As a Criminal Defense Lawyer, practicing law for more than 20 years in Orange County California, I am often asked about the law as it pertains to legally carrying a concealed weapon. I have represented hundreds of individuals who have been charged with illegally carrying a concealed weapon. While it is legal to buy, carry, and conceal a weapon in California, there are strict rules in doing so and strict rules as to who may obtain a license to do so. Here is some information pertaining to applying for a license to carry a concealed weapon (CCW) and an explanation of who may and may not carry a concealed weapon.
California Penal Code sections 26150 and 26155 provides that a license to carry a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed, may be issued to an individual but, a statewide standard application form must be completed and approved.
Who May be Issued a License:
A license for CCW may be issued to any person who is of good moral character, who has completed a course of training, and where good cause exists for issuance of the CCW license. Anyone applying for a license will be fingerprinted and a check of all state and federal records will be conducted. The purpose of this is to determine if the person applying is eligible to possess a firearm. There are individuals who are prohibited from possessing firearms and thus denied the application for a CCW license.
Format of CCW License:
1. A license to carry concealed a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
2. Where the population of the county is less than 200,000 persons according to the most recent federal decennial census, a license to carry loaded and exposed in the county a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
Penal Code sections 26150 and 26155 require that any new license applicant must complete a training course. The training course will be specified by the licensing authority.
Some jurisdictions may require psychological testing on the initial application.
Completing an application does not guarantee the issuance of a CCW license. Whether or not the application is granted is strictly at the discretion of the license authority.
Who is Ineligible to CCW:
The questions on the application form are meant to help the licensing authority determine whether or not the application will be granted. An example of some of these questions are as follows:
1. Are you now, or have you been, a party to a lawsuit in the last five years.
2. Are you now, or have you been, subject to a restraining order.
3. Are you on probation or parole from any state for conviction of any offense.
Any conviction for a felony bars the individual from owing, carrying or otherwise possession a firearm, and would thus bar the individual from obtaining a license for CCW.
False Statements on Application Form:
Any person who files an application with false information contained in the application is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Any person who makes a false statement regarding any of the following, on the application, is guilty of a felony:
1. The denial or revocation of a license, or the denial of an amendment to a license, issued pursuant to this article.
2. A criminal conviction.
3. A finding of not guilty by reason of insanity.
4. The use of a controlled substance
5. A dishonorable discharge from military service.
6. A commitment to a mental institution.
7. A renunciation of United States citizenship.
CCW License Conditions and Restrictions:
There are conditions and restrictions that go along with CCW licensing. Here are just a few:
The licensee shall not, when carrying a concealed weapon:
- Consume any alcoholic beverage.
- Be in a place having a primary purpose of dispensing alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption.
- Be under the influence of any medication or drug, whether prescribed or not.
- Refuse to show the license or surrender the concealed weapon to any peace officer upon demand.
- Impede any peace officer in the performance of his/her duties.
- Present himself/herself as a peace officer to any person unless he/she is, in fact, a peace officer as defined by California law.
- Unjustifiably display a concealed weapon.
- Carry a concealed weapon not listed on the permit.
- Carry a concealed weapon at times or circumstances other than those specified in the permit.
This is an overview of some of the requirements, responsibilities and laws associated with carrying a concealed weapon. The application itself is extensive and anyone who is applying for a license to carry a concealed weapon is responsible for making sure that there are completely informed before doing so. Also, anyone who carries a concealed weapon must have a license to do so or face criminal charges if caught doing so without a license.
If you, or someone you know, has been arrested for carrying a concealed weapon without a license, you should immediately seek the advice and assistance of an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney who has experience in defending felony gun charges in Orange County, California.