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Can a Convicted Felon Own a Gun in California?

Can a Convicted Felon Own a Gun in California?

Because of the Second amendment, we have a right to protect ourselves and our property, specifically by keeping and bearing arms. However, your right to bear arms is more so a privilege than a right.

State & Federal Firearm Prohibition

State and federal laws prohibit certain individuals from possessing firearms. Under 18 U.S.C. § 922, the following people are prohibited from shipping, transporting, or possessing firearms and ammunition.

  • Convicted felons
  • Fugitives from justice
  • Addicts or unlawful users of controlled substances
  • Noncitizens
  • Anyone dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces
  • Ex-pats (i.e. those who have renounced their US citizenship)
  • Those diagnosed with a mental illness or institutionalized
  • Those convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor
  • Those subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child
  • Those under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for over one year

Under California Penal Code § 29800, anyone convicted of a felony “under the laws of the United States, the State of California, or any other state, government, or country” is prohibited from possessing, owning, purchasing, or receiving a firearm. If found to be in possession of a firearm, the offender will be charged with a felony.

How Long Can Your Gun Rights Be Restricted After a Conviction?

Felony convictions result in lifetime restriction of an offender’s firearm privileges. According to the California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms, certain misdemeanor convictions can also result in five-, ten-year, or lifetime restrictions on firearm privileges. Being convicted of the following misdemeanor offense prohibits offenders from possessing or carrying firearms for five years:

Being convicted of the following misdemeanor offenses prohibits offenders from possessing or carrying firearms for ten years:

  • Allowing passengers to discharge a firearm from a vehicle you are driving
  • Being convicted of stalking, assault, battery, sexual battery, assault with a stun gun, taser, deadly weapon or instrument
  • Bringing firearm-related contraband into a juvenile hall or youth authority institution
  • Carrying a loaded or concealed firearm or deadly weapon
  • Discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle willfully or maliciously
  • Intimidating or threatening witnesses, victims, or informants
  • Knowingly making false reports about stolen or lost firearms
  • Negligently discharging a firearm
  • Possessing a deadly weapon with intent to intimidate a witness or commit assault
  • Possessing a weapon in a courtroom, courthouse, court building, or at a public meeting without authorization
  • Possessing ammunition made to penetrate metal or armor
  • Possessing or bringing a loaded firearm into the state capitol, legislative offices, public school grounds, the Governor’s mansion, or the residences of other constitutional officers
  • Possessing or transporting a machine gun without authorization
  • Selling or giving possession of a firearm to a minor or a handgun to a person under 21
  • Stealing a firearm
  • Supplying, selling, or transferring possession of a firearm to others for participation in criminal gang activity
  • Threatening public officers, employees, or school officials
  • Threatening public officers, judges, staff, or their families with the intent and ability to proceed with the threat
  • Threatening to commit a crime that will result in the death or severe bodily injury of another person
  • Wearing a peace officer uniform while picketing
  • Willfully violating a domestic protective order

Being convicted of any of the following misdemeanor offenses prohibits offenders from possessing or carrying firearms permanently:

How to Restore Your Gun Rights After a Conviction

If someone has been convicted under California law, they have two options to restore their gun rights. They can either receive a pardon from the governor or attempt to have their sentence reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. Only certain convictions can be reduced, so you should consult with our attorney to discuss your options. It is also important to note that expunging or sealing your records does not restore your firearm privileges.

Can a Convicted Felon Go to a Gun Range?

While some shooting ranges may not require background checks or fingerprints, it is not a good idea to go to the range. Again, if your gun rights have been restricted (for any reason), you are not allowed to carry or possess a firearm at any time. You can be held liable and penalized if you are caught handling a firearm.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing weapons violation charges (or any criminal charges), you should immediately contact the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed. Facing criminal charges means facing the possibility of having your rights and freedoms restricted. Convictions of any kind also carry penalties involving jail time and/or fines.

To schedule your case consultation, contact our office online or call (510) 907-6600. Let us help fight for your rights and freedoms. Se habla español.