Under Penal Code 25400 PC, California law makes it a crime to carry a concealed firearm on your person or in a vehicle. As a misdemeanor, the charge carries a penalty of up to 1 year in jail. As a felony, the sentence is up to 3 years in jail.
Penal Code 25400 PC reads: “A person is guilty of carrying a concealed firearm when the 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 capable of being concealed upon the person. (2) Carries concealed upon the person any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person. (3) Causes to be carried concealed within any vehicle in which the person is an occupant any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.”
WHAT IS A CRIME UNDER CALIFORNIA LAW ON CARRYING A CONCEALED FIREARM?
Recently, the laws under California Penal Code 12025 governing concealed firearms were replaced by Penal Code 25400 PC, which makes it a crime to (1) Carry a concealed firearm inside a vehicle under your control or direction; (2) Carry a concealed firearm on your person; or (3) Cause a concealed firearm to be carried in a vehicle that you are an occupant of.
In addition, if you are charged with violating Penal Code 25400, you could be charged with a number of other crimes including carrying a loaded firearm, or brandishing a weapon.
Here is what you need to know about the new law, and how an experienced criminal defense attorney can help if you are charged with violating it.
PROSECUTION OF CARRYING A CONCEALED FIREARM
In order for you to be convicted of carrying a concealed firearm on your person, the prosecution must prove all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You carried a firearm capable of being concealed on your person;
- You knew that you were carrying the firearm; and
- The firearm was substantially concealed on your person.
In order for you to be convicted of carrying, or causing the carrying of a concealed firearm within a vehicle, the prosecution must prove all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) You carried within a vehicle a firearm capable of being concealed on your person, or caused that firearm to be carried; (2) You knew the firearm was in the vehicle; (3) The firearm was substantially concealed within the vehicle; and (4) The vehicle was under your control or direction, or that you were in the vehicle at the time the firearm was concealed there.
PENALTIES FOR CARRYING A CONCEALED FIREARM IN CALIFORNIA
If you are convicted of carrying a concealed firearm, you face a sentence of 364 days in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
- You have previously been convicted of any felony;
- The firearm is stolen and you had knowledge, or reasonably should have known that it was stolen;
- You are an active participant in a street gang;
- You are restricted by law from possessing a firearm pursuant to Chapter 2 or 3 of Division 9 of this title, Section 8100 or 8130 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or Penal Code 29800 or 29900.
If you are convicted of violating Penal Code 25400 as a felony, you face a sentence of 16 months, 2 or 3 years in state prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Punishment for violating Penal Code 25400 is a wobbler, meaning you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on whether:
- You have been previously convicted of a misdemeanor crime against a person, or of a narcotics or dangerous drug violation;
- The firearm was loaded, or both the firearm and the ammunition capable of being discharged from it are in your immediate possession; or
- The firearm is not registered to you.
DEFENSES TO CARRYING A CONCEALED FIREARM CHARGES IN CALIFORNIA
If you have been charged with carrying a concealed firearm, a skilled criminal defense attorney can raise several defenses on your behalf. These defenses include:
You did not know that you possessed the firearm:
Knowledge of possession is an element that the prosecution is required in order to convict you of a Penal Code 25400 violation. If you did not know you had possession of the firearm, you should not be found guilty of this crime. Say, for example, a friend asked you to give him a ride. After you dropped your friend off, you are pulled over by an officer who see’s a gun laying on the back seat of your car and you are arrested for carrying a concealed firearm. If your attorney can show that you did not know you had possession of the gun and that the gun did not belong to you, you should not be convicted of this crime.
The firearm was not concealable:
A concealable firearm is defined as having a barrel less than 16 inches in length. If your firearm has a longer barrel or otherwise does not match the description of a concealed firearm, you should not be convicted of this crime.
You were licensed to carry the firearm:
If you have a concealed carry permit, then you are exempt from this law. See our page on concealed carry weapons permits.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON CARRYING A CONCEALED FIREARM IN CALIFORNIA
Is it a violation if the firearm is holstered?
No, a firearm carried openly on a belt holster is not “concealed” under this law. See our page on California open carry laws.
Is it a violation if the firearm is not in working order?
Yes. Even if the firearm is not functional, you can still be convicted of violating Penal Code 25400 PC.
If I am transporting the gun for hunting purposes, can I be convicted for carrying a concealed firearm?
No, but the firearm may need to be unloaded and carried in a locked container in the trunk of your car, and you must show proof of a gun permit in order to avoid criminal charges.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP
For several years, KN Trial Attorneys have been successfully defending those facing criminal charges of carrying a concealed firearm. We can help you, too.
With our office located in Granada Hills, California, we are ready to serve clients within Los Angeles, the county and the city, and any other place within California specially: Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville.. Our experienced attorneys in California’s gun laws are always near you, no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (888) 950 0011 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.