California Penal Code § 25800 PC defines the crime of “armed criminal action” as carrying a loaded gun with the intention of committing a felony. Armed criminal action can be prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor.
The full text of the law is as follows:
25800. (a) Every person who carries a loaded firearm with the intent to commit a felony is guilty of armed criminal action.
(b) Armed criminal action is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison.
Under California Penal Code 25800, the legal definition of “armed criminal action” is:
- carrying a loaded firearm
- with the intent to commit a felony crime.
It does not matter whether the firearm is a handgun or a shotgun. Nor does it matter whether the intended felony is a violent crime such as robbery or a property crime such as burglary.
Example: Patty plans to assault her ex-boyfriend. She puts her loaded pistol in her belt holster and walks towards his house. Here, Patty is committing “armed criminal action” for carrying a loaded gun with the intention to commit assault with a deadly weapon. It makes no difference if she never ends up committing the assault.
Armed criminal action can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. As a misdemeanor, armed criminal action carries up to one year in jail. As a felony, armed criminal action carries a prison term of either:
- 16 months,
- 2 years, or
- 3 years.
Potential defenses to PC 25800 charges are that you did not intend to commit a felony or that the gun was not loaded.1