Have you ever noticed that toy guns have orange tips on them? The reason for this is to indicate that the firearm is a fake and not the real deal. Toy gun manufacturers are required by a federal regulation to affix the marking to the false weapon before they can ship it or before a person can purchase it.
Let's say you bought your kid a toy gun, but you wanted to make it more realistic looking. In California, if you alter the orange tip in any way, you could be charged with a crime.
Altering the Markings of an Imitation Gun
With guns being capable of causing various types of damage, having one where other people can see it can cause panic – even if the weapon is a toy or imitation. As such, California Penal Code 20150 prohibits people from changing the appearance of a fake gun.
Under the law, it's illegal to do any of the following to a toy or imitation gun's markings:
- Alter them,
- Change them,
- Remove them, or
- Obliterate them
Doing any of the above is a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of this offense, you could be sentenced to jail for up to 6 months and/or be ordered to pay a maximum fine of $1,000.
An exception to this law is if you're working in the entertainment industry. If you have lawful permission to alter the appearance of a toy or imitation gun for a movie, TV show, or play, you may not be charged under this statute.
What Is an Imitation Gun?
Under California law, an imitation gun includes the following:
- BB device,
- Toy gun,
- Replica firearm, or
- A device that looks so much like a firearm, a reasonable person would believe it is one
An imitation gun can also include a phone case that looks so substantially similar to a real firearm that a reasonable person would perceive it to be so.
Taking an Imitation Gun in Public
In addition to prohibiting altering the markings or coloration of a toy or imitation gun, California law makes it illegal to take such an object out in public.
A person cannot brandish an imitation firearm in public places such as:
- Public schools, or
- Parking lots
The first and second offenses under this law are infractions, a conviction for which results in a fine. The third and subsequent offenses are misdemeanors and could result in jail time and/or a fine.
If you’re facing criminal charges in Fresno, our attorney at The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch has over 18 years of experience defending various offenses from weapons crimes to assault & battery, and we are ready to put our knowledge and skills to work in your case. Call us at (559) 484-2112 or contact us online today.