Unraveling the Distinctions of Firearm Crimes
In California, weapons possession can be illegal in certain circumstances. California Penal Code section 25400 and California Penal Code section 25850 both criminalize firearms possession. However, those sections differ in scope, applicability, and legal implications. Below is an analysis of the differences between the two sections, and the potential ramifications that can ensue if a person is charged with either of these crimes.Penal Code Section 25400
Penal Code section 25400, also known as the concealed carry law, focuses primarily on the unlawful carrying of a concealed firearm. This section makes it illegal to carry a concealed firearm on one's person or in a vehicle without a valid concealed carry license or an exemption. It aims to regulate the concealed carrying of firearms to maintain public safety and prevent the misuse or abuse of firearms in public spaces.
Under Penal Code section 25400, individuals found guilty of carrying a concealed firearm without proper authorization may face misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the circumstances. The severity of the offense depends on factors such as prior convictions, involvement in criminal activities, and the individual’s intent behind carrying the concealed firearm. The penalties for violating this section can include fines, imprisonment, and a potential prohibition on future firearm ownership.Penal Code Section 25850
Penal Code Section 25850 deals with the open carrying of firearms. However, this section focuses on the unlawful carrying of a loaded firearm openly and publicly, such as on streets, sidewalks, or other public places. Unlike section 25400, which primarily addresses the mode of carrying, Section 25850 focuses on the open display of a loaded firearm in public spaces without lawful authority. Notably, this section can apply to a person who carries a loaded firearm in their own vehicle, since that is considered a public place for purposes of this statute.
The intention behind Penal Code section 25850 is to regulate the open carrying of loaded firearms to prevent intimidation and reduce the risk of accidents. Individuals found guilty of violating this section may face misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the circumstances. The penalties can include fines, imprisonment, and the potential loss of firearm ownership rights.Distinguishing Factors
The primary distinction lies in the manner of carrying. Penal Code section 25400 focuses on concealed carrying, while Penal Code section 25850 focuses on open carrying. Furthermore, section 25400 requires a concealed carry license or an exemption for lawful concealed carrying, whereas section 25850 does not provide specific authorization provisions, making open carrying of a loaded firearm generally illegal, except in limited circumstances such as law enforcement duties or specific exemptions.
Ultimately, both sections aim to ensure public safety, but they address different aspects of firearm possession. Section 25400 aims to regulate concealed carrying to prevent unauthorized access and misuse, while section 25850 focuses on reducing the risks associated with open display and potential intimidation.
If you are arrested for carrying a firearm in public, it is absolutely critical that you discuss your case with a knowledgeable and aggressive criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Michael Kraut has an extensive knowledge of the ins and outs of weapons violations, and has successfully argued for weapons violations that were originally charged as felonies to be reduced to misdemeanors.
For more information about the criminal justice process, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at (888) 0334-6344 or (323) 464-6453.