Penal Code 16590 is the California statute on “generally prohibited weapons.” The law bans certain firearms and firearm accessories.
More specifically, the statute makes it a crime for a person to do any of the following with these guns/add-ons:
- manufacture them,
- import them into the state,
- keep them for sale,
- offer them for sale,
- give them away,
- lend them, or
- possess them.
A “generally prohibited weapon” includes the following guns, equipment, and ammunition:
- short-barreled shotguns and rifles, also illegal per Penal Code 33215 PC,
- undetectable firearms, also illegal per Penal Code 24610 PC,
- firearms that are not immediately recognizable as firearms, also illegal per Penal Code 24510 PC,
- unconventional pistols, also illegal per Penal Code 31500 PC,
- cane guns (or a gun that is enclosed in an object that looks like a walking cane), also illegal per Penal Code 24410 PC,
- wallet guns (or a firearm enclosed in a small case), also illegal per Penal Code 17330 PC,
- zip guns (or a cheap makeshift firearm made by miscellaneous material), also illegal per Penal Code 33600 PC,
- camouflaging firearm containers, also illegal per Penal Code 24310 PC,
- bullets containing explosive agents, also illegal per Penal Code 30210 PC,
- multi-burst trigger activators – also illegal per Penal Code 32900 PC, and
A violation of these laws is a wobbler. This means a prosecutor can charge the crime as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
If a misdemeanor, the crime is punishable by:
- custody in county jail for up to one year, and/or
- a maximum fine of $1,000.
If a felony, the offense is punishable by:
- imprisonment in jail for up to three years, and/or
- a maximum fine of $10,000.
Note that large-capacity ammunition magazines are illegal in California. In 2021, the Ninth Circuit held that Penal Code 32310 PC – which bans LCMs – does not violate self-defense laws.
M., D. (2022, March 27). California gun laws 2022 – your top 12 questions answered. Shouse Law Group. Retrieved May 4, 2022, from https://www.shouselaw.com/ca/defense/gun-laws/