[Penal Code Section 12031]
The police, district attorneys and courts take firearms offenses, including carrying a loaded firearm in public very seriously. Carrying a loaded firearm in public includes carrying the firearm on your person or in a vehicle. Similar to other firearms offenses, carrying a loaded firearm in public is a wobbler, which means that it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
In order for the District Attorney to prove that you carried a loaded firearm in public, the District Attorney essentially needs to prove the following:
- The defendant carried a loaded firearm on his or her person or in a vehicle;
- The defendant knew that he or she was carrying a firearm; and
- At that time, the defendant was in a public place or on a public street in.
A firearm is loaded if there is an unexpended cartridge or shell in the firing chamber or in either a magazine or clip attached to the firearm. Moreover, a firearm does not need to be in working order if it was designed to shoot and appears capable of shooting.
However, you may have a defense to this offense if you carried the firearm in public because you:
- Reasonably believed that the person or property of himself or herself or of another is in immediate, grave danger and that the carrying of the weapon is necessary for the preservation of that person or property. “Immediate” means the brief interval before and after the local law enforcement agency, when reasonably possible, has been notified of the danger and before the arrival of its assistance.
- Reasonably believed that he or she is in grave danger because of circumstances forming the basis of a current restraining order issued by a court against another person or persons who has or have been found to pose a threat to his or her life or safety.
- Were engaged in the act of making or attempting to make a lawful arrest.
- Were carrying the loaded firearm at his or her place of residence, including any temporary residence or campsite.
Though, in order to fully explore your defenses to the offense of carrying a loaded firearm in public, you should consult with Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law. We are experienced criminal firearms defense lawyers and can help you in your case. Don’t face the prosecution and the courts without having knowledgeable gun rights lawyers on your side. Contact us today.