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If recent school shootings are any indication, guns should not be on or anywhere near schools and colleges in the United States. In California, it is illegal to possess or carry a firearm on or near public or private school grounds, including kindergartens, colleges, and universities.
However, these strict laws often lead to false arrest and imprisonment, which is why gun owners in California must be aware of all the weapons-related regulations in order to avoid getting in trouble with the law.
Generally speaking, with very few exceptions, it is unlawful to possess a firearm on or anywhere within 1,000 feet of public or private school grounds. “If you are accused of violating any of the above-mentioned, you could be charged with a felony in California,” warns our Los Angeles weapons charge defense attorney at Okabe & Haushalter.
Although the goal of these strict laws is to prevent school shootings and reduce the risk of violence on or near public or private schools, colleges, and universities, even law-abiding and peaceful gun owners in California can be arrested and thrown in jail for violating these rules.
For example, let’s imagine the following scenario. A student, who has a valid license to possess and carry a firearm, has just parked his car in a college parking lot and is showing his newly purchased gun to a friend. Even though neither the gun owner nor his friend possess any ammunition and the firearm is not loaded, the gun owner and his friend could be arrested and face weapons charges.
Without an experienced weapons charge defense attorney in Los Angeles by his side, the gun owner would have a hard time proving that he and his friend were not plotting a school shooting and were not planning to harm other people at or near the college.
Under California law, if you possess a firearm in a place you know or should know to be a school zone (public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or grades 1 to 12), or anywhere within 1,000 feet of the school zone, you risk being arrested for possession of a firearm in the school zone.
However, if your home or office or other private property you are legally allowed to be on is within 1,000 of the school zone, you are permitted to possess the firearm as long as that location is not part of the school grounds. Another exception to the law restricting the possession of firearms on or near school grounds is that the firearm must be an unloaded handgun stored in a locked container or inside the locked trunk of your vehicle.
Also, if you have a valid reason to believe that your life is in grave danger (for example, you have a valid restraining order against another person), you may have a legal right to possess a firearm on or near school grounds. Also, if you can prove that you are a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, importer, wholesaler, and the firearm is not loaded, you have a right to possess the weapon in a school zone.
The following persons are also allowed to possess a weapon in a school zone in California:
There are certain other exceptions to restricted possession of firearms on or near school grounds in California. If you have been accused of or arrested for possessing a firearm in a school zone, do not hesitate to consult with our Los Angeles weapons charge defense attorney at Okabe & Haushalter. Get a free consultation by calling at 310-430-7799.