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The Facts About Concealed Carry in California

By Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney on March 16, 2020

Unlike many other US states, it is against the law to carry a gun in public in the state of California without a permit. The law doesn’t differentiate between open carry and concealed carry – a permit to carry a concealed weapon, also known as a CCW permit, is required to carry a gun in public at, with few exceptions. With the law as it is, you can be charged with a crime if any police officer or sheriff finds you carrying a firearm without the proper license.

CCW Permits

Obtaining a CCW permit is not always easy, and you must meet four basic requirements:

  • Be of good moral character
  • Have a good cause for needing to carry a weapon
  • Have completed an approved firearm training class
  • You meet specific residential requirements for the county in which you file for the permit

It has been argued that requiring good cause to issue a permit violates the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms). However, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case in 2017, leaving this requirement in effect.

Factors that may make a person ineligible for a CCW permit include:

  • A felony conviction or specific types of misdemeanors on your record
  • Drug addiction
  • Loss the right to own a firearm due to a conviction for a crime of domestic violence
  • Being diagnosed as mentally ill

What You Can and Can’t Do with a CCW Permit

While each CCW permit can come with individual restrictions that must be followed, generally speaking, a CCW permit allows you to carry a loaded or unloaded pistol, revolver or other concealable firearm on your person, whether concealed or open. Restrictions may include limiting the times and places you can carry.

Having a CCW permit doesn’t, however, give you the right to:

  • Carry a rifle, assault right, or another large gun, unless it is unloaded in a locked container in the trunk of your car or being transported to or from your car.
  • Carry any gun in Wildlife Management Areas or other prohibited locations
  • Use a gun threateningly or to assault another, unless used in self-defense
  • Carry or use a gun while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs

Gun Crimes in California

Several crimes in California prohibit the carrying or use a gun as separate from other assault, murder, burglary, and other crimes where firearms may be involved:

With or without a CCW permit, you can be charged with:

  • Penal Code 30600 PC – ban against carrying assault weapons
  • Penal Code 16590 PC – ban against carrying generally prohibited weapons (such as short-barreled shotguns)
  • Penal Code 417 PC – brandishing a weapon (unless you have a valid CCW permit and you can show that the weapon was brandished in self-defense or the defense of another)

Without a CCW permit, you can be charged with:

  • Penal Code 25400 PC – law against carrying a concealed firearm
  • Penal Code 25850 PC – law against carrying loaded firearms in public
  • Penal Code 26350 PC – law against openly carrying an unloaded firearm in public

Most of the above laws can be charged as misdemeanors if no aggravating factors are involved, though the charge can quickly become a felony if the gun is used threateningly or in conjunction with another crime.

What to Do If You’ve Been Charged with a Gun Crime

Gun charges, whether as a misdemeanor or felony, can have significant impacts on your life. If you’re facing wrongful charges, the best thing you can do is contact a criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in California’s gun laws, crimes, and how to defend against them. Contact Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP at (213) 688-0460 for some of the best legal help in California. Let us fight for you.

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Posted in: Criminal Defense