Restoring your gun rights after a criminal conviction can be a difficult and complicated task. Owning or possessing a gun is important to many groups of people whether it is for protection, livelihood, or recreational activities such as hunting. California has strict firearm laws and the federal government is even stricter.
California gun restrictions
Gun rights in California can be revoked for various reasons. In California virtually anyone can own a gun as long as they are not prohibited from doing so. California places gun ownership restrictions on the following groups of people:
- Felons (convicted of a felony)
- Those convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses
- Those who are addicted to narcotics
- Mentally ill
- Minors under the age of 18
According to Penal Code 12021 PC, also known as California’s “felon with a firearm law”, convicted felons have a lifetime firearms ban. There are many misdemeanor convictions that can impact your gun rights, some of these include:
- Sexual battery
- Domestic violence
- Criminal threats
There are approximately forty misdemeanor convictions that carry a ten year firearms ban. This means that you would have to wait the full ten years before you could request that the court restore your gun rights.
In addition to the gun ownership restrictions listed above, the court may also impose firearms restrictions as a condition of probation for a criminal conviction, or as part of a protective order.
Federal gun restrictions
Federal gun rights restrictions are even more severe than at the state level. Many restrictions are identical to those of the state, however, if state and federal gun laws conflict, federal gun laws have the higher rank. Federal gun restrictions also affect the gun rights of those addicted to drugs and those are deemed mentally unfit. Federal gun restrictions also differ when it comes to crimes of domestic violence. Federal law imposes a lifetime firearms ban on any individual convicted of a misdemeanor crime involving domestic violence.
Restoring gun rights
Gun laws are extremely strict and can have lengthy penalties. While you do have a variety of legal options available to you to help restore your gun rights, it is important to understand that your state and federal criminal records must be free of any gun violations. To be clear, this means that even if you are free of a California firearms ban, federal gun restrictions may still prevent you from legally possessing a firearm. Some legal options available include:
- Reducing your felony to a misdemeanor
- Certificate of rehabilitation
- Governor’s pardon
Even with these options, restoring your gun rights can still be extremely difficult depending on the nature of the crime. Felony convictions that involve the use of a dangerous weapon, domestic violence, and drug addiction can all prevent you from ever legally owning a gun again.
If you would like more information about restoring your gun rights in California or if you would like to discuss your case confidentially, please contact us at (559) 222-5800 today. In most instances an appointment can be scheduled for the same day.