Although the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, California law strictly limits how law abiding citizens can possess guns. Citizens with no criminal record can, in many instances, be charged with a felony offense for possessing firearms on their own property. Likewise guns possessed in public on the person or in a vehicle can be charged as both felonies and misdemeanors under many circumstances.
Long Beach attorney and certified criminal law specialist, Matthew Kaestner, has successfully defended clients facing gun possession charges for 30 years. He has received reductions and outright dismissals for many clients. Attorney Kaestner will consult with you personally about your case at 562-437-0200.
The most common firearm/gun charges are:
- Unlawful possession of a firearm;
- Prohibited person in possession of a firearm;
- Prohibited person in possession of ammunition;
- Possession of an assault weapon;
- Negligent discharge of a firearm.
Persons who have been convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses such as battery, assault, domestic violence, criminal threats and others can be charged with a felony for simply possessing a firearm within 10 years of the conviction. (Penal Code section 29805)
Those people who have been the subject of a restraining order in this state or others can be charged with a felony simply for possessing ammunition. (Penal Code section 30305) Persons who have a misdemeanor probation condition not to possess a weapon can be charged with a felony for possessing a firearm. (Penal Code section 29815)
Assault weapons purchased lawfully in other states can be punished as a felony in California. Assault weapons prohibited in California include such guns as all AK series, bushmaster assault rifle or pistol, Colt AR-15, Baretta AR-70, and others listed in Penal Code section 30510. Other weapons not specifically listed can be considered to be assault weapons if they have a “pistol grip,” “a thumbhole stock,” a folding or telescope stock, a flash suppressor, forward pistol grip, a fixed magazine that will accept more than 10 rounds and others. (Penal Code section 30515.) Possession of an assault weapon can be prosecuted, as many other gun offenses as either a misdemeanor or a felony. (Penal Code section 30605.)
An experienced criminal law attorney can mount a successful defense to seemingly hopeless firearm possession charges. In 2017, one client of attorney Kaestner was charged with felony possession of a loaded firearm in public after he was arrested with the gun in his partially fenced front yard. Attorney Kaestner successfully motioned the trial court to completely dismiss the charges. Attorney Kaestner used legal briefing to persuade the court that the client was in a “private” not “public” place. (P v. Juan H., Long Beach Case No. NA106318.)
Unfortunately citizens who honestly believe that they are in lawful possession of guns and exercising their constitutional rights can be arrested and charged with a felony. They may have been unaware that a prior misdemeanor made them ineligible to possess a firearm. Others may have purchased a California “assault weapon” in another state lawfully and brought the weapon to California. Whatever the case, it is critical to seek immediate legal expertise if arrested or charged with a gun possession offense. Long Beach criminal lawyer Matthew Kaestner can be reached directly for a consultation at 562-437-0200.