Criminal Lawyer in Sacramento Explains California Gun Laws
California saw sweeping change to its gun laws in 2016, changing regulations that will affect more than 6 million individuals. These new laws are set to take effect between the beginning of 2017 and the next few years. Due to some complications, such as legislation overlap and some concern over the constitutionality of the laws, many Californians are left confused about how these laws will affect them and what to do next. Given the massive responsibility it takes to handle a gun, it’s important you speak with a criminal lawyer in Sacramento if you have any questions pertaining to the gun laws.
The new gun laws are best divided into categories for easier understanding:
- Reporting of Firearm Theft or Loss – Effective as of January 1, 2017, falsely reporting a firearm as lost or stolen is established as a crime and beginning July 1, 2017, lost or stolen firearms must be reported to law enforcement within 5 days.
- Lending of Firearms – loaning firearms to individuals outside immediate family members (with limited exceptions) is officially a crime beginning January 1, 2017.
- Large-Capacity Magazine Restrictions – beginning July 1, 2017, the possession of magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds becomes illegal (with limited exceptions)
- Assault Weapons – the deadline to register a weapon considered an “assault weapon” according to the new definition is December 31, 2017.
- Home – built Guns and Guns Without Serial Numbers – manufacturing or assembling firearms requires state permission beginning July 1, 2018 and the deadline for unmarked firearms possessed after this date to be given a serial number is December 31, 2018.
- Ammunition Restrictions – ammunition sales or transfers must be conducted through a licensed ammunition vendor beginning January 1, 2018 and any ammunition purchased outside California may not be imported without first being shipped to a licensed vendor starting January 1, 2019. Californians must undergo a background check before buying ammunition as well.
- Handgun Storage Law – handguns must be stored in a locked container or trunk when left unattended in a vehicle
Some of these new laws have limited exceptions so it’s always a good idea to consult with a criminal lawyer in Sacramento regarding your specific situation. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know for whether the new laws will affect you:
- The sale of ammunition with a license as a misdemeanor: Any entity selling more than 500 rounds each month would need to get a license or work through a proxy to avoid committing a misdemeanor. Individuals selling ammunition through the internet would need to use a local ammo vendor as a middleman.
- The purchase of ammunition requires a four-year $50 permit, which requires a background check: Records of all sales and transfers of ammunition ownership will be electronically transmitted to the California Department of Justice.
- Magazine limitation: Individuals in possession of firearms capable of holding more than 10 cartridges will be in violation of the law after July 1, 2017. In order to avoid breaking the law, individuals must remove the magazine from the state, sell it to a licensed firearm dealer, or turn it into the police.
- “Ghost gun” bill: The definition of a firearm is being changed to be “an unfinished frame or receiver that can be readily converted to the functional condition of a finished frame or receiver.” It is not completely clear exactly what this affects and may create gray areas of legality for some gun kits, etc. This affects all homemade weapons made after 1968 that exit in the state. These guns will be required to have a serial number. The penalty for a violation could be a fine $1000 fine and six months in jail.
The law limiting the maximum legal limit on magazine capability is considered by some to violate their second amendment right as it requires the handing over of some qualified weaponry. The “ghost gun” law also increases the number of guns that will be considered illegal by significant numbers. This may affect many Californians who might not react enthusiastically to this perceived restriction of rights. If you have any questions on the bills above and feel it affects you in anyway, seek advice from a criminal lawyer in Sacramento.
An additional concern is the effect these new laws will have on the gun market. One specific gun-related item, the bullet button, has been banned and several rifles will stop being produced. However, many new products intended to comply with the new laws are already on the market. Individuals should not expect a significant disruption in products that meet their needs as the laws change.
There is expected to be a financial effect of the new measures. These changes could end up costing the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars for various associated costs. Owning a gun is a federal right for US citizens but given the power they have on society, it is important you keep up to date with new gun laws by speaking with a criminal lawyer in Sacramento.
Speak With A Criminal Lawyer in Sacramento For Your Legal Needs
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime or need more information about gun ownership and your rights as a California citizen, call (916) 446-4400 to speak with a criminal lawyer in Sacramento.