Carrying a Loaded Firearm in California Public Spaces
The state of California has several laws and limitations on the owning, carrying, and use of weapons, such as firearms. This article will take a look at one such aspect: the carrying of a loaded firearm in public. The penal code has made it illegal for a person to have a loaded firearm if they are in a public space or street within the state. If you own a firearm, we encourage you to find out more regarding this law and any others that apply. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at Law Advocates Group.
What Are the Specific Restrictions?
The carrying of a loaded firearm is criminalized according to California Penal Code Section 25850. If you are arrested and charged with this crime, a prosecutor can only convict you if, in court, they can prove several elements. For example, if a person has a loaded firearm in their home and no one sees it, this specific charge does not apply (due to the public nature of it). Therefore, the prosecutor has to prove that the defendant was carrying a loaded firearm either on their person or in their vehicle, the defendant knew and was aware that they were carrying a loaded firearm, and that the aforementioned elements occurred while the defendant was in a public space or street “where it was unlawful to discharge a firearm.” A firearm can include weapons ranging from rifles to tasers.
Penalties for the Crime
If the prosecutor proves the above elements beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant can be convicted of having carried a loaded firearm in public. Depending on the context of the crime, the prosecutor can decide to move forward with a misdemeanor or a felony offense. A felony would be pursued for reasons including, but not limited to, the following: the firearm was a stolen weapon, the defendant had previous convictions, and other factors. The misdemeanor offense can result in one year in jail, whereas a felony offense can require up to three years in a state prison facility.