As of 2012, it is illegal to openly carry loaded and unloaded handguns in California. According to California Penal Code 26350 PC, people are not allowed to openly carry an exposed handgun, on themselves or inside a vehicle, while they are in public. Guns laws in each state are different and, as such, it is imperative that legal gun owners act responsibly and understand the nuances of open carry laws in California. Given that his article only provides a brief overview, individuals who have questions or concerns should speak with an experienced attorney.
The weapons in question are referred to as handguns and can include any firearm that can be concealed on your person, such as a pistol. Some people receive exemptions from this law due different reasons. For example, a gun show, that displays various handguns, inherently requires the open carry of handguns in the show. Other examples of exempt groups include members of the military and licensed manufacturers. However, for those not exempt, they must be careful with how they carry their guns in public (openly or concealed) as various laws can apply. Navigating these laws regarding public carrying can be tricky, but they must be fully understood.
The punishment and misdemeanor charges
If someone not exempt from Penal Code 26350 is found guilty of openly carrying an exposed and unloaded firearm while in public, they face a misdemeanor charge. The punishment typically includes spending one year in county jail and paying fine. If multiple guns are exposed as part of this crime, the punishment applies for each gun and not for the crime as a whole. For those who believe they have been wrongfully charged with this crime, they must seek the immediate counsel of an experienced attorney. Based on the circumstances, an attorney can help prepare an appropriate legal defense.