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Are Camouflaging Firearm Containers Illegal in California?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Oct 02, 2018 | 0 Comments

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A camouflaging firearm container is an object that holds a gun, but nonetheless, does not look like it contains a firearm. This element of concealment is the reason for the use of the term, “camouflaging.” The container in question is also designed so that the firearm inside it can be fired without removing it from the container.

Under California Penal Code 24310, the following acts are illegal in California when it comes to camouflaging firearm containers:

  • Manufacture,
  • Import into the State of California,
  • Keep for sale,
  • Offer for sale,
  • Give,
  • Lend, and/or
  • Possess

If a person performs any of these acts with a camouflaging firearm container, he can get charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the specific facts of a case. The penalties for either charge can include imprisonment for one to three years and/or substantial fines.

Camouflaging Firearm Containers and Penal Code 24310

PC 24310 is California's statute governing camouflaging firearm containers. According to this code section, it is a crime if any person:

manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives, lends, or possesses any camouflaging firearm container…

Under Penal Code 24310, possession of a camouflaging firearm container is only a crime if it is done:

  • Willfully (or, with a specific purpose to possess);
  • Feloniously (or, with a specific intent to possess); or,
  • Unlawfully (or, with a wrongful purpose to possess).

Penalties for Violating PC 24310

A violation of Penal Code 24310 PC is a wobbler offense, meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

If charged as a misdemeanor, the crime is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a term not to exceed one year.

If charged as a felony, the crime is punished pursuant to California Penal Code 1170(h) PC.

Penal Code 1170(h) PC is a catchall provision for felony sentencing. When a statute calls for punishment pursuant to Penal Code 1170(h), the judge can sentence the defendant to a county jail term of:

  • 16 months,
  • Two years, or
  • Three years.

In addition to jail time, a person guilty of a crime under PC 24310 may be subject to a fine in an amount between $1,000 and $10,000.

Other Laws Prohibiting Camouflaging Firearm Containers

California Penal Code 16590 is California's statute governing “generally prohibited weapons.” The section lists several weapons/objects that are generally prohibited in the State of California. Camouflaging firearm containers are one such type of object, specifically banned under PC 16590 (f).

Examples of other prohibited weapons include:

  • Concealed daggers;
  • Belt buckle knives; and,
  • Metal knuckles.

Exemptions from the General Laws

Please note that certain people and/or situations are exempt from prosecution for possessing camouflaging firearm containers and other prohibited weapons. For example, members of law enforcement agencies may sell, transfer, or possess camouflaging firearm containers.

Please also note that the above statutes and code sections do not prohibit the lawful use or possession of other lawful firearms. For example, conventional pistols, revolvers, long rifles, and long shotguns can still be legally owned by most adults in California, subject to certain restrictions.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

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