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Penal Code 171 b PC – Unauthorized Possession of Weapons in Public Buildings and Meetings

July 13, 2021 California Penal Code

The California statute Penal Code 171b PC makes it illegal to bring or possess certain “weapons” into public venues or meetings open to the public. The offense is punishable by up to three years in prison and can be tried as a misdemeanor or felony.

The legislation reads as follows:

“Any person who brings or possesses within any state or local public building or at any meeting required to be open to the public…any of the following is guilty of a public offense punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or in the state prison:

(1) Any firearm.

(2) Any deadly weapon

(3) 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.

(4) Any unauthorized tear gas weapon.

(5) Any taser or stun gun

(6) Any instrument that expels a metallic projectile, 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.”

Some examples of illegal conduct under this law include:

  • Kyle is a criminal defendant who shows up to his first court appearance with a gun.
  • When Lupe goes to City Hall to check on a zoning issue, she brings a stun gun with her.
  • •Kim enters a town hall meeting on school funding with a taser.

If you are accused of a crime under Penal Code 171b, there are many legal defenses you can employ. These include proving that an accused party was exempt from the law, did not possess an unlawful weapon, and/or confessed under duress.

Penalties on can face after violating 171 b PC

Under California law, a violation of PC 171b constitutes a wobbler crime. It can therefore be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

The crime is punishable by up to one year in county jail if tried as a misdemeanor.

If tried as a felony, the offense is punishable by up to three years in jail.

The California criminal defense attorneys at Spodek Law Group will give you an overview of the following in this article:

  1. Is it illegal to possess weapons in the public buildings of California?
  2. How can a person beat a 171b PC charge?
  3. What kinds of penalties, punishment, and sentencing might I face?
  4. Offenses that are Related

1. Is it illegal to possess weapons in the public buildings of California?

The California statute Penal Code 171b PC makes it illegal to bring or possess certain “weapons” into public venues or meetings open to the public.

Some of these “weapons” are as follows:

  • firearm,
  • a knife with a blade that is longer than four inches,
  • tear gas canisters,
  • a taser or stun gun, as well as
  • A pellet or BB gun.

Please keep in mind that the general ban described above has several exceptions. As a result, some people will be able to bring firearms into public places and meetings.

 People who transport guns into a court of law to be used as evidence, police officers, people who have a legal license to carry a handgun, and people who have authority to possess a weapon and are in charge of securing the public building they are in are all examples of these people.

A “public building” is one that is owned or leased by the state or local government and where state or local public employees are routinely present to conduct their official tasks, according to PC 171bc.

2. How can a person beat a 171b PC charge?

A legal defense can be used to try to refute a PC 171b charge. A legal defense attorney may attempt to get a charge reduced or even dismissed.

Saying that the defendant was exempt from the law, did not carry an unlawful weapon, and/or made a pressured confession, are three typical defenses to Penal Code 171b allegations.

The “Exempted from the law” defense

Please keep in mind that under Penal Code 171b, certain people are immune from punishment. Police officers, for example, may bring “guns” into public buildings and meetings. A defendant’s ability to demonstrate that he falls into one of these exempted categories is thus a defense.

The “No unlawful weapon” defense

Please keep in mind that only the firearms specifically listed in Section 171b of the Penal Code are prohibited. This means that proving that the object in question was not an illicit weapon within the meaning of the statute is always a defense. For instance, an accused may have had a knife with a two-inch blade rather than a four-inch blade.

The “Coerced confession” defense

This defense applies when a defendant is accused under PC 171b as a result of a confession.

According to California law, police officers may not use excessive force to extract a confession.

If a party can establish that the police coerced him into confessing to a crime he didn’t do, the judge may exclude the confession from evidence; alternatively the case may be dismissed entirely if the party confessed to a crime he didn’t commit.

3. What kinds of penalties, punishment, and sentencing might I face?

Under California law, a violation of Penal Code 171b is a wobbler crime. It can therefore be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

If tried as a misdemeanor, the crime carries a maximum sentence of one year in county jail.

If charged as a felony, the offense carries a sentence of 16 months, two years, or three years behind bars.

4. Offenses that are Related

Unauthorized weapon possession in public buildings and assemblies is punishable by three offenses. These are the following:

  1. possession of destructive devices – CALIFORNIA PC 18710,
  2. illegal acts with a cane sword – CALIFORNIA PC 20510, and
  3. Carrying a concealed weapon – CALIFORNIA PC 25400.

For more information…

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime under Penal Code 171b, we invite you to contact the highly skilled California criminal defense attorneys at Spodek Law Group for a free consultation. 

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