Legal Self-Defense Weapons in CA
What is considered self-defense in California?
Under California’s self-defense laws, it is permissible for you to stand your ground and act in self-defense when you:
Believe to be in “imminent danger” of suffering bodily harm, reasonably believe the immediate use of force is essential to protect against that reasonable risk of suffering bodily damage, and use no more force than reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.
Note that you are legally justified in using lethal force in self-defense when:
you reasonably believe that you, or someone else (like a family member), is in imminent danger of being killed, suffering great bodily injury, or being the victim of a forcible and atrocious crime, a reasonable person would have believed that you needed to use deadly force to prevent the danger from happening, and your use of force was not more than what was reasonably required to keep the harm from occurring.
What is the Castle Doctrine?
The Castle Doctrine is a system of regulations that apply to the people who employ self-defense within their own house (as opposed to outside or in a place of business)
Under this idea, there is no responsibility to flee if individuals face an intruder within their house.
In addition, people have the right to use deadly force (in self-defense) within their houses when someone uses force to break in.
There are a number of items that are deemed legal in California to use as “self-defense weapons” and then there are weapons that are not legal to use under any circumstances. Violating these laws can result in misdemeanor or even felony charges.
Legal self-defense weapons include:
- Pepper spray
- Stun guns and tasers
- Certain types of knife
- Personal alarms
- Certain guns
Items that are not legal include:
- weapons that are prohibited under California Penal Code 16590 PC
- concealed dirks and daggers, illegal per Penal Code 21310 PC
- assault weapons, illegal per Penal Code 30605 PC.
Additionally, you are prohibited from having some items, like tasers, if you are a convicted felon, have a prior conviction for assault or misuse of a stun gun, are addicted to narcotics, or are a minor under 16 years of age.
The types of folding knives that are legal to use in instances of self-defense are:
- Pocket Knives
- Swiss army knives
- box cutters
- other “utility” knives
Gun use is much more complex. Gun laws in California limit the type of gun you can have, restrict the things you can do with a gun, and impose certain rules for storing and transporting guns.
Certain weapons are not legal to use in self-defense, specifically under Penal Code 16590 PC weapons considered to be deadly such as:
- leaded canes or blackjacks
- certain martial arts weapons like shurikens
- brass knuckles
Penal Code 30605 makes it illegal to have the following:
- Assault weapons
- Short-barreled shotguns
- Undetectable firearms
- zip guns