PDA

View Full Version : What are the laws?


Librarian
04-05-2011, 5:57 PM
Since much of the discussion here on Calguns turns on the exact language of existing laws, and many questions ask for particular law, it would be nice to have an easy place to find those laws.

A caution: these links primarily return the law as passed by the legislative bodies, commonly called "black letter law". If a law has been overturned by a court case, there will be no indication of that - the law will still be 'on the books'. Similarly, if case law has a revised interpretation from the plain language of a law, neither will that interpretation be incorporated in the laws you may find at these links.

Federal law

Two parts: United States Code (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collectionUScode.action?collectionCode=USCODE) and Code of Federal Regulations (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collectionCfr.action?collectionCode=CFR). (And if you want to be excruciatingly current, the Federal Register. (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=FR))


Alternate U S Code links

FindLaw: US Code (http://www.findlaw.com/casecode/uscodes/)
From the web site: FindLaw's Cases and Codes section contains resources and links for both state and federal laws. This includes resources pertaining to constitutions, statutes, cases and more.
United States Code (http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/) From Cornell University
There are some reported issues with currency of the content (h/t snobord99)

Typically, gun laws are in Title 18 of U S Code; BATFE regulations are in Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

California Laws

Ordinarily, Calguns is interested in the parts of the Penal Code that refer to guns - Sections 12000 - 12809. However, there is a reorganization and renumbering of the Penal Code (and other codes that reference the Penal Code) that concerns guns. A 'translation table', old numbering to new, is available at
http://www.clrc.ca.gov/pub/publishers/2010/Pub235-AR-apx6-pt2.doc . The renumbering is effective in January, 2012, but California Legislature bills, which will actually go into effect that same January, already use the new numbering.

The California Legislature's site has access to all California Code (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html)
That site has a very poor search tool.

Alternatively, California Code can be found on line at

California Code - Title 2: CONTROL OF DEADLY WEAPONS [12000. - 12809.] (http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/PEN/3/4/2)
The Findlaw site has its own searching quirks, and it has some significant omissions.

California Penal Code - California Attorney Resources - California Laws (http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/)

County and City codes

Municipal and County Codes from Lexis/Nexis: http://municipalcodes.lexisnexis.com/#CA

Quality Code Publishing: http://www.qcode.us/codes.htm

American Legal Publishing: http://www.amlegal.com/library/ca/index.shtml

It is useful to note that California counties and cities may not create laws that are punishable as felonies; they are limited to misdemeanors and infractions.

It is also notable that California's state pre-emption of gun laws is very limited - Government Code
53071. It is the intention of the Legislature to occupy the whole
field of regulation of the registration or licensing
of commercially manufactured firearms as encompassed by
the provisions of the Penal Code, and such provisions shall be
exclusive of all local regulations, relating to registration or
licensing of commercially manufactured firearms, by any
political subdivision as defined in Section 1721 of the Labor
Code.

Other states have far more thorough state pre-emption, e.g. Nevada:
NRS 244.364 (http://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/NRS-244.html#NRS244Sec363) Limited authority to regulate firearms; restrictions concerning registration of certain firearms in county whose population is 400,000 or more.

1. Except as otherwise provided by specific statute, the Legislature reserves for itself such rights and powers as are necessary to regulate the transfer, sale, purchase, possession, ownership, transportation, registration and licensing of firearms and ammunition in Nevada, and no county may infringe upon those rights and powers. As used in this subsection, “firearm” means any weapon from which a projectile is discharged by means of an explosive, spring, gas, air or other force.

Remember, this one in green is NEVADA, not CA.


Larger cities and counties tend to have theirs associated with their local web sites.

See http://events.cacities.org/cgi-shl/T...?Run:CITYWEB_1 for cities and

http://www.csac.counties.org/default.asp?id=7 for counties.


Jury Instructions

CalCrim has the California Jury Instructions (http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/jury/criminaljuryinstructions/) available. These provide interpretations of the crimes and document cases to justify those interpretations.

Happy research!

jtmkinsd
04-05-2011, 7:37 PM
Nice resource Librarian! Delete the subsequent posts and lock it/sticky it. :D

snobord99
04-05-2011, 8:42 PM
Careful using the Cornell link. They don't necessarily keep it all that updated. I got spanked by my legal research and writing professor in law school because I used it thinking it was updated. She said it's not always updated so I can't use it; I checked after the fact and she was right.

Librarian
04-05-2011, 8:48 PM
Careful using the Cornell link. They don't necessarily keep it all that updated. I got spanked by my legal research and writing professor in law school because I used it thinking it was updated. She said it's not always updated so I can't use it; I checked after the fact and she was right.

Thanks - info like that is why the thread is open. Updated first post.