Weapons

INTRODUCTION

You have a right to own a firearm for lawful purposes (like self defense), and the government may not unnecessarily restrict this right. However, like most rights, the right to own a firearm is NOT absolute, and the government may place SOME restrictions on it.1U.S. Constitution, 2nd amendmentDISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HELLER (2008)
478 F. 3d 370

KEY LAWS TO KNOW ABOUT WEAPONS IN CALIFORNIA

UPDATE: New gun control laws will take effect January 1, 2017.

Gun

1. Who may not own a firearm?

Throughout the country, you may not own any kind of gun if you2U.S. Code Title 18, Section 922(g):

  • have been convicted of a felony3crime that involves possible punishment of more than 1 year or any crime involving domestic violence
  • are a fugitive from justice
  • illegally use any drug or are addicted to any drug
  • have been determined by a court to be mentally ill or have been committed to a mental institution
  • are not a citizen or legal permanent resident (in other words, you must either be a citizen or have a green card to own a firearm; but see exceptions)
  • have been dishonorably discharged from the military
  • renounced your American citizenship
  • are subject to a restraining order related to an intimate partner and/or partner’s child

In the city of L.A., minors (under 18) may not own guns.4LAMC 45.01

2. Where are firearms prohibited?

L.A. City parks.5LAMC 63.44 B 21

3. Handguns

In the City of LA:

  • You may not carry (have on your person) or fire a firearm within the city of LA unless you have a permit from the Board of Police Commissioners.6LAMC Sec 55.00, 55.01
  • Permits must be renewed every year.7LAMC 55.02
  • You may not purchase more than one handgun within a 30 day period.8LAMC 55.14

4. Long guns

  • Whenever a “long gun” is transferred through a dealer it will automatically be registered to the receiving individual9Cal. Penal Code 11106 and 28160
  • For transactions that do not require a dealer, the recipient of the long gun will need to register it with the California Department of Justice10see generally Cal Penal Code Sec. 27860-28000

5. Assault weapons

  • It is illegal to possess, manufacture, sell, buy, or give away any large-capacity magazine.11Cal Penal Code Sec. 32310

6. Threats of violence

  • A person who communicates serious threats of physical violence against an identifiable victim to a psychotherapist is prohibited from owning and possessing firearms for 5 years.  The psychotherapist is required to report the threat to law enforcement within 24 hours.  A person prohibited this way may petition for the restoration of their firearm rights.12California Welfare and Institutions Code sections 8100 and 8105
  • Beginning Jan 1, 2016, family members or law enforcement will be able to get a court order to take a person’s guns away if that person is deemed to be a threat to themselves or others.

7. Other weapons

Switchblades: it is illegal to make, sell, distribute, or possess a switchblade throughout the country, with some exceptions.13exceptions relate to the Armed Forces or individuals with only one arm; see 15 USC Sections 1242-44

Rules specific to City of LA:

  • You may not carry a knife (with at least 3″ blade) in public unless it is concealed. This does NOT apply where a person is wearing or carrying a knife or dagger for use in a lawful occupation, for lawful recreational purposes, or as a recognized religious practice, or while the person is traveling to or returning from participation in such activity.14LAMC 55.10
  • You may not use a bow and arrow, including crossbow, within the city of LA, except at an established target range.15LAMC Sec 55.06

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