Legal Question in Criminal Law in California

Someone is trying to tell me that slingshots are illegal in California when they are readily available for purchase in major chain sports stores. They are also saying a CCW permit is required to own one. I've found no California law pertaining to slingshots in this manner and have informed said person of this, but the argument continues. Does anyone here know better?

Asked on 5/16/11, 4:37 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Anthony Roach Law Office of Anthony A. Roach

Penal Code section 12020 makes carrying a slungshot illegal. "Any person in this state who does any of the following is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or in the state prison:(1) Manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives, lends, or possesses any cane gun or wallet gun, any undetectable firearm, any firearm which is not immediately recognizable as a firearm, any camouflaging firearm container, any ammunition which contains or consists of any flechette dart, any bullet containing or carrying an explosive agent, any ballistic knife, any multiburst trigger activator, any nunchaku, any short-barreled shotgun, any short-barreled rifle, any metal knuckles, any belt buckle knife, any leaded cane, any zip gun, any shuriken, any unconventional pistol, any lipstick case knife, any cane sword, any shobi-zue, any air gauge knife, any writing pen knife, any metal military practice handgrenade or metal replica handgrenade, or any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a blackjack, slungshot, billy, sandclub, sap, or sandbag." (Pen. Code, sect. 12020 subd. (a).)

California case law provides a clear definition of "slungshot." In People v. Williams (1929) 100 Cal.App. 149 (Williams), the court adopted the following dictionary definition: "a small mass of metal or stone fixed on a flexible handle, strap or the like, used as a weapon."

Maybe your friend is telling you that, thinking slungshot means slingshot.

With respect to a CCW permit, I imagine that one would be needed if the slingshot was to be carried concealed on a person's body. Just because slingshots are sold in sporting goods stores, does not make their illegal use, legal.

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Answered on 5/17/11, 1:05 pm

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