California gun laws prohibit you from carrying a variety of illegal weapons. But instead of simply saying that you can't carry a concealed weapon without a permit, or that you can't possess an illegal gun, the California Legislature came up with a multitude of offenses, each one more confusing than the next.
Take the issue of unlawful possession, for example. California Penal Code 12280 PC prohibits possessing assault weapons. Penal Code 12020 PC prohibits possessing specific “dangerous” firearms. Penal Code 12303 PC prohibits possessing destructive devices. Penal Code 12025 PC prohibits carrying concealed weapons.
And, depending on the circumstances of your arrest and on the specific weapon involved, you could violate multiple offenses at the same time. If, for example, you carry a concealed assault weapon, prosecutors would likely charge you with California Penal Code 12280 PC which prohibits possessing assault weapons and Penal Code 12025 PC carrying a concealed weapon. To make matters worse, if your assault weapon is loaded, they'll tack on a charge for Penal Code 12031 PC for carrying a loaded weapon. Using the weapon adds additional charges and possibly sentencing enhancements as well.
The bottom line? Illegally possessing and/or using an illegal weapon in California can subject you to a variety of charges and to substantial penalties. (Read our article, Connection between California weapons charges and DUI.)