California Penal Code Section 32525(a): Possession of a Machine Gun

Possession of a Machine Gun California has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States. In fact, certain types of firearms are illegal and cannot be possessed by anyone, even if the firearm was legally purchased or obtained in another jurisdiction. Under California Penal Code Section 32625, it can be a felony to possess or transport a machine gun, as defined by statute. Those convicted can even be sentenced to prison.

Definition of Machine Gun

The definition for a “machine gun” or “machingun” as it is referred to in the statute is taken from the Federal definition found in the National Firearms Act. A machinegun is any weapon that shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. A machine gun is capable of shooting several round by holding down a trigger without the need to reload or rechamber a round. Machine guns are widely used by the United State military, however it is illegal to own or possess a machinegun in California. In addition, under California Penal Code Section 32625(b), it is also illegal to convert a normal firearm into a machinegun capable of shooting several rounds.

In order to be considered to be in possession of a machine gun, a defendant need not have to physically hold the firearm. As long as the person has dominion or control of the firearm, he or she can be prosecuted for this criminal offense.


If the machine gun in question was discovered as the result of an illegal search or seizure, the defendant may be able to have the evidence suppressed by a filing a motion to suppress under Penal Code Section 1538.5. If the stop, search or seizure is determined by a judge to be unlawful, all resulting evidence would be thrown out and the charge of machine gun possession would be dismissed.

There may be exceptions under the law, and people who are in the military or law enforcement may be exempt from prosecution if they were in lawful possession of a machine gun.

It is not a defense that the machine gun was bought or assembled legally in a different state or jurisdiction that does not prohibit machine gun ownership. Even if the machine gun was legally purchased outside of California, a person in possession of one of these weapons within California can be charged with a felony.


Possessing a machine gun is a “wobbler” offense which can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If convicted as a felony, a defendant can be sentenced to serve up to three years in prison. Converting a firearm into a machine gun is a more serious offense that is always a felony. Those convicted can be sentenced to serve up to eight years in prison. Anyone convicted of this crime would automatically lose their gun rights for 10 years.

If you have been accused of possessing or converting a machine gun, it is absolutely critical that you speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney right away. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Michael Kraut understands how to effectively fight illegal firearm possession charges. Mr. Kraut works hard to ensure his clients receive the absolute best representation possible.

For more information about machine gun possession, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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