Penal Code 626.9 and 626.10 make it a crime to bring guns or other weapons onto school grounds, such as:

  • Kindergarten through K-12 schools;
  • any private university;
  • the University of California;
  • the California State University; or
  • the California Community Colleges.

Any gun is prohibited on school grounds. The weapons that are prohibited on school grounds are:

  • razors,
  • stun guns,
  • a dirk or dagger,
  • an ice pick,
  • a knife having a blade longer than 2 ½”,
  • a folding knife with a blade that locks into place, or
  • a switch blade or butterfly knife (which are illegal to possess on their own).

California Penal Code sections 626.9 and 626.10 - Weapons on California School Grounds
A violation of Penal Code section 626.9 is punishable by:
Up to five years state prison if a gun is brought onto a kindergarten through 12th grade school.
Up to five years in state prison if a gun is brought within 1000 feet of a school AND the defendant has a prior specified conviction, the gun was concealable, or the defendant was prohibited from possessing the weapon, such as in the case of convicted felon. If none of those facts apply, then the crime can be punished as either a felony or a misdemeanor (called a wobbler.)
If the gun was discharged on school grounds, then the punishment is at least 90 days county jail.
Carrying a loaded gun at a college campus is punishable by up to 4 years state prison. If unloaded, the maximum is up to three years state prison.
California Penal Code sections 626.9 and 626.10 - Weapons on California School Grounds
Violation of Penal Code 626.10 is punishable by:

  • A violation of this statute is considered a wobbler offense, meaning it can be punished as a misdemeanor or a felony. As a misdemeanor, you can be sentenced to up to one year in county jail.
  • A violation as a felony is punishable by up to three years state prison if the weapon is brought onto school ground where kindergarten through 12th grade students are taught.
  • If a prohibited knife is brought onto a college campus, you may be sentenced by up to three years state prison.

Collateral Punishment
Collateral punishment are losses of privileges as a result of being convicted for a crime. For a conviction of either Penal Code section 626.9 or 626.10, the collateral punishments are one or more the following:

  1. Loss of Section 8 eligibility.
  2. Loss of Unemployment eligibility.
  3. Loss of California Disability.
  4. Loss of Federal Disability Benefits.
  5. Loss of Federal Social Security Administration Benefits.
  6. Loss of the right to gain United States citizenship.

California Penal Code sections 626.9 and 626.10 - Weapons on California School Grounds
Potential Defenses
One or more of the defenses listed here may be present in your case. If so, they can result in a reduction of the offense from a felony to a misdemeanor, reduction in the sentence, or even a dismissal or acquittal. Keep in mind, the list below is some, but not all of the defenses available to an experienced attorney.

  1. The blade of the knife neither locked in place nor was the blade 2 ½ inches or longer.
  2. The district attorney waited too long to bring charges against you. For instance, if it took longer than a year to file a complaint for the misdemeanor, then the district attorney is barred from charging you.
  3. You were more than a 1,000 yards from the school ground while possessing a gun.
  4. The gun was not loaded and so therefore, you should be sentenced for a misdemeanor.
  5. You did not voluntarily take the weapon or gun onto school grounds. For instance, someone put the gun or weapon in your backpack without your knowledge or consent.
  6. The “gun” was merely a replica you had with you for your school play.

When you are facing substantial jail time, you ought to consider:
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California Penal Code sections 626.9 and 626.10 - Weapons on California School Grounds
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