For individuals who have little to no knowledge about firearms, a “wallet gun” sounds like a toy that you can buy from a thrift shop. However, wallet guns are legitimate weapons that fire real bullets. And not only can they be lethal, but they are also illegal in the state of California.
As stated earlier, a wallet gun functions just as any ordinary firearm would. The only difference is that this device is mounted or enclosed in a case -- hence, its name -- and it can be fired even from within the case. Think of a pistol designed to look like a leather wallet. And just like wallets, they can easily be stored and carried in a purse or pocket.
Many people have been interested in buying wallet guns for their unique features and efficiency. Unfortunately, doing so in California would be a violation of PC 24710. More specifically, it is unlawful to do any of the following with wallet guns:
- Manufactures or causes to be manufactured;
- Keep or offer for sale;
- Give or lend; and
Wallet guns are just one of the many generally prohibited weapons in California, which is under California Penal Code PC 16590. Other devices made illegal under the aforementioned statute include:
- Ballistic knives;
- Concealed daggers;
- Belt buckle knives;
- Cane guns;
- Metal knuckles; and
For further reference, here are a few situations which can be considered illegal under California Penal Code PC 24710:
- A 14-year-old boy has grown interested in firearms because of his father's influence. However, he has been informed by both his parents and friends that he is not yet at the legal age to possess or own a gun and he must wait until he is legally ready to obtain one. Despite their advice, he secretly bought a pistol from one of his friends. He wrapped the weapon with leather to make it look like a wallet and hid it from his parents.
- Your girlfriend went on an out-of-state vacation with her friends and promised to give you a souvenir as a gift. While walking down the street, she saw a firearm shop which reminded her of you since you loved collecting guns. She then purchased a wallet gun, kept it with her, and then drove back to California with the device to give it to you.
- A war veteran had just passed away, leaving his only daughter to take care of his belongings. Upon inspecting, she discovered a bizarre-looking gun that was enclosed in a case. The device was so peculiar to her that she decided to keep it as a remembrance of her father.
California has one of the strictest gun control laws in America. With that in mind, there are many laws that aim to ban wallet guns and other weapons. These laws are:
- Generally prohibited weapons (California Penal Code PC 16590);
- Carrying a loaded firearm in a public place or vehicle (California Penal Code PC 25850); and
- Carrying a concealed weapon (California Penal Code PC 25400).
Penalties for Possession of Wallet Guns
Any person who unlawfully manufactures, possesses, or uses wallet guns are guilty of violating California Penal Code PC 24710, which can either be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. Whichever way, the person will immediately lose his/her possession of the illegal device.
For a misdemeanor offense, the penalties will be:
- Misdemeanor probation;
- A maximum county jail sentence of 1 year; and/or
- A fine of not more than $1,000.
For a felony offense, the penalties will be:
- Felony probation;
- Either 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in county jail; and/or
- A fine of not more than $10,000.
Keep in mind that these are just the standard penalties for one crime. If you were found guilty of another violation, you will face additional punishments.
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