If you have a misdemeanor criminal domestic violence conviction you are not allowed to possess a gun in California for ten (10) years unless your conviction meets the criteria for the Lautenberg Amendment, in which case you may face a lifetime ban. It is also unlawful to knowingly sell or give a firearm or ammunition to such persons. This means that you cannot legally buy a gun after a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence under Federal Law if certain factors are met. It is also unlawful to possess a gun during the time that a domestic violence protective order (DVPO) is in place.
If you are uncertain about your rights you should contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss the details of your case.
The Lautenberg Amendment does not apply to all misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence. Before your gun rights can be revoked under the Lautenberg Amendment the conviction:
- Must have been for an offense that was committed against a spouse, live-in partner, child, or anyone similarly situated. It does not apply to those who were merely dating.
- Must have been for an offense where you used or attempted to use physical force or threatened to use a deadly weapon.
- Must have been one where you were represented by counsel (an attorney) or knowingly and intelligently waived your right to representation.
- Must have been one where you were entitled to trial by jury and the case was tried by a jury or you knowingly and intelligently waived your right to trial by jury.
There are many exceptions to whether the Lautenberg Amendment will prohibit you from possessing a firearm. We suggest contacting an experienced criminal attorney who can further advise you when it comes to your California gun rights.
The Lautenberg Amendment also states that it does not apply to expunged or pardoned conditions unless the expungement, pardon, or certificate of rehabilitation specifically denies firearm rights. In California, none of these options will restore firearm rights. Federal law does not recognize a California expungement since it does not fully relieve an individual of all criminal disabilities.
Gun use during a domestic violence protective order
Domestic violence protective orders prohibit the subject of the DVPO from possessing a firearm during the time the DVPO is in effect. Once the DVPO expires in state court, which is typically one year, the federal firearms ban will no longer apply and you will be allowed to once again possess a firearm.
Gun use restrictions for misdemeanor domestic violence conviction
If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence and it falls under the Lautenberg Act you will face a lifetime ban on legally owning a gun or ammunition. This also applies to shipping guns, transporting guns, possessing guns, or receiving firearms or ammunition. Federal law also states that no one can sell or otherwise dispose of a firearm or ammunition to any person who has been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor that falls under the Lautenberg Amendment; this means it is illegal to buy or obtain a firearm or ammunition.
If your misdemeanor domestic violence conviction does not meet the criteria for the Lautenberg Amendment the restriction on possessing a firearm in California will be ten (10) years.
What should I do with my firearms and ammunition?
If you have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence and you are facing a ban on your gun rights you should immediately turn in all firearms and ammunition to a third party such as your attorney, local police department, or a firearms dealer who can properly handle them. Failure to do so is in violation of the law and may lead to further prosecution and if convicted you may face up to ten years in federal prison.