When Does Selling Weapons Become Arms Trafficking?
California has incredibly strict gun restrictions. While the ownership of a firearm is protected under the Second Amendment, the state laws set in place around gun ownership are restrictive. This is especially true when it comes to the selling of guns.
Arms trafficking is a serious offense that could result in several months behind bars. Knowing what is and what is not legal when it comes to firearm sales is key to ensuring your own freedom.
What Is Arms Trafficking?
Arms trafficking is laid out in California Penal Code § 26500, where the law stipulates that no party can sell, lease, or transfer firearms without a proper license. The crime of arms trafficking is sometimes referred to as gun running, and is essentially the act of selling, buying, or transporting a gun or ammunition without the proper license. Anyone who wants to sell a firearm in California must have the proper paperwork and license to do so, otherwise they will be in violation of the law.
If you are convicted of arms trafficking, then you could be facing a six-month stay in a county jail, along with a fine of up to $1,000. Of course, if there are aggravating factors that accompany the alleged crime, such as being convicted of weapons violations in the past, that could result in your sentence being lengthened.
Legally Selling a Gun in California
A firearm must be sold through a licensed dealer. Selling a firearm without a license, or giving it to another party without a license, is a crime, and could be considered arms trafficking. On top of that, anyone buying a gun must wait a required period of 10 days. This means that if you intend to sell a gun to someone, you must wait those the days out before handing the gun over. Again, breaking this law could result in an arms-trafficking charge.
As the seller, you must also conduct background checks on your customer. These background checks will inform you whether or not the customer is legally allowed to purchase or own a firearm. For example, convicted felons in California are not allowed to own firearms at any point following their conviction. If your customer is a felon, then you must deny the sale and refuse to hand the firearm over. Neglecting to perform the required checks or approving a sale despite the customer not legally being allowed to own a firearm means that you are in violation of the law and could be charged with arms trafficking.
When Sales Become Trafficking
A sale can become a case of trafficking or gun running the moment that the seller, in this case you, neglects to follow the law during the sale. This could happen in any number of ways, from not having the proper license, to not enforcing the waiting period, to not running a proper background check. The laws around gun sales in California are very specific, and very strict: breaking them, especially as the seller of the firearm, is very likely to end with you being arrested.
That being said, considering how complex these laws can be, mistakes are often made. Sometimes the mistakes weren’t even your fault. The background check for a customer may have come back clean, despite that customer being barred from owning firearms, for example. Whatever the case may be, you have the legal right to an attorney during your trial.
If you have been arrested for arms tracking, then you need a skilled Los Angeles weapons violation attorney on your side, protecting your rights. Call our firm, Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP, at (213) 688-0460 to begin building your defense strategy.