Penal Code 24710 - California Law re "Wallet Guns"

Penal Code 24710 PC is the California statute that applies to “wallet guns,” or firearms mounted or enclosed in a case. Under this code section, it is a crime for a person to do any of the following with wallet guns:

  • manufacture them;
  • import them into California;
  • sell, give, or lend them; and/or,
  • possess them.

Examples of illegal acts under PC 24710 include:

  • Manuel has a firearm that can be fired while it is held in a case and he gives it to his girlfriend, Camila.
  • Camila takes this firearm from Manuel and stores it in her basement.
  • Luke purchases a wallet gun in Oregon, puts it in his car, and drives it into California.

Luckily, there are several legal defenses that a person can raise if accused of a crime under Penal Code 24710. These include showing that an accused party:

  • did not have a “wallet gun;”
  • is free from prosecution; and/or,
  • was arrested after an unlawful search or seizure.

Penalties

A violation of PC 24710 is a wobbler offense under California law. This means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of a case.

If charged as a misdemeanor, the crime is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year; and/or,
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.

If charged as a felony, the offense is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail for up to three years; and/or,
  • a maximum fine of $10,000.

Our California criminal defense attorneys will highlight the following in this article:

california wallet gun law
California Penal Code 24710 PC is the California statute that applies to “wallet guns,” or firearms mounted or enclosed in a case.

1. The legal definition of a wallet gun and what is prohibited under Penal Code 24710

California Penal Code 17330 says that a “wallet gun” is any firearm mounted or enclosed in a case.1 The case for these guns typically resembles a wallet, thus the name. A person can fire a wallet gun while it is still enclosed in its case, and the guns are capable of being carried in a pocket or purse.

California Penal Code 24710 is California's statute governing these firearms. 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 wallet gun…”2

In addition to the above statute, wallet guns are prohibited under California Penal Code 16590, or California's statute on generally prohibited weapons. This statute lists several weapons/objects that are generally prohibited in the State of California. Wallet guns are one such type of weapon, specifically banned under PC 16590(x).3

Examples of other prohibited weapons include:

  • concealed daggers;
  • belt buckle knives; and,
  • metal knuckles.4

2. Legal Defenses

A person accused under Penal Code 24710 can challenge the accusation by raising a legal defense. A good defense can often get a charge reduced or even dismissed. Please note, though, that it is critical for an accused to hire a criminal defense attorney to get the most effective defense.

Three common defenses to PC 24710 accusations are:

  1. no “wallet gun;”
  2. free from prosecution; and/or,
  3. unlawful search or seizure

2.1. No wallet gun

Please recall that Penal Code 17330 provides a specific definition of what a wallet gun is. This means that it is a valid legal defense for an accused to say that while he may have committed an illegal act under PC 24710, he did so with a firearm that was not a “wallet gun.”

2.2. Free from prosecution

Please note that certain people and/or situations are free from prosecution for committing certain acts with a wallet gun. For example, members of law enforcement agencies may sell, transfer, or possess zip guns. The same holds true for some antique dealers. It is a defense, therefore, for a defendant to show that he falls into one of these exempted categories.

2.3. Unlawful search or seizure

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that we have the right to be free from unreasonable “searches and seizures” by law enforcement. If authorities obtain evidence from an unreasonable, or unlawful search and seizure, then that evidence can get excluded from a criminal case. This means that any charges in the case could get reduced or even dismissed.

The Fourth Amendment's rule against unreasonable search and seizures means that police may not search a person or his property unless one of the following is true:

  1. they have obtained a valid search warrant from a judge, or
  2. the search falls within one of a number of exceptions to the warrant requirement recognized by federal and California courts.5
man behind bars wallet gun california
A violation of this law can result in a fine and/or jail time

3. Penalties, Punishment, and Sentencing

A violation of PC 24710 is a wobbler offense under California law. This means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of a case.

If charged as a misdemeanor, the crime is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year; and/or,
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.6

Please note that in lieu of jail time a judge may order a defendant to misdemeanor probation. This is also called “summary” or “informal” probation.

If a PC 24710 violation is charged as a felony, the offense is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in a county jail for up to three years; and/or,
  • a maximum fine of $10,000.7

Note that in lieu of jail time a judge may order a defendant to felony probation.

4. Related Offenses

There are three crimes related to illegal acts with wallet guns. These are:

  1. carrying a loaded firearm in a public place or a vehicle – PC 25850;
  2. carrying a concealed weapon – PC 25400; and,
  3. possession of a bump stock – PC 32900.

4.1. Carrying a loaded firearm in a public place or a vehicle – PC 25850

California Penal Code 25850 PC makes it a crime for a person to carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle or public place.

A violation of PC 25850 is a wobbler offense, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

The crime is typically charged as a misdemeanor if there are no aggravating circumstances. As such, it is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year; and/or,
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.8

If the offense is charged as a felony, it is punishable by:

  • 16 months, or two or three years in county jail; and/or,
  • a fine of up to $1,000.9

4.2. Carrying a concealed weapon – PC 25400

California Penal Code 25400 makes it a crime to do certain acts with a concealed weapon.

The prohibited acts under PC 25400 are:

  • carrying a firearm concealed within any vehicle under a person's control or direction;
  • carrying a firearm concealed upon one's person; or,
  • causing a firearm to be carried or concealed within any vehicle.10

A violation of PC 25400 is a wobbler offense, meaning 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 up to one year; and/or,
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.11

If the offense is charged as a felony, it is punishable by:

  • up to three years in county jail; and/or,
  • a fine of up to $1,000.12

4.3. Possession of a bump stock – PC 32900

“Bump stocks” -- also known as “multi-burst trigger activators” -- are gun accessories that increase the rate at which semiautomatic rifles fire.13 Bump stocks are illegal in California under Penal Code 32900. (It is also illegal under federal law.)

In particular, PC 32900 makes it illegal to possess, manufacture, import or sell a bump stock.14

A violation of this code section can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, in the prosecutor's discretion.

As a misdemeanor, the penalty for possession of a bump stock is up to one year in county jail.15

Felony possession of a bump stock in California can be punished by 16 months to three years in jail.16

Were you accused of committing an illegal act with a wallet gun in California? Call us for help…

california wallet gun legal defense
Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime under Penal Code 24710 PC, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. We can be reached 24/7 at 855-LawFirm.

  1. California Penal Code 17330 PC. This code section states: “as used in this part, “wallet gun” means any firearm mounted or enclosed in a case, resembling a wallet, designed to be or capable of being carried in a pocket or purse, if the firearm may be fired while mounted or enclosed in the case.”

  2. California Penal Code 24710 PC. This code section states: “Except as provided in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17700) of Division 2 of Title 2, any person in this state who 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 wallet gun is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.”

  3. California Penal Code 16590(x) PC.

  4. California Penal Code 16590 PC.

  5. E.g., Riley v. California (2014) 134 S.Ct. 2473, 2482. (“In the absence of a warrant, a search is reasonable only if it falls within a specific exception to the warrant requirement.”).

  6. California Penal Code 24710 PC.

  7. See same. See also California Penal Code 1170(h) PC.

  8. California Penal Code 25850(c) PC.

  9. California Penal Code 25850 PC.

  10. California Penal Code 25400 PC.

  11. California Penal Code 25400(c)(7) PC.

  12. California Penal Code 18 PC.

  13. California Penal Code 16930 PC.

  14. California Penal Code 32900 PC.

  15. See same.

  16. See same. See also California Penal Code 1170(h) PC.

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