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Penal Code 23900: Altering a Firearm Mark Laws in California

PC 23900: Altering a Firearm Mark

Legal Definition: “Any person who changes, alters, removes, or obliterates the name of the maker, model, manufacturer’s number, or another mark of identification, including any distinguishing number or mark assigned by the Department of Justice, on any pistol, revolver, or any other firearm, without first having secured written permission from the department to make that change, alteration, or removal shall be punished by imprisonment…”

To be found guilty under PC 23900 the prosecution must prove that you:

  1. You changed, altered, removed, or obliterated;
  2. The name of the maker, model, manufacturer’s number, or another mark of identification of any pistol, revolver, or another firearm.


  1. You did this without first securing permission from the DOJ to make such changes, alterations, or removal.

What does this mean?

This criminal section is relatively self-explanatory. Here, you are punished if you attempt to alter the identification of your firearm. The reason for this crime is to punish people who lawfully purchase a firearm, and use it in a crime, but, to try to disguise that the firearm is theirs, possibly to avoid capture by police. By doing this, it would allow people to conceal their identities from possible police detection.

The smart answer to the next question one may have, is that if you purchase a firearm with this alteration, you should alert the Department of Justice to request permission and assistance on how to keep the firearm. If you are purchasing a firearm that is altered though, it’s likely a better practice to avoid purchasing it, knowing that it could be stolen and that you would be in violation of this criminal section.


A violation under PC 23900 is a felony offense in California. Upon conviction of this charge, you could face permanent voting rights as well as the ability to ever own or possess a firearm for life. If convicted, you could be sentenced to upwards of 16 months, 2 or 3 years in County Jail Prison. You could also be subject to forfeiture of the firearm, as well as stiff penalties, and a requirement to submit your DNA upon conviction to the Court.

This is not a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, and it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. You could also face a loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you could face Deportation in Immigration Court since the offense is an aggravated felony as well as a crime of moral turpitude.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence
  4. Coerced Confessions

If you had contacted the DOJ and received permission to alter the firearm, then you could not have been found guilty of this charge. Failing to show that you received the appropriate permission, would be a missing element required to convict you. Failing to prove all elements of the crime would mean there is insufficient evidence to prove you guilty of violating PC 23900.

Also, if police act in violation of your rights, your attorney can argue that the police did an illegal search and seizure, and evidence of the altered guns found would be suppressed, meaning it could not come into court and be used against you. You may have had the illegally altered firearm, but if police were to enter your home without a warrant or probable cause, then your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney can successfully argue that it was an illegal search and seizure, and evidence of the gun in your home would be thrown out of Court.

Call Today

The ramifications of a criminal conviction extend far beyond the courtroom, potentially altering the course of your future. Even a misdemeanor under PC 23900 can lead to significant consequences, including the loss of essential rights such as voting and the Second Amendment right to own and possess firearms. At Inland Empire Criminal Defense, our attorney specializing in Ontario PC 23900 cases possesses a depth of experience and expertise in defending against gun-related charges, ensuring that every avenue for your defense is thoroughly explored.

Why Choose Inland Empire Criminal Defense for PC 23900 Cases?

  • Focused Expertise in Gun Law Defense: Our Ontario PC 23900 attorney’s specialized knowledge in gun law cases positions us as a pivotal ally in your defense strategy, offering an informed approach to protecting your rights.
  • Proven Track Record: With a history of successfully defending against gun cases, including those under PC 23900, we bring demonstrated experience and strategic insight to your case.
  • Dedication to Preserving Your Rights: We understand the gravity of what’s at stake – from your legal rights to your future prospects. Our commitment is to deliver a defense that seeks to minimize the impact of these charges on your life.

Begin Your Defense with Inland Empire Criminal Defense

Navigating the complexities of a PC 23900 charge demands immediate and strategic legal action. Based in Ontario and serving the Rancho Cucamonga area, Inland Empire Criminal Defense is prepared to offer the specialized legal representation necessary to address these allegations effectively.

Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense Today

Facing charges under PC 23900 should not be taken lightly, given the potential impact on your fundamental rights and future. Reach out to Inland Empire Criminal Defense at 909-939-7126 for a consultation. Our team, located in Ontario, is ready to stand by your side, offering expert legal guidance and robust defense strategies aimed at securing the best possible outcome for your case.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Does the attorney offer confidential consultations?

Absolutely, Inland Empire Criminal Defense prioritizes your privacy and confidentiality. Every consultation with our attorney is conducted with the utmost discretion, ensuring your information remains secure and private.

Does the attorney offer payment plans?

Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Is the consultation free?

Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Are the consultations in person or only over the phone?

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Is the office open on weekends?

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Does the attorney serve all of California?

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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