prisoner on a non-inmate.
• Assault with a deadly weapon by an inmate.
• Arson.
• Exploding a destructive device or any explosive with intent to injure or murder.
• Exploding a destructive device or any explosive causing great bodily injury.
• Robbery.
• Kidnapping.
• Taking of a hostage by a state prison inmate.
• Attempting to commit a felony punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison for life.
• Any felony in which the defendant personally used a dangerous or deadly weapon.
• Escape from a state prison by use of force or violence.
• Assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to produce great bodily injury.
• Any attempt to commit any of the above crimes other than an assault.
• Assault upon a person with a firearm.
• Shooting at an inhabited dwelling house or occupied building.
NOTE: This offense is committed even though no person was actually inside the specified structure at the time of the shooting.
• Drawing, exhibiting, or unlawfully using any handgun or firearm in a rude, angry, or threatening manner in the presence of a peace officer regardless of whether the firearm is loaded.
• Carjacking.
• Two or more convictions for drawing, or exhibiting, any firearm in a rude, angry, or threatening manner in the presence of another regardless of whether the firearm is loaded.

Persons Convicted of Misdemeanor Violations of Specified Offenses

Any person convicted of a misdemeanor violation for one or more of the following offenses is prohibited from owning, possessing or having under his or her custody or control any firearm within 10 years of the conviction (Penal Code § 12021(c)(1)):
• Threatening public officers and employees and school officials. (Penal Code § 71.)
• Threatening certain public officials, appointees, judges, staff or their immediate families. (Penal Code § 76.)
• Possession of a deadly weapon with intent to commit an assault (Penal Code § 12024.)
• Possession of a deadly weapon with the intent to intimidate a witness. (Penal Code § 136.5.)
• Unauthorized possession/transportation of a machinegun. (Penal Code § 12220.)
• Threatening witnesses, victims, or informants. (Penal Code § 140.)
• Obstructing or delaying an officer or emergency medical technician and removing or attempting to remove a firearm from these individuals. (Penal Code § 148(d).)
• Unauthorized possession of a weapon in a courtroom, courthouse or court building, or at a public meeting. (Penal Code § 171b.)
• Bringing into or possessing a loaded firearm within the state capitol, legislative offices, etc. (Penal Code § 171c.)
• Taking into or possessing loaded firearms within the Governor’s Mansion or residence or other constitutional office, etc. (Penal Code § 171d.)
• Supplying firearms to any street gang member for use in street gang activity. (Penal Code § 186.28.)
• Assault. (Penal Code §§ 240, 241.)
• Battery. (Penal Code §§ 242, 243.)
• Assault with a stun gun or taser weapon. (Penal Code § 244.5.)
• Assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to cause great bodily injury. (Penal Code § 245.)
• Assault with a deadly weapon or instrument, by any means likely to produce great bodily injury, or with a stun gun or taser, on a school employee engaged in the performance of duties. (Penal Code § 245.5.)
• Discharging a firearm in a grossly negligent manner. (Penal Code § 246.3.)
• Shooting at an unoccupied aircraft, motor vehicle, or uninhabited building or dwelling house. (Penal Code § 247.)
• Drawing or exhibiting any deadly weapon, including a firearm, in a rude or threatening manner. (Penal Code § 417.)
• Drawing or exhibiting a firearm or other deadly weapon with the intentional infliction of serious bodily injury. (Penal Code § 417.6.)
• Bringing into or possessing firearms upon or within public or private schools, playgrounds and youth centers. (Penal Code § 626.9.)
• Willful infliction of corporal injury of a spouse or cohabitant. (Penal Code § 273.5.)
• Willful violation of a court order to prevent domestic violence. (Penal Code § 273.6.)
• Stalking. (Penal Code § 646.9.)
• Carrying a loaded firearm with the intent to commit a felony. (Penal Code § 12023.)
• Driver or owner of any vehicle who knowingly permits another person to discharge a firearm from the vehicle or any person who willfully and maliciously discharges a firearm from a motor vehicle. (Penal Code §§ 12034(b) and (d).)
• Criminal possession of a firearm. (Penal Code § 12040.)
• Selling a concealable firearm to a minor. (Penal Code § 12072(b).)
• Possessing handgun ammunition designed to penetrate metal or armor. (Penal Code § 12320.)
• Carrying a concealed or loaded firearm or other deadly weapon or wearing a peace officer uniform while picketing, carrying a concealed loaded weapon, or wearing a peace officer uniform. (Penal Code § 12590.)
• Possession of a firearm by a person ineligible to possess firearms because of his or her mental history. (Welfare and Institutions Code § 8100).
• Providing a firearm or deadly weapon to a person who is prohibited from possessing firearms because of his or her mental history. (Welfare and Institutions Code § 8101).
• Possession of a firearm by a person ineligible to possess firearms because of specific mental prohibitions. (Welfare and Institutions Code § 8103).
• Bringing or sending firearms or other contraband into a juvenile detention facility. (Welfare and Institutions Code § 871.5)
• Bringing or sending firearms or other contraband into youth authority institutions. (Welfare and Institutions Code § 1001.5.)
• Violating Penal Code section 12072 involving sales and transfers of firearms, including:
- selling or furnishing a firearm to any person whom the individual has reason to believe is within a prohibited class;
- selling or furnishing a handgun to a minor;
- selling or transferring a firearm without having the transaction processed through a licensed dealer or law enforcement agency;
- committing any act of collusion relating to a Handgun Safety Certificate.
• Intimidating a witness or victim. (Penal Code § 136.1.)
• Threatening to cause death or great bodily injury to another person. (Penal Code § 422)

- selling or furnishing a firearm to any person whom the seller knows, or has cause to believe, is not intended to be the actual purchaser or transferee; - acquiring a firearm for the purpose of providing it to a prohibited individual;

Persons Prohibited From Possession, Purchase of Firearms As a Condition of Probation

Any person convicted of any crime for which the express condition of probation prohibits or restricts the possession of firearms may not lawfully own, possess, control, receive or purchase a firearm for the duration of the probation. (Penal Code § 12021(d).)

Persons Subject to a Protective Order

Persons who are subject to a protective order issued by a court pursuant to section 6218 of the Family Code, a protective order issued pursuant to Section 136.2 or 646.91 of the Penal Code, or by a protective order issued pursuant to Section 15657.03 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, may not own, possess, purchase, or receive a firearm for the duration of the order. (Penal Code § 12021(g).) This includes any of the following restraining orders, whether issued ex parte, after notice and hearing, or in a judgment:
• A court-issued order enjoining a party from molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering, harassing, telephoning, destroying personal property, contacting, either directly or indirectly, by mail or otherwise, coming within a specified distance of, or disturbing the peace of the other party. (Family Code § 6320.)
• A court-issued order to exclude a party from the family dwelling, the dwelling of the other party, the common dwelling of both parties, or the dwelling of the person who has care, custody, and control of a child to be protected from domestic violence. (Family Code § 6321.)
• A court-issued order enjoining a party from other specified behaviors as determined by that court. (Family Code § 6322.)
• A court-issued order enjoining a party from abusing, intimidating, molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering, harassing, telephoning, destroying personal property, contacting, or coming within a specified distance of , and elder or dependent adult. (Welfare and Institutions Code § 15657.03.)
The court, upon issuance of a protective order shall additionally require the respondent to sell any firearms in that person's control to a licensed firearms dealer or relinquish them for the duration of the protective order. (Family Code § 6389(c).)

Persons Subject to a Temporary Restraining Order

Persons who are subject to a temporary restraining order issued pursuant to section 527.6 or 527.8 of the Civil Code for harassing behavior may not own, possess, purchase or receive a firearm for the duration of the order. (Penal Code § 12021(g).)

Persons Subject to Juvenile Court Law

Any person subject to juvenile court law and adjudged a ward of the juvenile court within the meaning of Section 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code for any of the following offenses, shall not own, possess, or have under his or her custody or control any firearm until reaching 30 years of age (Penal Code § 12021(e)):
• Murder.
• Arson that causes great bodily injury or arson of an inhabited structure or property. (Penal Code §§ 451(a) and (b).)
• Robbery while armed with a dangerous or deadly weapon.
• Rape with force or violence or threat of great bodily harm.
• Sodomy by force, violence, duress, menace, or threat of great bodily harm.
• Lewd or lascivious act on a child under the age of 14. (Penal Code § 288(b).)
• Oral copulation by force, violence, duress, menace, or threat of great bodily harm.
• Sexual assault with a foreign object. (Penal Code § 289.)
• Kidnapping for ransom.
• Kidnapping for purpose of robbery, rape, spousal rape, etc. (Penal Code § 209(b)(1).)
• Kidnapping with bodily harm.
• Assault with intent to murder or attempted murder.
• Assault with a firearm or destructive device.
• Assault by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury.
• Discharge of a firearm into an inhabited or occupied building.
• Specified crimes against persons 60 years of age or older, blind persons, paraplegics, or quadriplegics as described in Penal Code section 1203.09. • Use of a firearm in the commission or attempted commission of a felony; discharge of a firearm at an occupied motor vehicle causing great bodily injury or death; use of a firearm to commit the controlled substances violations described in Penal Code sections 12022.5 or 12022.53.
• Any felony offense in which the minor personally used a weapon described in Penal Code section 12020(a).
• Felony intimidation of a witness and victim as described in Penal Code section 136.1 or influencing the testimony or information given to a law enforcement official as described in Penal Code section 137.
• Manufacturing, compounding, or selling one-half ounce or more of any salt or solution of a controlled substance specified in Health and Safety Code section 11055(e).
• Possessing for sale, or selling a substance containing 28.5 grams or more of cocaine as specified in Penal Code section 1203.073.
• Any of the specified violent felonies listed in Penal Code section 667.5(c) committed for the benefit, direction, or association with any criminal street gang as described in Penal Code section 186.22(b).
• Intentionally inflicting great bodily injury on an employee of a juvenile facility during an escape by the use of force or violence in violation of Welfare and Institutions Code section 871(b).
• Torture as described in Penal Code sections 206 and 206.1.
• Aggravated mayhem as described in Penal Code section 205.
• Carjacking as described in Penal Code section 215 while armed with a dangerous or deadly weapon.
• Kidnapping as punishable in Penal Code section 209.5.
• Willfully and maliciously discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle at another person other than an occupant of a motor vehicle.
• Exploding, igniting, or attempting to explode or ignite any destructive device or explosive with intent to commit murder.
• Any of the offenses listed in Penal Code section 12021(c)(1).
• Carrying a concealed handgun. (Penal Code § 12025).
• Carrying a loaded handgun. (Penal Code § 12031).
• Allowing another to transport a loaded handgun in a vehicle. (Penal Code § 12034).

Mental Patients, Mentally Disordered Sex Offenders, Persons Adjudicated a Danger to Others, Persons Incompetent to Stand Trial, Gravely Disabled Conservatees, and Persons Taken Into Custody as a Danger to Self or Others Because of a Mental Disorder

No person who is receiving inpatient treatment because he or she is a danger to self or others may have in his or her possession or under his or her custody, or control, nor may he or she purchase or receive, or attempt to purchase or receive, any firearm. This applies even though the person has consented to the treatment. (Welfare and Institutions Code § 8100.)
No person who communicates to a licensed psychotherapist a serious threat of physical violence against a victim may purchase, possess, control, or have custody of any firearms for a period of six months after the threat is reported to a local law enforcement agency. Attempts to purchase, possess, or control firearms are also prohibited. Persons prohibited under this section may petition a court for restoration of firearms privileges. (Welfare and Institutions Code § 8100(b).)
No person adjudicated by a court of any state to be (a) a danger to others as a result of mental disorder or mental illness, or (b) a mentally disordered sex offender shall have in his or her possession, custody, or control any firearm. (Welfare and Institutions Code § 8103(a).)
No person found not guilty by reason of insanity of specified crimes in any state may have in his or her possession, custody, or control any firearm. (Welfare and Institutions Code § 8103(b).)
No person found by a court to be mentally incompetent to stand trial on a criminal charge shall have in his or her possession, custody, or control any firearm. (Welfare and Institutions Code § 8103(d).)
No person placed under conservatorship by a court, because the person is gravely disabled, shall have in his or her possession, custody, or control any firearm, where prohibited by the court. (Welfare and Institutions Code § 8103(e).)
No person taken into custody, assessed, and admitted to a designated facility pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 5150 because that person is a danger to himself, herself, or others shall own, possess, control, receive, or purchase any firearm for a period of five years after the person is released from the facility. (Welfare and Institutions Code § 8103(f).)
Under California law, no person who has been certified for intensive treatment pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code sections 5250, 5260 or 5270.15 may own, possess, control, receive, or purchase any firearm for a period of five years after the person is released from the facility. However, such a person is considered to have been adjudicated as a mental defective under federal law and therefore may not possess firearms even beyond the fiveyears provided under California law. (Welfare and Institutions Code § 8103(g), 18 USC 922(g)(4).)
NOTE: Any person who knowingly supplies, sells, gives, or otherwise allows such an individual to possess or control any firearm or deadly weapon is guilty of a felony or an alternate felony/misdemeanor, respectively. (Welfare and Institutions Code § 8101.)

Justifiable Possession of a Firearm by Certain Prohibited Classes

Any person found to have committed an offense enumerated in Penal Code section 12021, subdivisions (a) through (e), is prohibited from owning, possessing, or having under his or her custody or control, any firearm. A violation of subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e) is justifiable where all of the following conditions are met:
• The person found the firearm or took the firearm from the person who was committing the crime against him or her.
• The person possessed the firearm no longer than was necessary to deliver or transport the firearm to a law enforcement agency for that agency’s disposition according to law.
• If the firearm was transported to a law enforcement agency, it was transported in accordance with paragraph (18) of subdivision (a) of section 12026.2.
• If the firearm is being transported to a law enforcement agency, the person transporting the firearm has given prior notice to the law enforcement agency that he or she is transporting the firearm to the law enforcement agency for disposition according to law.
Upon the trial for violating subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e), the trier of fact shall determine whether the defendant was acting within the provisions of the exemption created by this subdivision. The defendant has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she comes within the provisions of the exemption created by this subdivision. (Penal Code § 12021(h).)

Personal Firearms Eligibility Check

Any person may request directly from the Department of Justice a determination as to whether he or she is eligible to possess firearms.

3. THE USE OF FIREARMS IN DEFENSE OF LIFE AND PROPERTY

The question of whether use of a firearm is justified for self-defense cannot be reduced to a simple list of factors. This section is based on the instructions generally given to the jury in a criminal case where self-defense is claimed and illustrates the general rules regarding use of firearms in self-defense.

Use of a Firearm or Other Deadly Force in Defense of Life and Body

The killing of one person by another may be justifiable when necessary to resist the attempt to commit a forcible and life-threatening crime, provided that a reasonable person in the same or similar situation would believe that (a) the person killed intended to commit a forcible and life-threatening crime; (b) there was imminent danger of such crime being accomplished; and (c) the person acted under the belief that such force was necessary to save himself or herself or another from death or a forcible and life-threatening crime. Murder, mayhem, rape, and robbery are examples of forcible and life-threatening crimes.

Self-Defense Against Assault

It is lawful for a person being assaulted to defend himself or herself from attack if he or she has reasonable grounds for believing, and does in fact believe, that he or she will suffer bodily injury. In doing so, he or she may use such force, up to deadly force, as a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances would believe necessary to prevent great bodily injury or death. An assault with fists does not justify use of a deadly weapon 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.
It is lawful for a person who has grounds for believing, and does in fact believe, that great bodily injury is about to be inflicted upon another to protect the victim from attack. In so doing, the person may use such force as reasonably necessary to prevent the injury. Deadly force is only considered reasonable to prevent great bodily injury or death.
NOTE: The use of excessive force to counter an assault may result in civil or criminal penalties.

Protecting One’s Home

A person may defend his or her home against anyone who attempts to enter in a violent manner intending violence to any person in the home. The amount of force that may be used 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. One is not bound to retreat, even though a retreat might safely be made. One may resist force with force, increasing it in proportion to the intruder’s persistence and violence, if the circumstances apparent to the occupant would cause a reasonable person in the same or similar situation to fear for his or her safety.
The occupant may use a firearm when resisting the intruder’s attempt to commit a forcible and life-threatening crime against anyone in the home provided that a reasonable person in the same or similar situation would believe that (a) the intruder intends to commit a forcible and life-threatening crime; (b) there is imminent danger of such crime being accomplished; and (c) 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. Murder, mayhem, rape, and robbery are examples of forcible and life-threatening crimes.
Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that force is used against another person, not a member of the family or household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry had occurred. Great bodily injury means a significant or substantial physical injury. (Penal Code § 198.5.)
NOTE: If the presumption is rebutted by contrary evidence, the occupant may be criminally liable for an unlawful assault or homicide.

Defense of Property

The lawful occupant of real property has the right to request a trespasser to leave the premises. If the trespasser does not do so within a reasonable time, the occupant may use force to eject the trespasser.
The amount of force that may be used to eject a trespasser is limited to that which a reasonable person would believe to be necessary under the same or similar circumstances.

Limitations on the Use of Force in Self-Defense

The right of self-defense ceases when there is no further danger from an assailant. Thus, where a person attacked under circumstances initially justifying self-defense renders the attacker incapable of inflicting further injuries, the law of self-defense ceases and no further force may be used.
The right of self-defense is not initially available to a person who assaults another. However, if such person attempts to stop further combat and clearly informs the adversary of his or her desire for peace but the opponent nevertheless continues the fight, the right of self-defense returns and is the same as the right of any other person being assaulted.

 


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