California Gun Law Guide

What are California Gun Laws?

Owning a gun is a privilege granted by virtue of the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution, but understanding California specific gun laws is a slightly more complicated matter. Being convicted of a firearm charge in California can carry a number of permanent consequences, including the inability to legally own guns and the loss of job and housing opportunities.

With the recent stream of never-ending controversy surrounding the country’s gun laws, it is now more important than ever to understand exactly what your legal rights to gun ownership are.
At The Law Office of Amy Chapman, our knowledge California’s firearm laws has allowed us to explore a number of legal and technical defenses related to firearm charges and weapon laws, and we have committed ourselves to helping residents understand California’s gun laws to do our part in creating a safer state for all.

What are the Differences in California’s Gun Laws Versus Federal Gun Laws?

Because the right to bear arms is a fundamental right for US citizens, many take this to mean that owning a gun is as simple as going out to buy one from a licensed firearms vendor.

This is far from the truth, however, and doing so can result in hefty fines, firearm seizure and harsh legal repercussions down the road. California has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, and understanding the difference between federal guidelines and California-specific guidelines is critical in making the decision to buy, possess or carry a gun on one’s person in the state.

Some of the major differences between federal and state guidelines in firearm law are as follows:

Waiting PeriodA ten-day waiting period is required before a firearm can be released to a buyer or transferee.No waiting period. A background check may be required, and so long as it does not take longer than three business days to complete, it is legal to immediately transfer firearms to a buyer or transferee.
Assault WeaponsBanned in California.Legal.
Purchase LimitOnly one handgun can be purchased in a 30-day period. No limit on rifles or shotguns.No purchase limit.
RegistrationFirearm ownership must be registered the California DOJ within 60 days of residency.None.
Concealed Carry PermitPermit required; a permit issued in one jurisdiction allows concealed carry anywhere in the state.None.
Purchasing a FirearmAll sales and transfers of firearms, including private and/or gun show transactions, must be made through a licensed dealer under the Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) process.Transactions between unlicensed private parties in the same state do not require documentation. However, purchasing firearms across state lines require transfer to a federal firearms licensee in the buyer’s state.


I Own a Legally Purchased Gun, and Wish to Apply for a Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) License

If you own a legally purchased gun, information on obtaining a CCW license typically be found by contacting your county sheriff’s office (or city police department, if applicable). These departments are well-equipped to not only answer any questions you may have, but to also provide a copy of CCW license policy and application as well.

Residents of Sonoma County can find information regarding the CCW license on the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office website. In order to qualify, applicants must meet certain requirements, including:

• Be a resident of unincorporated Sonoma County or the cities of Windsor, Sonoma, Cloverdale, Cotati or Healdsburg;
• Be at least 21 years of age;
Complete a DOJ application;
• Be free of criminal convictions that would disqualify the applicant from CCW licensure;
• Be of good moral character, and provide at least three characters of character reference;
• Show good cause to receive CCW licensure;
• Pay all associated application fees—in California, this is a non-refundable $47 fee;
• Be free from any psychological conditions that may affect applicant suitability; and
Complete any required training.

Who is Prohibited from Owning or Possessing Firearms in California?

The California DOJ’s Bureau of Firearms provides a thorough list* of those who cannot lawfully own a gun, as dictated by both state and federal guidelines. People who are prohibited from owning or possessing firearms in California generally fall into one of two categories:

• Those who are indefinitely prohibited from lawfully owning or possessing a firearm. For example:
o Any person convicted of a state or federal felony; and
o Any person who, in a court of law, is found to be a danger to themselves or others due to mental illness, mental incompetence to stand trial, not guilty by reason of insanity or is addicted to a narcotic drug.

• Those who are prohibited from lawfully owning or possessing a firearm for ten years after receiving a misdemeanor violation. For example:
o Criminal possession of a firearm; and
o Bringing or possessing a loaded firearm within the state capitol, legislative offices, upon or within the grounds of a public school and/or a public space.
o Domestic violence
o Battery

*The Bureau of Firearms’ guide to Firearms Prohibiting Categories is for informational purposes only, and may not inclusive of all firearms prohibiting categories in California. Contacting an experienced California firearms lawyer may be necessary for specific legal clarification.

Are California’s Gun Laws Effective in Reducing Gun Violence?

Laws surrounding guns and firearms—both in California and across the country—are a constant opportunity for legal reform. California consistently ranks as one of the top safest states for firearm safety across the country, proving how improving the legal structure around guns and firearms can yield positive results without necessarily infringing upon a citizen’s constitutional right to bear arms.

Thanks to California’s strict gun laws, substantial strides have been taken to not only reduce firearm-related fatalities, but to also combat illegal firearms trafficking and allow firearm seizure from prohibited persons. Between 1992 and 2014, California saw at least a 58 percent decrease in firearm-related deaths, compared to the 27 percent national decrease during that same period.

Contact an Experienced California Firearms Attorney

As long as the Second Amendment stands, guns and firearms will always be at the center of legal reform across both state and federal jurisdictions. California’s gun laws are not perfect, but they have provided an example of how effective gun laws can create a safer community for all residents—gun-owners or not.

If you require any legal advice or representation for cases regarding guns and firearms in the state of California, The Law Office of Amy Chapman is happy to provide answers. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Discounted Uber Rides for Super Bowl Sunday

Discounted Super Bowl Uber Rides

When it comes to having a night out, it helps when someone has your back. Committed to community support and your personal coverage, Amy Chapman is proud to once again offer discounted Uber rides for Super Bowl riders on February 4, 2018. The Law Office of Amy Chapman will offer support on Super Bowl Sunday for $200 worth of Uber rides for customers between 2pm and 10pm. The first 40 people to sign up will each receive a coupon code for $5 off their Uber ride.

Super Bowl Sunday Accidents

A five-year study found that the likelihood of being in an accident with an intoxicated driver on Super Bowl Sunday is nearly double that of a normal Sunday, according to the LA Times. “Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest one-day sporting event in the United States and unfortunately one of the most dangerous days on California’s roads and highways,” says state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

In 2016, 360 DUI-related arrests were made on Super Bowl Sunday across the state of California, the second-highest number of DUI-related arrests made on any given day during that year. Thanks to ongoing efforts to keep intoxicated drivers off the road, the overall amount of fatalities due to drunk driving has fallen over time.

Despite this, the danger posed by intoxicated individuals operating motorized vehicles exists, and pedestrians are advised to use caution when making Super Bowl plans and driving arrangements. With a 70% increase in motor vehicle collisions in the first hour after the Super Bowl, drivers are encouraged to use caution and good judgment and, if possible, utilize a discounter Uber ride if they plan to drink.

If you witness a friend or family member trying to drive while intoxicated, stop them and help them call an Uber home—the cost of getting home safely is much less than that of getting into a potentially fatal accident.

Community and Well-Being First

Uber is a reliable, well-known rideshare service that serves over 40 million people monthly. The Law Office of Amy Chapman cautions drivers that the results of driving under the influence can be deadly to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike. Your health, safety, and legal security can be compromised due to one person’s decision, and calling an Uber on Super Bowl Sunday can help reduce the risk of injury or death.

When making plans this Super Bowl Sunday, consider utilizing a rideshare service such as Uber. Hundreds of people have been injured or lost their lives due to DUI-related incidents in previous years, and Amy Chapman’s goal is to ensure that individuals celebrating the Super Bowl stay safe at every part of the night. With careful planning and smart decision-making, we can help make your Super Bowl Sunday the safest it has ever been. Simply fill out the form below to receive a discount code. The codes will be mailed to you prior to the game. The first 40 people to sign up will each receive a coupon code for $5 off their Uber ride.

Discounted Uber Rides

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Discounted Uber Rides for St. Patty’s Day


Discounted Uber Rides

Amy Chapman is dedicated to helping residents in the Santa Rosa community. Offering personal coverage, thoughtful advocacy and community support, Amy Chapman aspires to protect surrounding businesses, families and individuals alike. Continuing her belief in the community, The Law Office of Amy Chapman is offering discounted Uber Rides for St. Patrick’s Day riders on March 17, 2017. Aimed towards keeping people safe, the program will offer support between 5pm and 2am, as 100 rides will be offered, and riders can expect a $5 discount per ride.

St. Patrick’s Day Accidents

St. Patrick’s Day is an important celebration, and it’s a fantastic time for parties, gatherings, friends and family. Parades, bar get-togethers and street activities are common. Unfortunately, St. Patrick’s Day can often put individuals at risk. Miscommunications, accidents and injuries frequently occur.

Every year, about 266 drunk-driving casualties occur on St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, 75 percent of fatal St. Patrick’s Day car crashes involve a driver who’s two-times over the legal limit. Fatalities are common when alcohol and motorized vehicles are involved. Pedestrians are urged to be careful, as driving-related accidents may impact more than just drivers and passengers.

For this reason, the California Highway Patrol urges individuals to give a great deal of attention to roadway drivers. Drivers themselves are urged to avoid risky behavior. If you’re celebrating the holidays, be careful. Don’t take any chances, and opt into a discounted Uber Ride. Arrest, injury, and death are unfortunately prominent on St. Patrick’s Day, resulting in a variety of problems for the community and families alike. If you witness a friend or family member about to drive while intoxicated, stop them.

Caring About the Community

Uber is an incredibly reliable service, responsible for shuttling over 40 million riders monthly. Amy Chapman is committed to community safety and is dedicated to your safety throughout the holidays. Amy wants to inform drivers about the risks associated with alcohol and marijuana-related DUIs and is similarly dedicated to making public transportation options widely available. If an officer suspects a driver to be intoxicated, he or she can immediately evaluate them for indications of intoxication and request a chemical test.

The Law Office of Amy Chapman will support those in need, so please stay safe! Your health, livelihood and legal security are at stake. While your own movements during the holidays may be under control, those around you may be at risk. Discuss Uber rides beforehand with your friends and family, and establish a routine before the night takes off. In the past five years, hundreds have been killed in drinking-related accidents. The Law Office of Amy Chapman is here to help individuals avoid becoming a statistic. Stay safe, stay responsible and buckle up.

Complete the Form to Participate

To become eligible for a discounted Uber ride, please fill out the below form. Discounted rides are available to the first 100 people who sign up. We will email you the Uber code on Thursday, March 16th.


Discounted Uber Rides

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“Plain Smell” Doctrine Results In Two Marijuana Busts In Sonoma County

Law Office of Amy ChapmanOver the past few weeks, police in Sonoma County have made a number of arrests for transporting large amounts of marijuana. According to a report two of the arrests resulted from an officer’s report that he could smell marijuana in the car’s cabin after making a routine traffic stop. This suspicious smell then gave the officer probable cause to search the car, where he found the marijuana.

The “Plain Smell” Exception to the Warrant Requirement

In general, any time a police officer wants to search a car or a home, they need to point to some articulable facts that would justify the search. This protection from “unreasonable searches” is provided to all citizens by the United States and California constitutions. The facts cited by the police officers should be reliable indicators that some law has been broken. Furthermore, in order to actually conduct the search, the police will need to secure a warrant from a judge.

However, in some cases judges have made exceptions to the general rule requiring a warrant before a search. More specifically, judges have created a modified definition of the word “search.” For example, courts have held that a police officer who pulls over a vehicle and smells marijuana has not conducted a “search” under the terms of the law. This means that there does not need to be probable cause established in order for a police officer to take what he smells into account when determining if a person should be arrested.

Enforcing the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution

If police and prosecutors had their way, every time they seized evidence from a driver it would fit within an exception to the warrant requirement, allowing the evidence to be used against the driver at trial. However, thankfully this is not the case.

In some cases, police take shortcuts, inadvertently (or intentionally) overlooking the strictures of the 4th Amendment. In such cases, the courts will keep the evidence that the officer seized out of court because it was illegally seized. For many drug offenses, this results in the dismissal of all charges, since without the admission of the drugs into evidence, there is nothing for the prosecution to move forward with.

It therefore becomes incredibly important in all drug offenses to ensure that the proper motions are filed pre-trial to keep out any and all illegally seized evidence. For questions about illegal searches and seizures in California, call a dedicated Sonoma County criminal defense attorney to speak about your case.

Have You Been Arrested and Charged with a Possessory Offense?

If you have recently been charged with a possessory offense–such as possession of narcotics or possession of a weapon–the seizure of the item likely was the result of a “search” under the terms of the U.S. and California constitutions. If so, in order to be legal, it must meet the dictates of the 4th Amendment in order for the evidence to be admitted at trial. Attorney Amy Chapman has years of experience arguing motions to suppress illegal evidence in all kinds of cases, including drug cases. To learn more about search and seizure law in Sonoma County, call (888) 570-3024 to set up a free consultation with Attorney Chapman.

Santa Rosa Police Seize 135 Pounds Of Marijuana And AK-47, One Man Arrested

Law Office of Amy ChapmanEarlier last month in Santa Rosa, police got word that the residents of an aging commercial facility that had been converted into three mechanic’s bays were acting hostile towards a city inspector present to issue a cease-work order. The facility is located at 1905 Sebastopol Road. According to a report by the Press Democrat, when police arrived, they were met by several people, many of whom hid in various places throughout the facility.

Police ordered everyone out, and many refused at first. However, eventually more police showed up on the scene and those who were hiding complied with police directives. Soon after, police entered the facility and saw what they claimed to be large amounts of packaged marijuana. Police then secured a search warrant for the facility.

Upon executing the search warrant, police ended up seizing 135 pounds of marijuana, one pound of methamphetamine, an AK-47, a handgun, and $3,000 in cash. Just one 39-year-old man was arrested and charged with suspicion of possession of marijuana for sale, possession of an assault rifle, and possession of methamphetamine. The exact nature of the man’s connection to the property remains unclear.

The Warrant Requirement in the California and United States Constitutions

As the article notes, before police engaged in a full search of the premises they obtained a search warrant from a judge, permitting them to do so. While this has come to be seen as a formality in some cases, in reality the warrant requirement is a critical protection offered by both the California and United States Constitutions.

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I Section 19 of the California State Constitution protect citizens from illegal searches and seizures. This has come to mean that police officer must secure a warrant before conducting a search of a premises or a seizure of a person or item. Of course, there have been numerous exceptions allowed to the warrant requirement over the years, but the general rule remains the same: police need a warrant to conduct a search.

In order to obtain a warrant, police must provide a judge with “probable cause” that evidence of criminal activity will be discovered upon execution of the warrant. In the case described above, the officers’ direct observation of what they believed to be large amounts of pre-packages marijuana in open view was likely sufficient for the judge to issue the search warrant.

Have You Been Arrested and Charged with a California Drug Offense?

If you have recently been arrested and charged with any kind of drug offense in California, there was likely some kind of search conducted by the arresting officer. This search likely needed to be justified by the existence of probable cause. If an officer is unable to articulate what facts gave him or her probable cause, it is possible that the search was illegal and any evidence obtained due to the search is inadmissible at trial. To learn more about search and seizure law in California, contact attorney Amy Chapman to discuss your case. Attorney Chapman has years of experience defending her clients against all types of drug and weapons offenses. Call (888) 570-3024 today to set up your free initial consultation.