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Penal Code 23515 | Preliminary provisions (Offenses that involve the violent use of a firearm)

Penal Code 23515 – Offenses That Involve the Violent Use of a Firearm

Hey there! Let’s chat about California Penal Code 23515. This law is all about banning people from having guns if they’ve been convicted of certain violent crimes involving firearms. I know, I know – legal stuff can be super boring and confusing. But stick with me, and I’ll break it down so it makes sense.

First, what does this law actually do? Basically, if you’ve been convicted of certain violent offenses where you illegally used a gun, PC 23515 says you lose your right to legally own or possess any firearms. And when I say “any,” I mean any – handguns, rifles, shotguns – nada. No more guns for you. The ban is lifetime – as in, forever and ever amen.

Obviously that’s a pretty huge deal if you’re someone who likes having guns around. So what kinds of crimes trigger the lifetime ban under PC 23515? There are three main ones:

  • Assault with a deadly weapon – Let’s say you got into a fight and whipped out a gun to threaten or attack someone. Not cool. Under California law sections 245(a)(2), 245(a)(3) or 245(d), you’d likely be convicted of assault with a deadly weapon. And that means bye-bye guns forever per PC 23515.
  • Shooting at an inhabited house or occupied car – This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Randomly firing shots at a house or vehicle that has people inside is super dangerous. If convicted under California Penal Code 246, you’ll never legally shoot again thanks to PC 23515.
  • Brandishing a firearm – Brandishing means showing off a gun in a rude, angry or threatening manner. If convicted under PC 417(a)(2) or PC 417(c), you can kiss your right to bear arms goodbye under PC 23515.

So in a nutshell, PC 23515 is meant to disarm dangerous or violent people who’ve illegally used guns before. The logic is, if you’ve shown you can’t be trusted with firearms, you shouldn’t have them anymore. Makes sense when you put it that way, right?

Now, I know you might be thinking: A lifetime ban on ALL guns?! Isn’t that a little harsh? I mean, people make mistakes, right? Should one crime permanently take away their Second Amendment rights?

That’s a tough question with reasonable arguments on both sides. Some say losing your gun rights forever is too extreme – that people deserve a second chance. Others argue violent offenders, especially those who’ve used guns illegally, have blown their second chance – so why give them more opportunities to hurt or kill?

As with most legal debates, there are good points on both sides. But regardless of where you stand, the law is the law. And under PC 23515, one strike and you’re out – no more guns if you commit certain violent crimes with firearms.

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Of course, there are still ways to fight the ban. Let’s discuss a few of the main legal defenses and loopholes:

Defenses Against PC 23515 Charges

Just because you’re charged under PC 23515 doesn’t necessarily mean you’re toast. Here are some of the most common defenses lawyers use to contest the gun ban:

  • You were wrongfully convicted – If your underlying conviction gets overturned, so does the PC 23515 ban. So if new evidence proves you didn’t actually commit the assault or other crime, you may get your gun rights back.
  • The offense wasn’t violent – PC 23515 only applies to violent offenses involving firearms. So if you can show the crime you were convicted of was non-violent, you may avoid the ban.
  • The weapon wasn’t a firearm – If the weapon involved wasn’t technically a gun – like a BB gun – you may be able to fight the ban since PC 23515 only applies to actual firearms.
  • You qualify for a restricted license – In rare cases, certain felons can get a special license to possess guns at home for protection. But the restrictions are tight, and very few people qualify.

As you can see, the defenses are limited. Overturning the conviction itself is usually the only sure way to avoid a PC 23515 ban. That’s why it’s critical to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer when first charged with a qualifying offense. The stakes are high!

What About Other Gun Bans?

PC 23515 isn’t the only California law that can take away your right to own firearms. Some other common bans include:

  • PC 29800 – This bans gun ownership by convicted felons, certain misdemeanants, and drug addicts.
  • PC 30605 – Bans possession of assault weapons like AR-15s and AK-47s.
  • Domestic violence – Can’t have guns if convicted of domestic violence or have a restraining order.

As you can see, California doesn’t mess around when it comes to banning firearms. The laws are far-reaching and complex. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced gun law attorney on your side if you’re facing charges.

The Bottom Line on PC 23515

Alright, let’s wrap this up. Here are the key takeaways on PC 23515:

  • Bans gun ownership for life if convicted of certain violent offenses involving firearms.
  • Main qualifying crimes are assault with a deadly weapon, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, and brandishing a firearm.
  • Harsh but intended to disarm dangerous people who illegally use guns.
  • Defenses limited but possible – mainly overturning the conviction itself.
  • Other California laws also impose gun bans, like PC 29800.
  • Talk to a lawyer immediately if facing charges for any offense involving a gun!

And there you have it! I know that was a boatload of information. But hopefully breaking down PC 23515 into plain English makes the law a bit less scary and confusing. Let me know if you have any other questions!

 

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