CA Penal Code 25400(a)

Carrying a Concealed Firearm

In order to understand a carrying a concealed firearm charge, you need to first understand what is considered a firearm under CA PC 25400(a).

A firearm capable of being concealed on the person is any device designed to be used as a weapon, from which a projectile is expelled or discharged through a barrel by the force of an explosion or other form of combustion and that has a barrel less than 16 inches in length. A firearm capable of being concealed on the person also includes any device that has a barrel 16 inches or more in length that is designed to be interchanged with a barrel less than 16 inches in length.

In addition to a gun, a firearm also includes any rocket, rocket-propelled projectile launcher, or similar device containing any explosive or incendiary material, whether or not the device is designed for emergency or distress signaling purposes. (CalCrim Jury Instructions 2521)

If you are being charged with carrying a concealed firearm there are three different scenarios that qualify for CA PC 25400(a).

The first is having a concealed pistol, revolver, or other firearm that is capable of being concealed on your person, within a vehicle that is under your control or direction.

In order to be convicted under this first scenario, the prosecution must prove that:

  • The defendant carried within a vehicle a firearm capable of being concealed on the person;
  • The defendant knew the firearm was in the vehicle;
  • The firearm was substantially concealed within the vehicle;

and

  • The vehicle was under the defendant’s control or direction.

The prosecution does not need to prove that the firearm is in working order. If the firearm was designed to shoot and appears capable of shooting, you can be found guilty of carrying a concealed firearm.

In order to defend yourself under this first scenario, you defense attorney can argue that you did not know that there was a firearm in the vehicle. If you were unaware of this, you cannot be charged with carrying a concealed firearm within a vehicle. It is important to note that even if you did not place the firearm in the vehicle, if you are aware that it is there, you can be convicted of carrying a concealed firearm within a vehicle.

Another defense is if the firearm was not concealed. For instance, if you were carrying a gun in a belt holster, this is not considered a concealed firearm. However, if the firearm was inside an unlocked carrying case, that would qualify as concealed, and would not be a defense to CA PC 25400(a).

In order to be convicted under this scenario, you also have to have been in control of, or directing the vehicle. However, even if you were not, you can be convicted under another scenario that we will discuss later. Under CA PC 25400(a), the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you met the requirements to be convicted of carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle. If they do not you cannot be convicted. Therefore your defense attorney will try to create reasonable doubt in order to win the case.

As we discussed earlier, even if you are not in control of, or directing, the vehicle, you can still be convicted of carrying a concealed firearm within a vehicle. This scenario differs from the first in that it charges that you “caused” the firearm to be carried concealed within a vehicle.

In order to convict you under this scenario, the prosecution must prove that”

  • You caused a firearm capable of being concealed on the person to be concealed while it was carried within a vehicle;
  • You knew that you caused the firearm to be concealed in the vehicle;
  • The firearm was substantially concealed within the vehicle;

AND

  • You were in the vehicle during the time the firearm was concealed there.

This scenario is very similar to the first except the prosecution has to prove that you caused the firearm to be concealed within the vehicle. They do not have to prove that you were in control of the vehicle at the time.

To defend against this scenario, your defense attorney will try many of the same things as under the first scenario. Keep in mind that the prosecution does not have to prove that you brought the firearm into the vehicle. If you put a gun into a bag that you knew someone was about to put into a car, that would be enough to convict you under this scenario. It is also possible to be guilty of this crime if you intentionally conceal a firearm that was already in the vehicle when you entered it. As with the first scenario, the prosecution has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed this crime. If they do not, you cannot be convicted under CA PC 25400(a).

The final scenario does not involve a vehicle. It involves carrying a concealed firearm on your person. In order to convict you under this scenario, the prosecution must prove that:

1. You carried on your person a firearm capable of being concealed on the person;

2. You knew that you were carrying a firearm;

AND

3. It was substantially concealed on your person.

This is similar to the first scenario, except that instead of within a car, the firearm must be concealed somewhere on you.

Your defense attorney can argue that you did not know that there was a firearm on your person. This would be the case if, for example, you borrowed a jacket from a friend, and were not aware that there was a small gun in the pocket. He can also argue that the firearm was not substantially concealed on your person. For instance, if you are carrying a gun in a belt holster, that is not a concealed firearm, and you cannot be convicted of CA PC 25400(a).

As with the other two scenarios, the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you meet the criteria for conviction of carrying a concealed firearm, and if they are unable to do so, you will not be convicted.

Regardless of the scenario, carrying a concealed firearm is a serious charge. To ensure the best possible outcome for your case, it is important to discuss your situation with an effective criminal defense lawyer like Seppi Esfandi. He has over 13 years of experience defending clients in many types of criminal cases, including concealed firearm charges. Don’t hesitate to call for a FREE case evaluation.

 

References

CA PC 25400. (a) A person is guilty of carrying a concealed firearm when the person does any of the following: (1) Carries concealed within any vehicle that is under the person' s control or direction any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person. (2) Carries concealed upon the person any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person. (3) Causes to be carried concealed within any vehicle in which the person is an occupant any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.

CalCrim Jury Instructions 2520, 2521 and 2522.

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