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Is It Illegal to Possess a Ghost Gun in California?

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Are you facing a ghost gun possession charge in California? Not sure what that means or what the consequences could be? Ghost guns are firearms assembled from parts or kits with no serial number, making them difficult to trace and potentially dangerous. This has led many state legislatures to take steps to regulate their manufacture and possession, including in California where these homemade firearms have become a major concern for lawmakers.

In this blog post, we'll dive into the details of ghost gun regulations in California, so you can understand your rights and obligations when it comes to owning this type of firearm.

Why Are Ghost Guns Illegal?

In recent years, there has been a rise in the use of ghost guns in crimes, such as mass shootings and gang violence. Due to their dangerous nature, the state of California has made it illegal to manufacture, sell, or possess ghost guns.

Potential Penalties for Possession of a Ghost Gun in California

California has some of the toughest gun laws in the United States, and possessing a ghost gun is no exception to them. Ghost guns are often referred to as DIY firearms because they are assembled from a kit or built from scratch, making them untraceable and illegal in California. If caught with a ghost gun, an individual in California can face severe consequences, such as:

  • Handgun – Up to $1,000 in fines and as much as a year in county jail.
  • All Other Firearms – Up to six months in county jail and as much as $1,000 in fines.

Is There Any Way to Legally Possess a Ghost Gun?

While California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, there are still some exceptions to the law on ghost guns. One exception allows individuals to build a firearm for personal use if they obtain a serial number from the Department of Justice. However, this exception does not apply to those who sell or transfer the guns they have built.

Possible Legal Defenses to Ghost Gun Possession Charges

Facing firearm possession charges can be a daunting experience, especially when it comes to ghost guns. However, depending on the circumstances, there may be possible legal defenses that could help in fighting the charges, including:

  • Lack of Knowledge or Intent – If the defendant was not aware that the firearm was untraceable, they may not have knowingly violated any laws.
  • Lawful Purposes – The defendant may be able to argue that the ghost gun was possessed for lawful purposes, such as self-defense or hunting.

By exploring these and other potential defenses, it is possible to fight back against ghost gun possession charges and protect your rights in the process.

Alternatives to Criminal Prosecution for Possession of a Ghost Gun in California

While criminal prosecution is the most common response to possessing a ghost gun, there are alternative measures that can be taken. One alternative is to require the possessor to surrender the firearm within a certain timeframe. Another option is to impose a fine or community service in lieu of criminal charges.

These alternatives can provide a more appropriate response depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

Facing ghost gun charges in California? Call Appel & Morse at (805) 467-6060 or get in touch with us online today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced gun possession defense attorneys in Fresno.

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