Understanding Gun Crimes in California
The Second Amendment may guarantee the right to bear arms, but that doesn’t mean that states aren’t free to impose their own restrictions and prohibitions on owning and carrying firearms. This can be an issue for both responsible gun owners and for anyone accused of carrying out a crime with a gun. Don’t let yourself be accused without someone to support your side of the story—an experienced lawyer who knows the essentials about California gun laws.
Frequently Asked Questions about California Gun Laws and Crimes
1. How common are gun crimes in California?
According to census data collected by the federal government and corroborated by the FBI, around 21.3% of all California residents are known gun owners. This same data established that there were 1,257 gun-related murders in 2010. The rate was approximately 3.4 gun-related murders for every 100,000 state residents. What this means is that gun crimes account for less than one percent of all murders in the state, but that’s little comfort to anyone facing charges.
2. What are the penalties for gun-related crimes in California?
California Penal Code Section 25850 outlines the crime of carrying a loaded firearm in California and authorizes a penalty of up to 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. The same penalty is applied against anyone convicted of carrying a concealed gun under California Penal Code Section 25400.
3. I’ve just been accused of a gun-related crime. What do I do next?
First, do not panic. If you keep calm and focus on what you can do, you’ll have an easier time with the following criminal proceedings.
Then, speak to a criminal defense attorney and be prepared to answer questions that can help your case. Consider questions such as:
- Did the arresting officer conduct a legal search-and-seizure of your weapon?
- Was the weapon held inside your home or your self-owned business?
- Were you carrying the weapon in self-defense?
- Did the police advise you of your rights in a Miranda warning?
4. What about my right to self-defense?
California state law holds the use of a gun in self-defense by the following criteria:
- The gun owner believed that their life was in imminent danger
- They could no longer retreat to somewhere safe
- They were legally permitted to be in the location of the assault
- They believed an unarmed attacker was about to inflict great bodily harm (e.g., murder, rape, robbery)
Self-defense is also permitted when confronting an intruder in one’s home and the gun owner believes they’re in imminent danger.
How the Kestenbaum Law Group Can Help
For over 30 years, David S. Kestenbaum has been practicing criminal law, developing a great deal of courtroom experience as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney. He’s handled cases both great and small, and few cases carry as much weight as a criminal charge involving firearms.
Among the many resources that Mr. Kestenbaum brings to each case are his professional connections, each cultivated over years of practicing law in Los Angeles. Private investigators are available to conduct their own investigation of the incident and gather evidence to support your case. Psychologists and other experts can be called upon to present their testimony in court, bringing clarity and informed opinions to your aid.