California's ban on "generally prohibited weapons"
Penal Code 16590

The California Penal Code prohibits manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing certain dangerous weapons.

"Generally prohibited weapons" are defined under Penal Code 16590.1 They include such items as nunchakus (commonly referred to as "nunchucks"), "brass knuckles," short-barreled shotguns, and ballistic knives. See section 1 below for a more complete list.

These weapons are illegal to possess even in private, and even if you have a standard permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Former Penal Code 12020 listed all such "dangerous" weapons together in one code section.  Effective January 1, 2012, however, each weapon was given its own code section.  "Dangerous weapons" were renamed "generally prohibited weapons."  Otherwise, these laws remain as they were prior to 2012.

Penalties for violating California's laws on generally prohibited weapons

Violation of a law governing  generally prohibited weapon is a "wobbler" offense. A wobbler is a crime that a prosecutor may choose to charge as either a misdemeanor or a felony.  The choice depends on the circumstances of the case and your criminal history.

Img-brass-knuckles

If convicted of manufacturing, selling or possessing a prohibited weapon you face the loss of the weapon and:

  1. If convicted of a misdemeanor, up to one (1) year in county jail and/or a maximum $1,000 fine, or
  2. If convicted of a felony, up to three (3) years in California state prison and/or a maximum $10,000 fine.
Legal defenses to charges of violating California's law on generally prohibited weapons

Like many California gun laws and California knife laws, the laws on generally prohibited weapons are full of exceptions and technicalities.

A good California defense attorney may be able to take advantage of these to help you get the charges dismissed... or at least minimize the penalties.

Legal defenses your attorney may raise on your behalf include (but are not limited to):

  • your weapon does not meet the legal definition of a generally prohibited weapon;
  • you didn't know the weapon had the characteristics of a generally prohibited weapon;
  • you have a valid permit for the type of weapon you are charged with possessing;
  • the weapon was discovered during an illegal search; or
  • your arrest or confession resulted from police misconduct.

As former prosecutors and cops, we know the ins and outs of California's firearms and weapons offenses.  Just as importantly, we know the most effective ways to defend these types of charges.

Below, our California criminal defense lawyers2 address the following:

1. What are California's "generally prohibited weapons"?
2. What activities are illegal as to generally prohibited weapons?

2.1. Elements of the crime of unlawfully manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing a generally prohibited weapon

2.2. Firearm

2.3. Knowingly

2.4. Capable of being used as a weapon

3. People and weapons exempt from prosecution
4. Legal defenses to "generally prohibited weapon" charges

4.1. The weapon was discovered during an illegal search
and seizure

4.2. You didn't knowingly possess the
dangerous weapon

4.3. You fall within one of the exemptions allowing you to possess a generally prohibited weapon

4.4. You have a permit for the weapon

4.5. Entrapment

4.6. Police misconduct

5. Penalties for violating California's laws against generally prohibited weapons
6. Collateral consequences of a California weapons conviction

6.1. California weapons offenses and immigration

6.2. Expunging your California conviction for a generally prohibited weapon

6.3. Your right to own/possess firearms

7. Related offenses

7.1. Penal Code 25400 PC – carrying a firearm capable of being concealed on the person

7.2. Penal Code 29800 PC -- California's "felon with a firearm" law

7.3. Penal Code 25850 PC -- carrying a loaded firearm in public

7.4. Penal Code Section 26350 PC -- carrying an unloaded firearm in public

7.5. Penal Code 30600 PC -- California's ban on assault weapons and rifles

7.6. Penal Code 245 PC(a)(2) -- assault with a firearm

7.7. Penal Code 245 PC(a)(1) -- assault with a deadly weapon

7.8. Penal Code 417 PC, brandishing a weapon

7.9. Penal Code 487(d)(2) PC, grand theft firearm

7.10. Penal Code 21510 PC -- possession of a switchblade

7.11. Penal Code 21310 PC -- California's laws against carrying concealed dirks or daggers

If, after reading this article, you would like more information, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

You may also find helpful information in our related articles on California Firearm Laws; California Knife Laws; Penal Code 21310 PC, Concealed Dirks or Daggers; Penal Code 21510 PC, Possession of a Switchblade; Penal Code 417 PC, Brandishing a Weapon; Penal Code 29800 PC, Felon with a Firearm; Penal Code 25400 PC, California's Concealed Firearm Law; Penal Code 26150 and 26155 PC, California's Concealed Firearm Permits; Consequences of a California Felony Conviction; Legal Defenses; California's Gun Free School Zone Act; Self-Defense Laws; Illegal Search and Seizure; Expungement Law; and Restoring Your Firearms Rights.

1. What are California's "generally
prohibited weapons"?

Under California Penal Code 16590, the list of "generally prohibited weapon" includes:

(a) An air gauge knife, as prohibited by Section 20310,3
(b) Ammunition that contains or consists of a flechette dart, asprohibited by Section 30210,4
Img-flechette-dart

(c) A ballistic knife, as prohibited by Section 21110,5
Img-ballistic-knife

(d) A belt buckle knife, as prohibited by Section 20410,6
Img-ballistic-knife

(e) A bullet containing or carrying an explosive agent, as prohibited by Section 30210,
Img-explosive-bullet

(f) A camouflaging firearm container, as prohibited by Section 24310,7
Img-camouflaging-firearm-container

(g) A cane gun, as prohibited by Section 24410,8
Img-cane-gun

(h) A cane sword, as prohibited by Section 20510,9
Img-cane-sword

(i) A concealed dirk or dagger, as prohibited by Section 21310,10
Img-dirk-waistband

(j) A concealed explosive substance, other than fixed ammunition, as prohibited by Section 19100,11
Img-dynamite-explosive

(k) A firearm that is not immediately recognizable as a firearm, as prohibited by Section 24510,
Img-unrecognizable-firearm

(l) A large-capacity magazine, as prohibited by Section 32310,12
Img-large-capacity-magazine

(m) A leaded cane or an instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a billy,  blackjack, sandbag, sandclub, sap, or slungshot, as prohibited by Section 22210,13
Img-leaded-cane

(n) A lipstick case knife, as prohibited by Section 20610,14
Img-dirk-lipstick

(o) Metal knuckles, as prohibited by Section 21810,15
Img-metal-knuckle

(p) A metal military practice hand grenade or a metal replica hand grenade, as prohibited by Section 19200 (unless it is not real and is permanently inert)16 ,
Img-military-hand-grenade

(q) A multi-burst trigger activator, as prohibited by Section 32900,17
Img-multi-burst-trigger

(r) A nunchaku, as prohibited by Section 22010,18
Img-nunchaku

(s) A shobi-zue, as prohibited by Section 20710,19
Img-shobi-zue

(t) A short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun, as prohibited by Section 33215,20
Img-short-barrel-shotgun

(u) A shuriken, as prohibited by Section 22410,21
Img-shuriken-ninja-star

(v) An unconventional pistol [pistol without a bore], as prohibited by Section 31500,22
(w) An undetectable firearm as prohibited by Section 24610,23
Img-undetectable-firearm

(x) A wallet gun, as prohibited by Section 24710,24
Img-wallet-gun

(y) A writing pen knife, as prohibited by Section 20910,
Img-pen-knives

and,

(z) A zip gun, as prohibited by Section 33600.25
Img-zip-gun

2. What activities are illegal as to generally prohibited weapons?

Under California's law on generally prohibited weapons, it is a crime to:

  • manufacture or cause to be manufactured,
  • import into the state,
  • keep for sale,
  • offer or expose for sale,
  • give,
  • lend, or
  • possess

any "generally prohibited weapon".

2.1. Elements of the crime of unlawfully manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing a generally prohibited weapon

In order to convict you of unlawfully manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing illegal weapons, the prosecutor must prove certain additional facts.  These are known as "elements" of the crime.

Let's take a look at some of the legal definitions governing generally prohibited weapons to gain a better understanding of their meaning.

2.2. Firearm

A "firearm" for purposes of California's gun laws is:

  1. any device,
  2. designed to be used as a weapon,
  3. from which a projectile,
  4. is expelled through a barrel,
  5. by the force of any explosion or other form of combustion."26

However, only the firearms specifically listed in Penal Code 16590 are considered generally prohibited weapons.

Conventional pistols, revolvers, long rifles, long shotguns and conventional ammunition may be legally owned by most adults in California, subject to certain restrictions.

Exceptions are:

  1. felons (that is, anyone convicted of any felony offense in any jurisdiction),27
  2. persons who are addicted to narcotics,28
  3. persons with two (2) or more convictions under Penal Code 417, California's law against brandishing a weapon,29
  4. persons convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses,30
  5. persons who suffer from mental illness,31 and
  6. minors (that is, anyone under 18).32

Prosecutors can convict you of possessing a prohibited firearm even if it is inoperable.33 This is because the legislative intent behind these types of possession cases is to protect a victim or third party from the type of fear and coercion that seeing such a weapon is likely to invoke.34

2.3. Knowingly

You only violate California's generally prohibited weapons laws requires when you engage in such conduct knowing either that the object in question:

  1. is a weapon,35 or
  2. is capable of being used as a weapon.36

If you are unaware that the instrument has the characteristics of a weapon, you are not guilty of a crime.

Examples:  A friend sees a zip gun at a swap meet and buys it for you because "it looks cool."  Neither of you realizes it is actually capable of firing a bullet.

Or, perhaps you purchased a beautiful cane at a pawn shop and didn't realize it contained a sword.  When you try to take it through an airport security checkpoint, the hidden blade is discovered.

Note that it isn't necessary for the prosecutor to prove that you intended to use the object as a weapon.  It is enough that you knew that it was capable of being used as one.37

2.4. Capable of being used as a weapon

Img-baseball-bat

"Capable of being used as a weapon" takes into account an object's purpose.  A candlestick could be used as a weapon, but possessing one is not illegal.

The California Legislature intended to prohibit people from carrying instruments "which are ordinarily used for criminal and unlawful purposes."   Generally prohibited weapons are "short, easily concealed, and so weighted as to constitute effective and silent weapons of attack."38

The test will generally be whether evidence indicates that the object would be used for a dangerous... rather than a harmless... purpose.39

Example: Rick hits Steve in the face while he is wearing a standard workout glove that is customarily "weighted" with sand in the palm/fist area.  Steve suffers a serious injury.

During Rick's trial, the prosecutor argues that the glove was no different than what the code describes as a "sandbag."  The jury convicts Rick of Penal Code 242 PC -- battery and possession of a prohibited sandbag under Penal Code 22210.40

The California Court of Appeals overturns Rick's conviction for possessing a dangerous weapon and states that he is only guilty of battery under Penal Code 242 PC.  The court holds that a standard workout glove is not commonly known as a "sandbag."  It states that the "weighted" glove and a sandbag don't share the characteristics that prohibit one from carrying a sandbag.

Despite the fact that the glove caused serious injury...and it is therefore capable of being used as a weapon...it is not an object that is "typically used in an unlawful or criminal manner."  Therefore, it is not a generally prohibited weapon under Penal Code 16590.41

But...

A small baseball bat, the last few inches of which had been broken, was taped at that end and heavier at the unaltered end.  It was held to fit the "common" description of a "billy."

The defendant carried it in his car and did not use it to play baseball.  Given these facts, the court upheld the defendant's conviction for carrying a prohibited weapon.42
3. People and weapons exempt from prosecution
Img-martial-arts-school

Certain people and/or situations are specifically exempt from prosecution for possessing all or some generally prohibited weapons. Some of these include (but are not limited to):

  • sale or transfer to, or possession by, law enforcement agencies,43
  • when approved by the Department of Justice, the manufacture, possession, transportation, or sale of short-barreled rifles or shotguns,44
  • possession of nunchakus by schools that teach martial arts,45
  • possession by authorized persons of antique, curio, or relic firearms or ammunition,46
  • authorized possession by historical societies, libraries, and museums,47
  • use of unloaded weapons in movie, television, and/or video productions,48
  • turning a generally prohibited weapon over to law enforcement,49 and
  • possession by forensic laboratories.50

Keep in mind that even these exceptions have very specific requirements and caveats.  Thus it is critical to consult with a California criminal defense attorney who thoroughly understands California's weapon laws.

4. Legal defenses to "generally prohibited
weapon" charges

There are a number of California legal defenses that a skilled criminal defense attorney can present on your behalf.  The following are some examples.

4.1. The weapon was discovered during an illegal search and seizure

Img-motion-drug-search

Many charges for possessing a generally prohibited weapon arise after an officer stops a suspect for some type of investigation.

But law enforcement can only legally search you or your property when:

  • they have probable cause under California law (that is, a reasonable belief that you are or were engaged in criminal activity),
  • they have a valid California search warrant authorizing them to search your person/property (the scope of which they strictly adhere to), or
  • you voluntary consent to conduct a search of your person/property.

If the police fail to meet these criteria, the search and seizure of your weapon may violate your Fourth Amendment constitutional rights.51

If you can prove this, it is very likely that the court will dismiss the charges.

Example:  The police abruptly knock on your door and state that they are there to search your business for illegal weapons.  You politely ask them to leave since they don't have a warrant.

At that point, one of the officers draws his gun, points it at you and tells you that you that you can consent to the search while they "gently" search the premises.  Or, you can wait until they obtain a warrant, after which they will ransack your store.  You reluctantly agree to the search.

Given these facts, the cops have coerced you into consenting to the search.  As a result, any illegal weapons that they find should be excluded from evidence.

4.2. You didn't knowingly possess the dangerous weapon

If you didn't knowingly possess a prohibited weapon, then you did not commit a crime.

Examples:  You share an apartment with three other people.  One day, you mistakenly grab someone else's coat.  The coat has an illegal knife in the pocket but you don't notice it.  Since you don't know you are actually carrying the weapon, you have not committed a crime.

Or... the police search the apartment you share and find a short-barreled rifle under the sofa.  Since you live with three other people, it may be difficult for the prosecutor to prove that you knowingly possessed a prohibited weapon.

As Oakland criminal defense attorney Jim Hammer explains52 :

"If the prosecution can't prove that you knowingly carried or possessed an illegal weapon, you can't be convicted under this section.  There are numerous ways that you could be carrying the weapon without realizing it.  And when this is the case, California criminal law excuses your unintentional conduct."

4.3. You fall within one of the exemptions allowing you to possess a generally prohibited weapon

As set forth above, certain people are allowed to possess generally prohibited weapons... as long as they meet the applicable conditions.

Examples:  You and your brother study martial arts.  One day you find a pair of nunchukas in your brother's duffel bag.You are not legally prohibited from owning a legal weapon under California law.  So you are permitted to take possession of the nunchakus long enough to bring them to your local police or sheriff.

Under such circumstances, however, it is probably a good idea to call the police first and tell them you are bringing in an illegal weapon.  That way, if you are stopped by the police in transit, you have evidence you are legally in possession of an otherwise prohibited weapon.


But... let's say that on the way to the police station you decide you want to stop at your dojo and practice with the nunchakus yourself.  Now you are no longer possessing the nunchakus legally.

4.4. You have a permit for the weapon

Img-film-permit-gun

California permits to carry "firearms capable of being concealed on the person" do not apply to generally prohibited weapons.   Thus even if you hold a California permit to "carry a concealed weapon" (CCW), you may not possess a weapon listed in Penal Code 16590.

However, certain types of permits do allow you to permit some generally prohibited weapons.

For instance, if you hold an entertainment firearms permit from the Department of Justice, you may be able to use unloaded weapons as props in a production or entertainment event.53

And the California Department of Justice may issue permits to licensed firearms dealer for the possession, transportation, or sale of large-capacity magazines to out-of-state clients.54

4.5. Entrapment

Entrapment serves as a valid legal defense in California when you can prove that you only engaged in the illegal conduct because the police persuaded, lured, or coerced you into doing so.

Example: An undercover cop enters your sporting goods store looking to buy a belt buckle knife.  You tell him you don't sell them because they're illegal.  He asks if you can get one for him from another supplier and you again state that they're illegal.

The officer continues to go to your store on a daily basis, each time asking you to supply him with a belt buckle knife.  Each time he's in the store, he disrupts your business.  You finally agree to get him the knife in order to stop his harassment.

Given these circumstances, you could argue that you were entrapped into violating Penal Code 20410 PC and should therefore be absolved of your criminal culpability.55

But... let's instead say that the undercover cop enters your store and makes the same request.  This time you tell him you don't have the knife to sell him, but you can get it from someone else and that he should come back in a week.

Given these facts...that it was you, not the officer, who initiated the criminal conduct...you probably would not prevail on an entrapment defense.  California criminal law assumes that an ordinary law-abiding citizen will resist the temptation to commit a crime when presented with the simple opportunity to do so.56

4.6. Police misconduct

Img-concealed-police-misconduct

Along these same lines, if the police...for whatever reason...

  • "plant" or "fabricate" evidence,
  • discover your weapon in an illegal search (that is, without a valid California search warrant, without your consent, or outside the scope of a lawful arrest),
  • coerce your confession,  or
  • in any other way violate your civil rights...

police misconduct may override your alleged criminal acts and your charges may be dismissed.57

5. Penalties for violating California's laws against generally prohibited weapons
Img-id-gavel

Manufacture, sale or possession of a generally prohibited weapons is a "wobbler"58.  Prosecutors can charge a wobbler as either a misdemeanor,  or a felony, depending on:

  1. the facts of the case, and
  2. your criminal history.

However, if you are convicted of a first offense involving a metal military practice handgrenade or metal replica handgrenade, the offense is merely an infraction...unless you are an active participant in a criminal street gang.59 Infractions are punished by a maximum $250 fine.

Otherwise, if convicted of a crime involving a prohibited weapon as a misdemeanor, you face

  • informal (otherwise known as "summary") probation, or
  • up to one year in a county jail,

    and/or

  • a maximum $1,000 fine.60

If convicted of a crime involving a prohibited weapon as a felony,  you face

  1. formal probation with up to one year county jail (if probation is granted), OR
  2. up to 16 months or two or three years in the California State Prison (if probation is denied),61

and/or

a maximum $10,000 fine.62

In addition to all of the above penalties, a conviction for this offense may result in the loss of the weapon.63

6. Collateral consequences of a California
weapons conviction

6.1. California weapons offenses and immigration

Img-ice-immigration-gun

If you are a legal immigrant or legal alien, a conviction for possession of a generally prohibited weapon could additionally lead to your deportation.64 For more information about how California's firearm laws affect aliens, please visit our article on California crimes that lead to deportation.

6.2. Expunging your California conviction for a generally prohibited weapon

If you are granted probation in a misdemeanor or felony prohibited weapon case, you may petition to expunge your California criminal record.  You may do this once you successfully complete the probationary period. However, the judge can deny you an expungement if you suffer a probation violation or fail to adhere to all the terms and conditions of probation.65

Keep in mind that while an expungement will help clear your criminal record, it will not restore your right to own or possess a firearm if you have been otherwise banned from doing so.66

6.3. Your right to own or possess firearms

Img-no-guns

A misdemeanor conviction for manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing a generally prohibited weapon won't by itself revoke your right to own or possess a firearm.  But if you are convicted of a felony, you will be prohibited from purchasing, receiving, owning, or possessing a firearm for life.67

However, you if you successfully petition to have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor...your gun rights will be restored.

Note, however, that if you are convicted of a felony involving the use of a dangerous weapon, there is no way to restore your California gun rights.  Even a certificate of rehabilitation and/or a governor's pardon does not restore firearm rights to someone who has been convicted of a felony that involves the use of a dangerous weapon.68

California law defines "dangerous weapon" as any object, instrument, or weapon that is:

  • inherently deadly or dangerous, or
  • used in such a way that it is capable of causing... and likely to cause... death or great bodily injury.69
7. Related offenses

There are a variety of additional California laws that may apply to the possession or use of generally prohibited weapons.  Depending on the circumstances, you could be charged with any of these in addition to generally prohibited weapon charges.

Some of the most common related offenses include (but are not limited to):

7.1. Penal Code 25400 PC – carrying a firearm capable of being concealed on the person

Img-concealed-gun

Penal Code 25400 PC is California's "carrying a concealed firearm" law.  It prohibits carrying a "pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon a person" on your person or in a vehicle.70 This law is sometimes erroneously referred to as "carry a concealed weapon," or "CCW" for short.

You can be charged under California law for both possession of a generally prohibited weapon and under PC 25400.

Example:  you are discovered with a short-barreled shotgun in a suitcase.  Prosecutors would likely charge you with illegally possessing a short-barreled shotgun under Penal Code 33215... and with carrying a concealed firearm under Penal Code 25400.

Note that otherwise legal guns may be carried in public:

  • in the trunk of a car or a locked container (other than a glove box) within a car, or
  • to and from the car in a locked container for any lawful purpose.71

Generally prohibited weapons, however, may not be carried under any circumstances.

7.2. Penal Code 29800 PC -- California's "felon with a firearm" law

Penal Code 29800 PC is California's "felon with a firearm" law.  If you are convicted of Penal Code 29800 as a felony, you will automatically be subject to a lifetime ban on owning, possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm.72

This law imposes a lifetime firearms ban on anyone who is convicted of a felony.

7.3. Penal Code 25850 PC -- carrying a loaded firearm in public

California Penal Code Section 25850 prohibits carrying a loaded firearm in public.73 It applies to the possession of loaded firearms on your person or in your car in a public place.

7.4. Penal Code Section 26350 PC -- carrying an unloaded firearm in public

California Penal Code Section 26350 prohibits carrying an unloaded firearm in public.

As of January 1, 2012, California has no open-carry exception to its firearm laws.

7.5. Penal Code 30600 PC -- California's ban on assault weapons and rifles

Img-no-assault-weapon

Penal Code 30600 PC is California's law banning assault weapons and rifles.74 This law makes it a wobblers to manufacture, sell, or possess assault weapons and .50 BMG rifles75 without a permit.76

7.6. Penal Code 245 PC(a)(2) -- assault with a firearm

Penal Code 245(a)(2) prohibits assault with a firearm.77

Violation of PC 245(a)(2) is a wobblers, which could subject you to:

  1. Probation with up to one year in county jail, or
  2. two, three, or four years in the state prison

and/or

a fine of up to $10,000.78

7.7. Penal Code 245 PC(a)(1) -- assault with a deadly weapon

Penal Code 245(a)(1), assault with a deadly weapon, makes it a wobbler to assault someone with a deadly weapon that is not a firearm.79 This section covers assaults wit knives and other generally prohibited weapons other than guns.

Violations of PC 245(a)(1) are punishable by:

  1. Probation with up to one year in county jail, or
  2. two, three, or four years in the state prison

    and/or
  3. a fine of up to $10,000.80

7.8. Penal Code 417 PC, brandishing a weapon

Img-brandishing-weapon

Penal Code 417 PC, California's "brandishing a weapon" law makes it a misdemeanor to draw, exhibit, or use a weapon in a "rude, angry, or threatening manner."81

If you violate this law with a generally prohibited weapon, prosecutors will probably charge you with both possessing a dangerous weapon... and with brandishing a weapon under California Penal Code 417 PC.

7.9. Penal Code 487(d)(2) PC, grand theft firearm

Penal Code 487(d)(2), PC is California's law against "grand theft firearm" prohibits stealing firearms.82 If you steal a firearm that is also a generally prohibited weapon, prosecutors will likely charge you with both grand theft firearm (commonly referred to as GTF)... and possessing a generally prohibited weapon.

7.10. Penal Code 21510 PC -- possession of a switchblade

Img-purple-switchblade

Penal Code 21510 is California's switchblade law. Under this law, it is a misdemeanor to possess a switchblade with a blade two inches or more in length.83

Possession of a switchblade is punishable by either:

  • Probation, and/or
  • up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

7.11. Penal Code 21310 PC -- California's laws against carrying concealed dirks or daggers

Img-dirk-dagger

Penal Code 21310, California's "Dirks and Daggers" law,84 makes it a wobbler, to carry (concealed):

  1. a knife or other instrument,
  2. with or without a hand guard,
  3. that is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon, and
  4. that may inflict a significant or substantial physical injury or death.85

Folding knives (other than switchblades) are considered stabbing weapons that may inflict great bodily injury or death only if:

  1. the blade of the knife is exposed, and
  2. the blade is locked into position.

As a misdemeanor,  possession of a dirk or dagger is punishable by up to 1 year in county jail.

As a felony, punishment is 16 months, 2 years, or  3 years in
California State Prison.

Call us for help...
Img-call-m

If you or loved one is charged with Penal Code 16590 manufacture, sale or possession of a weapon and you are looking to hire an attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.

Additionally, our Las Vegas Nevada criminal defense attorneys represent clients accused of violating Nevada's firearm and weapons laws.  For more information, we invite you to contact our local attorneys at one of our Nevada law offices, located in Reno and Las Vegas.86

Legal References:

1 California Penal Code 16590.  As used in this part, "generally prohibited weapon" means any of the following:
(a) An air gauge knife, as prohibited by Section 20310.
(b) Ammunition that contains or consists of a flechette dart, asprohibited by Section 30210.
(c) A ballistic knife, as prohibited by Section 21110.
(d) A belt buckle knife, as prohibited by Section 20410.
(e) A bullet containing or carrying an explosive agent, asprohibited by Section 30210.
(f) A camouflaging firearm container, as prohibited by Section24310.
(g) A cane gun, as prohibited by Section 24410.
(h) A cane sword, as prohibited by Section 20510.
(i) A concealed dirk or dagger, as prohibited by Section 21310.
(j) A concealed explosive substance, other than fixed ammunition,as prohibited by Section 19100.
(k) A firearm that is not immediately recognizable as a firearm,as prohibited by Section 24510.
(l) A large-capacity magazine, as prohibited by Section 32310.
(m) A leaded cane or an instrument or weapon of the kind commonlyknown as a billy, blackjack, sandbag, sandclub, sap, or slungshot, asprohibited by Section 22210.
(n) A lipstick case knife, as prohibited by Section 20610.
(o) Metal knuckles, as prohibited by Section 21810.
(p) A metal military practice handgrenade or a metal replicahandgrenade, as prohibited by Section 19200.
(q) A multiburst trigger activator, as prohibited by Section32900.
(r) A nunchaku, as prohibited by Section 22010.
(s) A shobi-zue, as prohibited by Section 20710.
(t) A short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun, asprohibited by Section 33215.
(u) A shuriken, as prohibited by Section 22410.
(v) An unconventional pistol, as prohibited by Section 31500.
(w) An undetectable firearm, as prohibited by Section 24610.
(x) A wallet gun, as prohibited by Section 24710.
(y) A writing pen knife, as prohibited by Section 20910.
(z) A zip gun, as prohibited by Section 33600.

2 Our California criminal defense attorneys have local Los Angeles law offices in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Pomona, Torrance, Van Nuys, West Covina, and Whittier.  We have additional law offices conveniently located throughout the state in Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities to help defend you against charges alleging the manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing of firearms and dangerous weapons.

3 California Penal Code 16140.  As used in this part, "air gauge knife" means a device that appears to be an air gauge but has concealed within it a pointed,metallic shaft that is designed to be a stabbing instrument which isexposed by mechanical action or gravity which locks into place whenextended.

4 California Penal Code 16570.  As used in this part, "flechette dart" means a dart, capableof being fired from a firearm, that measures approximately one inchin length, with tail fins that take up approximately five-sixteenthsof an inch of the body.

5 California Penal Code 16220.  As used in this part, "ballistic knife" means a device thatpropels a knifelike blade as a projectile by means of a coil spring,elastic material, or compressed gas. Ballistic knife does not includeany device that propels an arrow or a bolt by means of any commonbow, compound bow, crossbow, or underwater speargun.

6 California Penal Code 16260.  As used in this part, "belt buckle knife" is a knife that ismade an integral part of a belt buckle and consists of a blade witha length of at least two and one-half inches.

7 California Penal Code 16320.
(a) As used in this part, "camouflaging firearm container"means a container that meets all of the following criteria:
(1) It is designed and intended to enclose a firearm.
(2) It is designed and intended to allow the firing of theenclosed firearm by external controls while the firearm is in thecontainer.
(3) It is not readily recognizable as containing a firearm.
(b) "Camouflaging firearm container" does not include anycamouflaging covering used while engaged in lawful hunting or whilegoing to or returning from a lawful hunting expedition.

8 California Penal Code 16330.  As used in this part, "cane gun" means any firearm mounted or enclosed in a stick, staff, rod, crutch, or similar device, designed to be, or capable of being used as, an aid in walking, if the firearm may be fired while mounted or enclosed therein.

9 California Penal Code 16340.  As used in this part, "cane sword" means a cane, swaggerstick, stick, staff, rod, pole, umbrella, or similar device, havingconcealed within it a blade that may be used as a sword or stiletto.

10 California Penal Code 16470.  As used in this part, "dirk" or "dagger" means a knife orother instrument with or without a handguard that is capable of readyuse as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury ordeath. A nonlocking folding knife, a folding knife that is notprohibited by Section 21510, or a pocketknife is capable of ready useas a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or deathonly if the blade of the knife is exposed and locked into position.

11 California Penal Code 16510.  As used in subdivision (a) of Section 16460 and Chapter 1(commencing with Section 18710) of Division 5 of Title 2, "explosive"means any substance, or combination of substances, the primary orcommon purpose of which is detonation or rapid combustion, and whichis capable of a relatively instantaneous or rapid release of gas andheat, or any substance, the primary purpose of which, when combinedwith others, is to form a substance capable of a relativelyinstantaneous or rapid release of gas and heat. "Explosive" includes,but is not limited to, any explosive as defined in Section 841 ofTitle 18 of the United States Code and published pursuant to Section555.23 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and any of thefollowing:
(a) Dynamite, nitroglycerine, picric acid, lead azide, fulminateof mercury, black powder, smokeless powder, propellant explosives,detonating primers, blasting caps, or commercial boosters.
(b) Substances determined to be division 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, or 1.6explosives as classified by the United States Department ofTransportation.
(c) Nitro carbo nitrate substances (blasting agent) classified asdivision 1.5 explosives by the United States Department ofTransportation.
(d) Any material designated as an explosive by the State FireMarshal. The designation shall be made pursuant to the classificationstandards established by the United States Department ofTransportation. The State Fire Marshal shall adopt regulations inaccordance with the Government Code to establish procedures for theclassification and designation of explosive materials or explosivedevices that are not under the jurisdiction of the United StatesDepartment of Transportation pursuant to provisions of Section 841 ofTitle 18 of the United States Code and published pursuant to Section555.23 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations that defineexplosives.
(e) Certain division 1.4 explosives as designated by the UnitedStates Department of Transportation when listed in regulationsadopted by the State Fire Marshal.
(f) As used in Section 16460 and Chapter 1 (commencing withSection 18710) of Division 5 of Title 2, "explosive" does not includeany destructive device, nor does it include ammunition or small armsprimers manufactured for use in shotguns, rifles, and pistols.

12 California Penal Code 16740.  As used in this part, "large-capacity magazine" means any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds, but shall not be construed to include any of the following:
(a) A feeding device that has been permanently altered so that itcannot accommodate more than 10 rounds.
(b) A .22 caliber tube ammunition feeding device.
(c) A tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm.

13 California Penal Code 16760.  As used in this part, a "leaded cane" means a staff, crutch,stick, rod, pole, or similar device, unnaturally weighted with lead.

14 California Penal Code 16830.  As used in this part, a "lipstick case knife" means a knifeenclosed within and made an integral part of a lipstick case.

15 California Penal Code 16920.  As used in this part, "metal knuckles" means any device orinstrument made wholly or partially of metal that is worn forpurposes of offense or defense in or on the hand and that eitherprotects the wearer's hand while striking a blow or increases theforce of impact from the blow or injury to the individual receivingthe blow. The metal contained in the device may help support the handor fist, provide a shield to protect it, or consist of projectionsor studs which would contact the individual receiving a blow.

16 California Penal Code 19205 PC.  Section 19200 does not apply to any plastic toy handgrenade, or any metal military practice handgrenade or metal replicahandgrenade that is a relic, curio, memorabilia, or display item,that is filled with a permanent inert substance, or that is otherwisepermanently altered in a manner that prevents ready modification foruse as a grenade.

17 California Penal Code 16930 PC.  As used in this part, a "multiburst trigger activator" meanseither of the following:
(a) A device designed or redesigned to be attached to asemiautomatic firearm, which allows the firearm to discharge two ormore shots in a burst by activating the device.
(b) A manual or power-driven trigger activating device constructedand designed so that when attached to a semiautomatic firearm itincreases the rate of fire of that firearm.

18 California Penal Code 16940.  As used in this part, "nunchaku" means an instrumentconsisting of two or more sticks, clubs, bars, or rods to be used ashandles, connected by a rope, cord, wire, or chain, in the design ofa weapon used in connection with the practice of a system ofself-defense such as karate.

19 California Penal Code 17160.  As used in this part, a "shobi-zue" means a staff, crutch,stick, rod, or pole concealing a knife or blade within it, which maybe exposed by a flip of the wrist or by a mechanical action.

20 California Penal Code 17170 PC.  As used in Sections 16530 and 16640, Sections 17720 to 17730, inclusive, Section 17740, Article 1 (commencing with Section 27500) of Chapter 4 of Division 6 of Title 4, and Article 1
(commencing with Section 33210) of Chapter 8 of Division 10 of Title4, "short-barreled rifle" means any of the following:
(a) A rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches inlength.
(b) A rifle with an overall length of less than 26 inches.
(c) Any weapon made from a rifle (whether by alteration,modification, or otherwise) if that weapon, as modified, has anoverall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of lessthan 16 inches in length.
(d) Any device that may be readily restored to fire a fixedcartridge which, when so restored, is a device defined insubdivisions (a) to (c), inclusive.
(e) Any part, or combination of parts, designed and intended toconvert a device into a device defined in subdivisions (a) to (c),inclusive, or any combination of parts from which a device defined insubdivisions (a) to (c), inclusive, may be readily assembled ifthose parts are in the possession or under the control of the sameperson.

California Penal Code 17180 PC.  As used in Sections 16530 and 16640, Sections 17720 to 17730, inclusive, Section 17740, Article 1 (commencing with Section 27500) of Chapter 4 of Division 6 of Title 4, and Article 1
(commencing with Section 33210) of Chapter 8 of Division 10 of Title
4, "short-barreled shotgun" means any of the following:   (a) A firearm that is designed or redesigned to fire a fixedshotgun shell and has a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches inlength.
(b) A firearm that has an overall length of less than 26 inchesand that is designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell.
(c) Any weapon made from a shotgun (whether by alteration,modification, or otherwise) if that weapon, as modified, has anoverall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of lessthan 18 inches in length.
(d) Any device that may be readily restored to fire a fixedshotgun shell which, when so restored, is a device defined insubdivisions (a) to (c), inclusive.
(e) Any part, or combination of parts, designed and intended toconvert a device into a device defined in subdivisions (a) to (c),inclusive, or any combination of parts from which a device defined insubdivisions (a) to (c), inclusive, can be readily assembled ifthose parts are in the possession or under the control of the sameperson.

California Penal Code 33215 PC.  Except as provided in Sections 33220 and 33225 and in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17700) of Division 2 of Title 2, any person in this state who manufactures or causes to bemanufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers orexposes for sale, or who gives, lends, or possesses anyshort-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun is punishable byimprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonmentpursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

Note that:

California Penal Code 33220 states an exception for possession of short-barreled rifles and short-barreled shotguns by law enforcement and the military.

California Penal Code 33225 states an exception for people with a permit to carry a short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun.

21 California Penal Code 17200.  As used in this part, a "shuriken" means any instrument,without handles, consisting of a metal plate having three or moreradiating points with one or more sharp edges and designed in theshape of a polygon, trefoil, cross, star, diamond, or other geometricshape, for use as a weapon for throwing.

22 California Penal Code 17270 PC.  As used in this part, an "unconventional pistol" means a firearm with both of the following characteristics:
(a) It does not have a rifled bore.
(b) It has a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length orhas an overall length of less than 26 inches.

23 California Penal Code 17280 PC.  As used in this part, "undetectable firearm" means any weapon that meets either of the following requirements:
(a) After removal of grips, stocks, and magazines, the weapon isnot as detectable as the Security Exemplar, by a walk-through metaldetector calibrated and operated to detect the Security Exemplar.
(b) Any major component of the weapon, as defined in Section 922of Title 18 of the United States Code, when subjected to inspectionby the types of X-ray machines commonly used at airports, does notgenerate an image that accurately depicts the shape of the component.Barium sulfate or other compounds may be used in the fabrication ofthe component.

24 California Penal Code 17330 PC.  As used in this part, "wallet gun" means any firearm mountedor enclosed in a case, resembling a wallet, designed to be orcapable of being carried in a pocket or purse, if the firearm may befired while mounted or enclosed in the case.

25 California Penal Code 17360 PC.  As used in this part, "zip gun" means any weapon or device that meets all of the following criteria:
(a) It was not imported as a firearm by an importer licensedpursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 ofthe United States Code and the regulations issued pursuant thereto.
(b) It was not originally designed to be a firearm by amanufacturer licensed pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section921) of Title 18 of the United States Code and the regulationsissued pursuant thereto.
(c) No tax was paid on the weapon or device nor was an exemptionfrom paying tax on that weapon or device granted under Section 4181and Subchapters F (commencing with Section 4216) and G (commencingwith Section 4221) of Chapter 32 of Title 26 of the United StatesCode, as amended, and the regulations issued pursuant thereto.
(d) It is made or altered to expel a projectile by the force of anexplosion or other form of combustion.

26 California Penal Code 12001 PC -- Definitions, subdivision "b".

27 California Penal Code 29800(a)(1) -- Any person who has been convicted of a felony under the laws of the United States, the State of California, or any otherstate, government, or country, or of an offense enumerated insubdivision (a), (b), or (d) of Section 23515, or who is addicted tothe use of any narcotic drug, and who owns, purchases, receives, orhas in possession or under custody or control any firearm is guiltyof a felony...  
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), any person who has beenconvicted of a felony or of an offense enumerated in Section 23515,when that conviction results from certification by the juvenile courtfor prosecution as an adult in an adult court under Section 707 ofthe Welfare and Institutions Code, and who owns or has in possessionor under custody or control any firearm is guilty of a felony.
(c) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to a person who has beenconvicted of a felony under the laws of the United States unlesseither of the following criteria is satisfied:
(1) Conviction of a like offense under California law can onlyresult in imposition of felony punishment.
(2) The defendant was sentenced to a federal correctional facilityfor more than 30 days, or received a fine of more than one thousanddollars ($1,000), or received both punishments.

28 Same.

29 California Penal Code 29800 (a)(2) --  Any person who has two or more convictions for violating paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 417 [California's law against brandishing a weapon] and who owns, purchases, receives, or has in possession or under custody or control any firearm is guilty of a felony.

30 California Penal Code 29805 – Except as provided in Section 29855 or subdivision (a) of Section 29800, any person who has been convicted of a misdemeanorviolation of Section 71, 76, 136.1, 136.5, or 140, subdivision (d) ofSection 148, Section 171b, paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) ofSection 171c, 171d, 186.28, 240, 241, 242, 243, 243.4, 244.5, 245,245.5, 246.3, 247, 273.5, 273.6, 417, 417.6, 422, 626.9, 646.9, or830.95, subdivision (a) of former Section 12100, as that section readat any time from when it was enacted by Section 3 of Chapter 1386 ofthe Statutes of 1988 to when it was repealed by Section 18 ofChapter 23 of the Statutes of 1994, Section 17500, 17510, 25300,25800, 30315, or 32625, subdivision (b) or (d) of Section 26100, orSection 27510, or Section 8100, 8101, or 8103 of the Welfare andInstitutions Code, any firearm-related offense pursuant to Sections871.5 and 1001.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or of theconduct punished in subdivision (c) of Section 27590, and who, within10 years of the conviction, owns, purchases, receives, or has inpossession or under custody or control, any firearm is guilty of apublic offense, which shall be punishable by imprisonment in a countyjail not exceeding one year or in the state prison, by a fine notexceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonmentand fine. The court, on forms prescribed by the Department ofJustice, shall notify the department of persons subject to thissection. However, the prohibition in this section may be reduced,eliminated, or conditioned as provided in Section 29855 or 29860.

31 California Welfare and Institutions Code 8100.

32 California Penal Code 29610 PC -- A minor shall not possess a pistol, revolver, or otherfirearm capable of being concealed upon the person.

33 People v. Favalora (1974) 42 Cal.App.3d 988, 991.  ("Possession of the sawed-off rifle is prohibited by Penal Code section 12020 [California's law against possessing, selling, and/or manufacturing dangerous weapons].  Inoperability is not the test. The rifle found in defendant's possession is a "sawed-off shotgun" under the definition provided in [Penal Code] section 12020. It is "a rifle having a barrel ... of less than 16 inches in length" and "has an overall length of less than 26 inches." There is nothing in the section which requires that the gun be operable. Had the Legislature intended that it must be so it could readily have so provided.")

34 See same at 992.  ("An inoperable shotgun is of that kind, and whether operable or inoperable is of a kind ordinarily used for criminal and improper uses. A victim of a robbery, burglary, assault or rape is equally frightened and subdued by being threatened by an inoperable sawed-off shotgun as an operable one. It is doubtful if anyone confronted by a sawed-off shotgun would dare question its possessor about its operability.")

35 See CALCRIM 2500. Illegal Possession, etc., of Weapon.

<Alternative 3B—object designed solely for use as weapon>

[3. The defendant knew that the object (was (a/an) __________<insert characteristics of weapon, e.g., "unusually short shotgun,penknife containing stabbing instrument" >/could be used<insert description of weapon, e.g., "as a stabbingweapon," or "for purposes of offense or defense" >).]

36 See same.

37 See People v. Favalora, endnote 32.  ("[The People do not have to prove that the defendant intended to use the object as a weapon.]")

See also CALCRIM 2500. Illegal Possession, etc., of Weapon.

[The People do not have to prove that the defendant intended to use theobject as a weapon.]
(A/An) <insert type of weapon> means <insertappropriate definition>.<Give only if the weapon used has specific characteristics of which thedefendant must have been aware. >[A <insert type of weapon specified in element 3B> is<insert defining characteristics of weapon>.

** [The People do not have to prove that the object was (concealable[,]/[or] carried by the defendant on (his/her) person[,]/ [or] (displayed/visible)).]]
[(A/An) <insert prohibited firearm> does not need to be inworking order if it was designed to shoot and appears capable ofshooting.]

38 People v. Mayberry (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 165, 170.  ("The last clause of [Penal Code] section 12020, subdivision (a)(1) [California's law against possessing, manufacturing, and/or selling dangerous weapons or other explosives], including the terms "sandclub ... or sandbag" derive from the Dangerous Weapons Control Law of 1923. (Stats.1923, ch. 339, § 1, p. 696.) FN6 "The Legislature obviously sought to condemn weapons common to the criminal's arsenal; it meant as well ‘to outlaw instruments which are ordinarily used for criminal and unlawful purposes.' " ( People v. Grubb (1965) 63 Cal.2d 614, 620, 47 Cal.Rptr. 772, 408 P.2d 100, citation omitted.)...

39 See CALCRIM 2500. Illegal Possession, etc., of Weapon.

<Alternative 3A—object capable of innocent uses>[3. The defendant (possessed/manufactured/caused to bemanufactured/imported/kept for sale/offered or exposed for sale/gave/lent) the object as a weapon. When deciding whether thedefendant (possessed/manufactured/caused to be manufactured/imported/kept for sale/offered or exposed for sale/gave/lent) theobject as a weapon, consider all the surrounding circumstancesrelating to that question, including when and where the objectwas (possessed/ manufactured/caused to bemanufactured/imported/kept for sale/offered or exposed for sale/gave/lent)[,] [and] [where the defendant was going][,] [and][whether the object was changed from its standard form][,] andany other evidence that indicates whether the object would beused for a dangerous, rather than a harmless, purpose.(;/.)]

40 California Penal Code 22210 PC.  Except as provided in Section 22215 and Chapter 1(commencing with Section 17700) of Division 2 of Title 2, any personin this state who manufactures or causes to be manufactured, importsinto the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or whogives, lends, or possesses any leaded cane, or any instrument orweapon of the kind commonly known as a billy, blackjack, sandbag,sandclub, sap, or slungshot, is punishable by imprisonment in acounty jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant tosubdivision (h) of Section 1170.

41 These facts are taken from People v. Mayberry, endnote 5, above.  And at page 167, ("Defendant's principal claim on appeal is that the workout glove is not within the list of weapons prohibited by the last clause of [Penal Code] section 12020, subdivision (a)(1) [California's law against possessing, manufacturing, and/or selling dangerous weapons or other explosives], which derives from the Dangerous Weapons Control Law of 1923. (Stats.1923, ch. 339, § 1, p. 696.) We agree. The subdivision prohibits the possession of "any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a blackjack, slungshot, billy, sandclub, sap, or sandbag." (Penal Code Section 12020 PC, subd. (a)(1); italics added.) The trial court instructed the jury that defendant was guilty of the offense if he "possessed a weighted glove[,] ... knew that he possessed the weighted glove [and] possessed the object as a weapon." In the published portion of the opinion we conclude that a workout glove is not "commonly known" as a "sandclub ... or sandbag," regardless that it contained sand or was used by the defendant to hit a victim in the face causing serious injuries, because it did not share any of their descriptive characteristics. "[T]he prosecution [failed to] prove that the item had the necessary characteristic to fall within the statutory description." ( People v. King (2006) 38 Cal.4th 617, 627, 42 Cal.Rptr.3d 743, 133 P.3d 636.)")

42 People v. Grubb (1966) 63 Cal.2d 614, 621 -- overruled on other grounds-- ("...possession of the altered baseball bat, taped at the smaller end, heavier at the unbroken end, carried about in the car, obviously usable as a ‘billy,' clearly not transported for the purpose of playing baseball, violates the statute.")

43 California Penal Code 17730 PC.  The provisions listed in Section 16590 do not apply to anyof the following:
(a) The sale to, possession of, or purchase of any weapon, device,or ammunition, other than a short-barreled rifle or a short-barreledshotgun, by any federal, state, county, city and county, or cityagency that is charged with the enforcement of any law for use in thedischarge of its official duties.
(b) The possession of any weapon, device, or ammunition, otherthan a short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun, by any peaceofficer of any federal, state, county, city and county, or cityagency that is charged with the enforcement of any law, when theofficer is on duty and the use is authorized by the agency and iswithin the course and scope of the officer's duties.
(c) Any weapon, device, or ammunition, other than a short-barreledrifle or a short-barreled shotgun, that is sold by, manufactured by,exposed or kept for sale by, possessed by, imported by, or lent by,any person who is in the business of selling weapons, devices, andammunition listed in Section 16590 solely to the entities referred toin subdivision (a) when engaging in transactions with thoseentities.

See also California Penal Code 33220 PC.  Section 33215 does not apply to either of the following:
(a) The sale to, purchase by, or possession of short-barreledrifles or short-barreled shotguns by a police department, sheriff'soffice, marshal's office, the California Highway Patrol, theDepartment of Justice, the Department of Corrections andRehabilitation, or the military or naval forces of this state or ofthe United States, for use in the discharge of their official duties.
(b) The possession of short-barreled rifles and short-barreledshotguns by peace officer members of a police department, sheriff'soffice, marshal's office, the California Highway Patrol, theDepartment of Justice, or the Department of Corrections andRehabilitation, when on duty and the use is authorized by the agencyand is within the course and scope of their duties, and the officershave completed a training course in the use of these weaponscertified by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.

(16) Any instrument, ammunition, weapon, or device listed in subdivision (a) that is not a firearm that is found and possessed by a person who meets all of the following [is exempt from prosecution under Penal Code 12020 PC, California's law against manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing firearms or dangerous weapons]: (A) The person is not prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition pursuant to Section 12021 or 12021.1 or paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 12316 of this code or Section 8100 or 8103 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. (B) The person possessed the instrument, ammunition, weapon, or device no longer than was necessary to deliver or transport the same to a law enforcement agency for that agency's disposition according to law. (C) If the person is transporting the listed item, he or she is transporting the listed item to a law enforcement agency for disposition according to law.

(17) Any firearm, other than a short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun, that is found and possessed by a person who meets all of the following [is exempt from prosecution under Penal Code 12020 PC, California's law against manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing firearms or dangerous weapons]: (A) The person is not prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition pursuant to Section 12021 or 12021.1 or paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 12316 of this code or Section 8100 or 8103 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. (B) The person possessed the firearm no longer than was necessary to deliver or transport the same to a law enforcement agency for that agency's disposition according to law. (C) If the person is transporting the firearm, he or she is transporting the firearm to a law enforcement agency for disposition according to law. (D) Prior to transporting the firearm to a law enforcement agency, he or she has given prior notice to that law enforcement agency that he or she is transporting the firearm to that law enforcement agency for disposition according to law. (E) The firearm is transported in a locked container as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 12026.2.

(18) The possession of any weapon, device, or ammunition, by a forensic laboratory or any authorized agent or employee thereof in the course and scope of his or her authorized activities. (19) The sale of, giving of, lending of, importation into this state of, or purchase of, any large-capacity magazine to or by any federal, state, county, city and county, or city agency that is charged with the enforcement of any law, for use by agency employees in the discharge of their official duties whether on or off duty, and where the use is authorized by the agency and is within the course and scope of their duties [is exempt from prosecution under Penal Code 12020 PC, California's law against manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing firearms or dangerous weapons]. (20) The sale to, lending to, transfer to, purchase by, receipt of, or importation into this state of, a large-capacity magazine by a sworn peace officer as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 who is authorized to carry a firearm in the course and scope of his or her duties. (21) The sale or purchase of any large-capacity magazine to or by a person licensed pursuant to Section 26500.

(22) The loan of a lawfully possessed large-capacity magazine between two individuals if all of the following conditions are met [is exempt from prosecution under Penal Code 12020 PC, California's law against manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing firearms or dangerous weapons]: (A) The person being loaned the large-capacity magazine is not prohibited by Section 12021, 12021.1, or 12101 of this code or Section 8100 or 8103 of the Welfare and Institutions Code from possessing firearms or ammunition. (B) The loan of the large-capacity magazine occurs at a place or location where the possession of the large-capacity magazine is not otherwise prohibited and the person who lends the large-capacity magazine remains in the accessible vicinity of the person to whom the large-capacity magazine is loaned.

(23) The importation of a large-capacity magazine by a person who lawfully possessed the large-capacity magazine in the state prior to January 1, 2000, lawfully took it out of the state, and is returning to the state with the large-capacity magazine previously lawfully possessed in the state [is exempt from prosecution under Penal Code 12020 PC, California's law against manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing firearms or dangerous weapons]. (24) The lending or giving of any large-capacity magazine to a person licensed pursuant to Section 26500, or to a gunsmith, for the purposes of maintenance, repair, or modification of that large-capacity magazine. (25) The return to its owner of any large-capacity magazine by a person specified in paragraph (24). (26) The importation into this state of, or sale of, any large-capacity magazine by a person who has been issued a permit to engage in those activities pursuant to Section 12079, when those activities are in accordance with the terms and conditions of that permit. (27) The sale of, giving of, lending of, importation into this state of, or purchase of, any large-capacity magazine, to or by entities that operate armored vehicle businesses pursuant to the laws of this state. (28) The lending of large-capacity magazines by the entities specified in paragraph (27) to their authorized employees, while in the course and scope of their employment for purposes that pertain to the entity's armored vehicle business [is exempt from prosecution under Penal Code 12020 PC, California's law against manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing firearms or dangerous weapons]. (29) The return of those large-capacity magazines to those entities specified in paragraph (27) by those employees specified in paragraph (28).

(30)(A) The manufacture of a large-capacity magazine for any federal, state, county, city and county, or city agency that is charged with the enforcement of any law, for use by agency employees in the discharge of their official duties whether on or off duty, and where the use is authorized by the agency and is within the course and scope of their duties [is exempt from prosecution under Penal Code 12020 PC, California's law against manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing firearms or dangerous weapons]. (B) The manufacture of a large-capacity magazine for use by a sworn peace officer as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 who is authorized to carry a firearm in the course and scope of his or her duties. (C) The manufacture of a large-capacity magazine for export or for sale to government agencies or the military pursuant to applicable federal regulations.

(31) The loan of a large-capacity magazine for use solely as a prop for a motion picture, television, or video production.

(32) The purchase of a large-capacity magazine by the holder of a special weapons permit issued pursuant to Section 12095, 12230, 12250, 12286, or 12305, for any of the following purposes [is exempt from prosecution under Penal Code 12020 PC, California's law against manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing firearms or dangerous weapons]: (A) For use solely as a prop for a motion picture, television, or video production. (B) For export pursuant to federal regulations. (C) For resale to law enforcement agencies, government agencies, or the military, pursuant to applicable federal regulations.")

44 California Penal Code 33225 PC.  Section 33215 does not apply to the manufacture, possession, transportation, or sale of a short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun, when authorized by the Department of Justice pursuant toArticle 2 (commencing with Section 33300) and not in violation offederal law.

45 California Penal Code 22015.  Section 22010 does not apply to either of the following:
(a) The possession of a nunchaku on the premises of a school thatholds a regulatory or business license and teaches the arts ofself-defense.
(b) The manufacture of a nunchaku for sale to, or the sale of anunchaku to, a school that holds a regulatory or business license andteaches the arts of self-defense.

46 California Penal Code 17700.  The provisions listed in Section 16590 do not apply to anyantique firearm.

See also California Penal Code 17705(a) -- The provisions listed in Section 16590 do not apply to any firearm or ammunition that is a curio or relic as defined inSection 478.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations andthat is in the possession of a person permitted to possess the itemsunder Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of theUnited States Code and the regulations issued pursuant thereto.

47 California Penal Code 17715 PC.  The provisions listed in Section 16590 do not apply to any instrument or device that is possessed by a federal, state, or local historical society, museum, or institutional collection that is opento the public if all of the following conditions are satisfied:
(a) The instrument or device is properly housed.
(b) The instrument or device is secured from unauthorizedhandling.
(c) If the instrument or device is a firearm, it is unloaded.

48 California Penal Code 17720.  The provisions listed in Section 16590 do not apply to anyinstrument or device, other than a short-barreled rifle or ashort-barreled shotgun, which is possessed or used during the courseof a motion picture, television, or video production or entertainmentevent by an authorized participant therein in the course of makingthat production or event or by an authorized employee or agent of theentity producing that production or event.

49 California Penal Code 17735 PC.  The provisions listed in Section 16590 do not apply to anyinstrument, ammunition, weapon, or device that is not a firearm andis found and possessed by a person who meets all of the following:
(a) The person is not prohibited from possessing firearms orammunition under subdivision (a) of Section 30305 or Chapter 2(commencing with Section 29800) or Chapter 3 (commencing with Section29900) of Division 9 of Title 4 of this part, or Section 8100 or8103 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(b) The person possessed the instrument, ammunition, weapon, ordevice no longer than was necessary to deliver or transport it to alaw enforcement agency for that agency's disposition according tolaw.
(c) If the person is transporting the item, the person istransporting it to a law enforcement agency for disposition accordingto law.

50 California Penal Code 17745.  The provisions listed in Section 16590 do not apply to thepossession of any weapon, device, or ammunition by a forensiclaboratory or by any authorized agent or employee thereof in thecourse and scope of the person's authorized activities.

41 Your Fourth Amendment constitutional rights protect you from unreasonable searches and seizures. If an officer searches you, your car, your business, or your home without a valid California search warrant or probable cause, that officer may violate your Fourth Amendment rights.

52 Oakland criminal defense attorney Jim Hammer uses his inside knowledge as a former San Francisco Deputy District Attorney to defend clients accused of offenses that violate California's firearms and weapons laws throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Marin County and San Jose.

53 California Penal Code 29500.  Any person who is at least 21 years of age may apply for an entertainment firearms permit from the Department of Justice. Anentertainment firearms permit authorizes the permitholder to possessfirearms loaned to the permitholder for use solely as a prop in amotion picture, television, video, theatrical, or other entertainmentproduction or event.

See also, California Penal Code 17720 PC, endnote ___, above, relating to use of unloaded short-barreled rifles and shotguns as props.

54 California Penal Code 32315.  Upon a showing that good cause exists, the Department ofJustice may issue permits for the possession, transportation, or salebetween a person licensed pursuant to Sections 26700 to 26915,inclusive, and an out-of-state client, of large-capacity magazines.

55 People v. West, (1956) 139 Cal.App.2d Supp. 923, 924. ("Entrapment is the conception and planning of an offense by an officer and his procurement of its commission by one who would not have perpetrated it except for the trickery, persuasion, or fraud of the officer. Persuasion or allurement must be used to entrap.")

56 These facts are loosely based on those in People v. Makovsky (1935) 3 Cal.2d 366.

See also California Jury Instructions -- Criminal -- CALJIC 4.61.5 -- Entrapment-Permissible and Impermissible Conduct.  ("It is permissible for law enforcement agents or officers [or persons acting under their direction, suggestion or control] to provide opportunity for the commission of a crime including reasonable, though restrained, steps to gain the confidence of suspects.")

57 Your Fourth Amendment constitutional rights protect you from unreasonable searches and seizures. If an officer searches you, your car, your business, or your home without a valid California search warrant or probable cause, that officer may violate your Fourth Amendment rights.

58 See the code sections listed in ____, above.

59 California Penal Code 19200 (b) -- Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a first offense involving any metal military practice handgrenade or metal replica handgrenade shall be punishable only as an infraction unless the offender is an active participant in a criminal street gang as defined in the StreetTerrorism and Enforcement and Prevention Act (Chapter 11 (commencingwith Section 186.20) of Title 7 of Part 1).

60 See the Penal Code sections referenced in endnote 1, above.

61 California Penal Code 1170(h)(1) -- Except as provided in paragraph (3), a felony punishable pursuant to this subdivision where the term is not specified in the underlying offense shall be punishable by a term of imprisonment in acounty jail for 16 months, or two or three years.

62 California Penal Code 672.  Upon a conviction for any crime punishable by imprisonment inany jail or prison, in relation to which no fine is hereinprescribed, the court may impose a fine on the offender not exceedingone thousand dollars ($1,000) in cases of misdemeanors or tenthousand dollars ($10,000) in cases of felonies, in addition to theimprisonment prescribed.

63 See California Penal Code 18010 PC.   (a) The Attorney General, district attorney, or cityattorney may bring an action to enjoin the manufacture of,importation of, keeping for sale of, offering or exposing for sale,giving, lending, or possession of, any item that constitutes anuisance under any of the following provisions:
(1) Section 19290, relating to metal handgrenades.
(2) Section 20390, relating to an air gauge knife.
(3) Section 20490, relating to a belt buckle knife.
(4) Section 20590, relating to a cane sword.
(5) Section 20690, relating to a lipstick case knife.
(6) Section 20790, relating to a shobi-zue.
(7) Section 20990, relating to a writing pen knife.
(8) Section 21190, relating to a ballistic knife.
(9) Section 21890, relating to metal knuckles.
(10) Section 22090, relating to a nunchaku.
(11) Section 22290, relating to a leaded cane or an instrument orweapon of the kind commonly known as a billy, blackjack, sandbag,sandclub, sap, or slungshot.
(12) Section 22490, relating to a shuriken.
(13) Section 24390, relating to a camouflaging firearm container.
(14) Section 24490, relating to a cane gun.
(15) Section 24590, relating to a firearm not immediatelyrecognizable as a firearm.
(16) Section 24690, relating to an undetectable firearm.
(17) Section 24790, relating to a wallet gun.
(18) Section 30290, relating to flechette dart ammunition and to abullet with an explosive agent.
(19) Section 31590, relating to an unconventional pistol.
(20) Section 32390, relating to a large-capacity magazine.
(21) Section 32990, relating to a multiburst trigger activator.
(22) Section 33290, relating to a short-barreled rifle or ashort-barreled shotgun.
(23) Section 33690, relating to a zip gun.
(b) These weapons shall be subject to confiscation and summarydestruction whenever found within the state.
(c) These weapons shall be destroyed in the same manner describedin Section 18005, except that upon the certification of a judge or ofthe district attorney that the ends of justice will be servedthereby, the weapon shall be preserved until the necessity for itsuse ceases.

64 8 U.S. Code Section 1227 -- Deportable aliens.  ("(a) Classes of deportable aliens.  Any alien (including an alien crewman) in and admitted to the United States shall, upon the order of the Attorney General, be removed if the alien is within one or more of the following classes of deportable aliens...(2) Criminal offenses...(C) Certain firearm offenses -- Any alien who at any time after admission is convicted under any law of purchasing, selling, offering for sale, exchanging, using, owning, possessing, or carrying, or of attempting or conspiring to purchase, sell, offer for sale, exchange, use, own, possess, or carry, any weapon, part, or accessory which is a firearm or destructive device (as defined in section 921(a) of title 18) in violation of any law is deportable.")  Because Penal Code 12020 PC involves selling and possessing weapons and/or other firearms, it is a California crime that may lead to deportation.

65 California Penal Code 1203.4 PC -- Change of plea.  This section outlines the procedures by which a defendant can expunge his California Penal Code 12020 PC "manufacturing, possessing, and/or selling dangerous weapons" conviction from his criminal record.

66 California Penal Code 1203.4 PC -- Change of plea.  ("Dismissal of an accusation or information pursuant to this section does not permit a person to own, possess, or have in his or her custody or control any firearm or prevent his or her conviction under Section 12021.")

67 California Penal Code 12021 -- Unlawful possession of a firearm.  ("(a)(1) Any person who has been convicted of a felony under the laws of the United States, the State of California, or any other state, government, or country or of an offense enumerated in subdivision (a), (b), or (d) of Section 12001.6, or who is addicted to the use of any narcotic drug, and who owns, purchases, receives, or has in his or her possession or under his or her custody or control any firearm is guilty of a felony.")

68 California Penal Code 4852.17 PC -- Whenever a person is issued a certificate ofrehabilitation or granted a pardon from the Governor under thischapter, the fact shall be immediately reported to the Department ofJustice by the court, Governor, officer, or governmental agency bywhose official action the certificate is issued or the pardongranted. The Department of Justice shall immediately record the factsso reported on the former criminal record of the person, andtransmit those facts to the Federal Bureau of Investigation atWashington, D.C. When the criminal record is thereafter reported bythe department, it shall also report the fact that the person hasreceived a certificate of rehabilitation, or pardon, or both.   Whenever a person is granted a full and unconditional pardon bythe Governor, based upon a certificate of rehabilitation, the pardonshall entitle the person to exercise thereafter all civil andpolitical rights of citizenship, including, but not limited to: (1)the right to vote; (2) the right to own, possess, and keep any typeof firearm that may lawfully be owned and possessed by othercitizens; except that this right shall not be restored, and Sections17800 and 23510 and Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 29800) ofDivision 9 of Title 4 of Part 6 shall apply, if the person was everconvicted of a felony involving the use of a dangerous weapon.

See also California Penal Code 4854 PC -- Firearms; restoration of rights; exceptions.  ("In the granting of a pardon to a person, the Governor may provide that the person is entitled to exercise the right to own, possess and keep any type of firearm that may lawfully be owned and possessed by other citizens; except that this right shall not be restored, and Sections 12001 and 12021 shall apply, if the person was ever convicted of a felony involving the use of a dangerous weapon [which includes the weapons listed under Penal Code 12020 PC, California's law against manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing firearms or dangerous weapons].")

69 See CALCRIM 511 - [A dangerous weapon is any object, instrument, or weapon that isinherently deadly or dangerous or one that is used in such a way that itis capable of causing and likely to cause death or great bodily injury.]

70 California Penal Code 25400 PC.   (a) A person is guilty of carrying a concealed firearm whenthe person does any of the following:
(1) Carries concealed within any vehicle that is under the person's control or direction any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capableof being concealed upon the person.
(2) Carries concealed upon the person any pistol, revolver, orother firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
(3) Causes to be carried concealed within any vehicle in which theperson is an occupant any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capableof being concealed upon the person.

71 California Penal Code 25610(a) -- Section 25400 shall not be construed to prohibit anycitizen of the United States over the age of 18 years who resides oris temporarily within this state, and who is not prohibited by stateor federal law from possessing, receiving, owning, or purchasing afirearm, from transporting or carrying any pistol, revolver, or otherfirearm capable of being concealed upon the person, provided thatthe following applies to the firearm:
(1) The firearm is within a motor vehicle and it is locked in thevehicle's trunk or in a locked container in the vehicle.
(2) The firearm is carried by the person directly to or from anymotor vehicle for any lawful purpose and, while carrying the firearm,the firearm is contained within a locked container.

72 California Penal Code 29800 PC.
(a) (1) Any person who has been convicted of a felony underthe laws of the United States, the State of California, or any otherstate, government, or country, or of an offense enumerated insubdivision (a), (b), or (d) of Section 23515, or who is addicted tothe use of any narcotic drug, and who owns, purchases, receives, orhas in possession or under custody or control any firearm is guiltyof a felony.
(2) Any person who has two or more convictions for violatingparagraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 417 and who owns,purchases, receives, or has in possession or under custody or controlany firearm is guilty of a felony.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), any person who has beenconvicted of a felony or of an offense enumerated in Section 23515,when that conviction results from certification by the juvenile courtfor prosecution as an adult in an adult court under Section 707 ofthe Welfare and Institutions Code, and who owns or has in possessionor under custody or control any firearm is guilty of a felony.
(c) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to a person who has beenconvicted of a felony under the laws of the United States unlesseither of the following criteria is satisfied:
(1) Conviction of a like offense under California law can onlyresult in imposition of felony punishment.
(2) The defendant was sentenced to a federal correctional facilityfor more than 30 days, or received a fine of more than one thousanddollars ($1,000), or received both punishments.

.

73 California Penal Code 25850(a) -- A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when the person carries a loaded firearm on the person or in a vehicle whilein any public place or on any public street in an incorporated cityor in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited areaof unincorporated territory.

74 California Penal Code 30600(a) -- Any person who, within this state, manufactures orcauses to be manufactured, distributes, transports, or imports intothe state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or whogives or lends any assault weapon or any .50 BMG rifle, except asprovided by this chapter, is guilty of a felony, and upon convictionshall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) ofSection 1170 for four, six, or eight years.

75 California Penal Code 30530 PC.  (a) As used in this part, ".50 BMG rifle" means a centerfire rifle that can fire a .50 BMG cartridge and is not already anassault weapon or a machinegun.
(b) A ".50 BMG rifle" does not include any antique firearm, norany curio or relic as defined in Section 478.11 of Title 27 of theCode of Federal Regulations.

76 California Penal Code  31005 PC.  (a) The Department of Justice may, upon a finding of goodcause, issue permits for the manufacture or sale of assault weaponsor .50 BMG rifles for the sale to, purchase by, or possession ofassault weapons or .50 BMG rifles...

77 California Penal Code 245(a)(2) -- Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a firearm shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not less than six months and not exceeding one year, or by both a fine notexceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and imprisonment.

78 See endnotes ___ and ____.

79 California Penal Code 245(a)(1) -- Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm or by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury shall bepunished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or fouryears, or in a county jail for not exceeding one year, or by a finenot exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine andimprisonment.

80 See endnotes ___ and ____.

81 California Penal Code 417 PC -- Brandishing a weapon.  ("(a)(1) Every person who, except in self-defense, in the presence of any other person, draws or exhibits any deadly weapon whatsoever, other than a firearm, in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, or who in any manner, unlawfully uses a deadly weapon other than a firearm in any fight or quarrel is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 30 days.")  If you violate this law with one of the weapons listed in Penal Code 12020 PC, prosecutors could charge you with this offense and possessing a dangerous weapon in violation of Penal Code 12020 PC.

82 California Penal Code 487(d)(2) PC -- Grand theft firearm.  ("Grand theft is theft committed in any of the following cases:...(d) When the property taken is any of the following...(2) A firearm.")

83 Penal Code 21510 - Every person who does any of the following with a switchblade knife having a blade two or more inches in length is guilty of a misdemeanor:
(a) Possesses the knife in the passenger's or driver's area of any motor vehicle in any public place or place open to the public.
(b) Carries the knife upon the person.
(c) Sells, offers for sale, exposes for sale, loans, transfers, or gives the knife to any other person.

84 Penal Code 21310 PC provides, in relevant part – [A]ny person in this state who carries concealed upon the person any dirk or dagger is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

85 Penal Code 16470.  As used in this part, "dirk" or "dagger" means a knife or other instrument with or without a handguard that is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death. A  nonlocking folding knife, a folding knife that is not prohibited by Section 21510, or a pocketknife is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death only if the blade of the knife is exposed and locked into position.

86 Please feel free to contact our Nevada criminal defense attorneys Michael Becker and Daria A. Snadowsky for any questions relating to Nevada's firearm and weapons laws. Their Nevada law offices are located in Reno and Las Vegas.

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