Individuals in California are permitted to own guns unless if by law you are prohibited from owning a weapon such a handgun or a pistol, you are legally allowed to keep the gun within your house or a place of business that you own. However, there are many legal restrictions and laws to follow while in possession of a firearm. In case of an altercation, one must consult with a criminal defense attorney to follow due process. Any individual who is above the age of 21 years can purchase a weapon without a license. You can even carry your gun in a container that is locked but do not confuse it with concealed carry. Felons, individuals addicted to narcotics, convicted of misdemeanors, and individuals with illnesses are prohibited from acquiring a license. Let's take a closer look at Penal Codes PC 417 and 245 (a) (2) that talk about acts that are considered unlawful while owning a weapon.
Exhibiting A Firearm - Penal Code PC 417
The State of California states in the Penal Code PC 417 that it is illegal to draw or brandish a firearm or any other deadly weapon on someone else during an argument or a fight. The act of threatening or drawing a gun, whether loaded or not loaded, at someone in a fit of rage during an argument, fight, or quarrel is punishable by up to 30 days in jail. An exception is mentioned when a weapon is drawn in the self-protection of an individual. The following are the examples of when an individual exhibits a firearm:
- When an individual grabs the nearest knife and points it at someone.
- During an argument or quarrel, an individual hits the other person with the grip of his firearm.
- A person who is carrying a firearm, reveals it on him/herself to the other person.
Legal Defenses for Brandishing A Firearm As Per California Penal Code PC 417
The law states that any individual can take the following defenses against exhibiting a firearm in front of another person. Discuss these with your criminal attorney in greater detail. They are the following:
- The individual claims that the act was committed in self-guard.
- The action committed was not done in a threatening manner to the other individual. Which means that there was no threat to the other person's life.
- The individual may also claim that he/she did not have a dangerous or deadly weapon on himself. This could mean that the weapon may not be a real firearm or a BB gun.
Penalties for Exhibiting a Firearm According to the California Penal Code PC 417
The law states that an individual who does not adhere to the rules stated abide, will be charged with a misdemeanor. The punishment for a misdemeanor is one year in county jail. More severe punishments include imprisonment in prison or charges of felony. They can even have immigration consequences and affect the person's rights to own a firearm.
Assault Using A Firearm - Penal Code PC 245 (a) (2)
The California Penal Code PC 245 (a) (2) registers an assault when an individual attacks another individual with a rifle, pistol, shotgun, semi-automatic firearm, machine gun, .50 BMG assault, and rifle firearm. During the attack, the attacker may point, fire, strike, or even shoot at the other with one of the weapons mentioned above.
Examples Of Assault as Per California Penal Code PC 245 (a) (2)
- An individual who is angry with a close/loved one and confronts him/her with a weapon.
- If an individual was involved in any sort of an argument, he/she may leave the fight to go get their gun and use it to confront the person with whom they were arguing with.
- An individual who is having a heated debate with someone they do not know and may wave his/her firearm at them to intimidate them.
Penalties for Assault with a Firearm on Law Enforcement or a Police Officer in Penal Code PC 245 (a) (2)
The penalties increase if the assault was on a law enforcement officer or a firefighter who was engaged in his/her duty. This also stands if the defendant was aware or could have reasonably been aware that the victim was a peace officer or a firefighter. The offense is therefore counted as a felony. In this case, the prison sentence will be four, six, or eight years for a normal firearm. In the case of a semi-automatic weapon, it increases to either five, seven, or nine years. Assault using Machine guns and assault weapons will result in a prison sentence of six, nine, or twelve years.
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