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Carrying a Weapon in Public Buildings: California Penal Code Section 171(b)

Sep 3, 2021 | California

Is it a Crime to Carry a Weapon into Public Weapons?

Yes, under Penal Code 171(b), it is a crime in California for an individual to bring or possess weapons into a public building and meetings that are open to the public.

What Weapons Prohibited under Penal Code 171(b)?

Under the PC 171(b), it is a crime to carry the following into a public building or meetings that are open to the public:

  • Firearms;
  • Deadly weapons;
  • Any unauthorized tear gas weapon;
  • Any knife with a blade length in excess of four inches, the blade of which is fixed or is capable of being fixed in an unguarded position by the use of one or two hands;
  • Any instrument that ejects a metallic bullet, such as a BB or pellet, through the force of air pressure, CO2 pressure, or spring action, or any spot marker gun or paint gun; and/or
  • Weapons that are listed under Section 16590.

How is Penal Code 171(b) Prosecuted?

This penal code can be prosecuted as either a felony or misdemeanor and is therefore considered a wobbler. If charged as a misdemeanor, the misconduct is punishable by up to one year in county jail. If charged as a felony, an individual can face imprisonment of either 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years.

What is Considered a Public Building?

A building owned or leased by the state or local government where public employees regularly are present to perform their official duties is considered a public building. An example of a public building is a courthouse.

Are There Exceptions to Penal Code 171(b)?

Yes, there are several exceptions under Penal Code 171(b), which are as follows:

  • An individual who has a license or is otherwise authorized to carry a concealed firearm, such as a police officer;
  • An individual who has written permission from a duly authorized official of a state or local government building to carry a weapon;
  • An individual who possesses a weapon or otherwise transporting it into court for purposes of using the weapon as evidence.

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know is being charged with Penal Code 171(b), call KAASS LAW today and speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney today at 310-933-5171.