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California has some of the toughest weapons laws in the nation. While we all have the right to own and carry weapons (including firearms) under the Second Amendment, there are many federal, state, and local laws that dictate what, how, and where we can keep and carry weapons. Accidentally having a pocketknife at a fairground could lead to losing that knife, but it will not typically constitute a weapons charge. Carrying a weapon into an airport, however, could.

To avoid being caught up in an unnecessary weapons charge, review all applicable laws where you will be carrying your weapon, and reach out to a San Diego criminal defense attorney or law enforcement for more information about legal carrying.


In the state of California, it is illegal to:

  • Own a deadly weapon if you are a felon
  • Sell firearms without a license
  • Carry a concealed firearm without proper authority or permit
  • Shoot or use a deadly weapon in a populated building
  • Possess an assault weapon
  • Assault someone with a deadly weapon
  • Own a gun without carrying a permit
  • Carry a deadly weapon on school property
  • Show a deadly weapon in a threatening manner
  • Carry a firearm in a vehicle without proper storage (i.e. unloaded and placed in a locked container)
  • Improperly or negligently store a weapon a child can access in the home
  • Purchase parts or kits to turn a weapon into an assault-weapon

Depending on the weapons violation, individuals may face a misdemeanor or felony charge. Offenses that occur in certain areas like airports, schools, or on federal property may enhance the gravity of the charge accordingly. Deadly weapons include anything that can be used to inflict mortal wounds. A pocket knife, your car, a gun, knitting needle, and a machete could all be considered deadly weapons.

However, some weapons (such as firearms and knives) could carry more significant penalties. Aspects that may affect the seriousness of a charge include the type of weapon, the manner in which it was used, if it was concealed, and if the defendant has a criminal history.


If you are convicted of a weapons charge, you could face imprisonment, steep fines, and lose future privileges to own a firearm in the future. If the prosecution can prove you intended to use the weapon to commit a felony, you may face more stringent penalties.


In many weapons charges, your defense attorney may recommend an affirmative defense. Using this strategy, the defense may argue that the defendant did, in fact, commit a weapons violation, but did so because of extenuating circumstances. For instance, if you were assaulted, retrieved your attacker’s weapon, and talked to law enforcement as soon as possible, you may not face criminal charges. Any reasonable account that explains why you committed a weapons violation may persuade the prosecution to drop the charges against you.

Other common defenses include lack of knowledge of the weapon you were carrying, accidental firing, or illegal search and seizure. If you are being investigated for or have been charged with a weapons offense, you may want to seek legal counsel immediately. Weapons charges often occur in tandem with other charges, and you may face more serious legal consequences than you think.

At The Law Office of George Gedulin, our San Diego criminal defense lawyers know the court systems and key prosecutors. From the moment a client calls us for help, we start working on a case. Attorney Gedulin personally oversees every case our firm takes on, and we only handle a limited number of cases so we can focus on serving our clients with the highest quality legal counsel.

For more information about our approach to weapons charges, reach out to our team today. Call (858) 281-4605.

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