The United States has a high gun ownership rate, with an estimated 89 guns for every 100 Americans. In 2011, FBI data showed that approximately 68% of murders reported to law enforcement agencies in the US were caused by firearms. Of all the states, California had the highest number of murder by firearm in 2011.
News about a school shootings continue to make media headlines, causing outrage among citizens clamoring for tighter gun control measures. News about gun crimes in the US can be so sensationalized that they may unduly influence the public, resulting in arrested persons no longer enjoying the presumption of innocence guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
While most gun crimes should be condemned for their senseless nature, it is a basic right of one accused of a crime to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. If you are charged with crime, you do have rights that a lawyer can help protect.
Laws in California
California laws generally restrict the possession, use and storage of firearms. Thus, it can be a crime to possess a gun if you are a:
- Mentally disordered sex offender
- Person mentally incompetent to stand trial
- Person addicted to narcotics
Anyone buying a gun must also meet the legal requirements for age and residency and be a holder of a Handgun Safety Certificate. Other gun-related crimes include:
- Carrying a concealed and unregistered handgun
- Unauthorized possession of gun on school grounds and in the courtroom
- Threatening acts with a firearm
- Discharge of a firearm in negligent manner
- Criminal storage
- Carrying loaded firearms in public
Gun crime penalties are imprisonment ranging from 1 to 3 years and steep fines. Higher penalties and fines may apply when guns are used in committing serious crimes such as assault. Weapon laws carry some exceptions which may constitute legal defenses for anyone charged with a crime. For instance, if you possess a gun at home or may be exempt from criminal liability on grounds of self-defense.
In California, the Kestenbaum Law Group has over 30 years of experience in both criminal prosecution and defense practice, a combination that is invaluable in creating effective criminal defense strategies. Call us today at (818) 616-4312 to speak to a lawyer about your legal options.