- Restoring Gun Rights Under California Law
- Can a Felon own a gun? Or, How to Restore Gun Rights after a Felony Conviction.
- I’m a convicted felon but was granted probation. Can my felony be reduced to a misdemeanor?
- Can gun rights be restored by reducing a felony to a misdemeanor under “Prop 47?”
- My conviction was for Felony Marijuana Sales or Felony Marijuana Growing, can you Restore my Gun Rights under Prop 64?
- Are gun rights restored by a California expungement?
- Is there any official way to find out if I can buy a gun or possess a gun in California?
- What is a California Personal Firearm Eligibility Check?
- Is it possible to be eligible to possess a gun, but not eligible to purchase a gun?
- I currently own a gun despite having a felony conviction. What’s the penalty if I am caught?
- I lost my gun rights after a misdemeanor conviction. How is that possible and can you get my gun rights restored?
- I have an old misdemeanor domestic violence conviction and was recently rejected when I tried to buy a handgun. It’s been over ten years since I was convicted.
- I want to do everything possible to restore my right to possess a firearm. What do you recommend?
Restoring Gun Rights Under California Law
The Second Amendment guarantees the right to possess a gun, but that right is not absolute.1
This FAQ looks at the effect of a California criminal conviction on the right to bear arms and outlines the specific legal tactics that our law firm has successfully used for over 25+ years to restore our clients’ gun rights. This is not intended to provide legal advice. If restoration of gun rights is your goal, please read below and then get our law firm’s California Gun Rights Restoration Plan which is customized to your particular situation.
Can a Felon own a gun? Or, How to Restore Gun Rights after a Felony Conviction.
If you have been convicted of a felony, you are considered a “felon” and automatically lose your gun rights for life. But, that doesn’t have to be the end of the story.
There are several ways to restore a felon’s right to possess a firearm. Determining which strategy to use to restore your gun rights depends on whether you were sentenced to prison or granted probation and on the exact code section of your conviction.
If you are a convicted felon and were sentenced to prison, your gun rights will be restored only by a full pardon by the Governor. On the other hand, if you were convicted of a felony but granted probation, it’s often possible to restore gun rights by petitioning pursuant to Cal. Penal Code § 17(b) to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor. Whether this is possible in your case depends on whether your felony is a “wobbler.” See below.
I’m a convicted felon but was granted probation. Can my felony be reduced to a misdemeanor?
Maybe. Only a subset of felony offenses are eligible for reduction to misdemeanors. In addition to being granted probation, your felony must be what’s known as a “wobbler.” A wobbler is an offense that can be punished as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Common “wobblers” include grand theft, joy riding, burglary, DUI with injury, personal possession of a controlled substance, receiving stolen property, and others.2
If you have our law firm obtain your official DOJ report and prepare a gun rights restoration plan for you, we will determine exactly what’s needed to get your gun rights back. See bottom of this FAQ for more info.
Can gun rights be restored by reducing a felony to a misdemeanor under “Prop 47?”
No. Prop 47 was written so that it does not provide gun restoration. A felony reduction under California’s Proposition 47 (now codified at Penal Code, § 1170.18) has no effect on firearm rights. Thus, if restoration of gun rights is your focus, it’s very important that you petition for a felony reduction under Penal Code, § 17(b), not under Penal Code, § 1170.18. We’ve seen many people, including experienced lawyers, make this mistake. Contact us for your California Gun Rights Restoration Plan.
My conviction was for Felony Marijuana Sales or Felony Marijuana Growing, can you Restore my Gun Rights under Prop 64?
Yes! Proposition 64 makes it possible to restore gun rights by reducing some felony marijuana convictions. Retain us to restore your gun rights under Proposition 64.
Are gun rights restored by a California expungement?
No. While an expungement under Cal. Penal Code, § 1203.4 (or § 1203.4a) has many benefits, it has no affect on gun rights.
Is there any official way to find out if I can buy a gun or possess a gun in California?
Yes. If you have a criminal record and are not sure whether you can legally buy or possess a gun, our law firm can obtain your official criminal record from the California Department of Justice and tell you whether or not you can lawfully buy or possess a gun.
If you are prohibited from possessing a gun, we’ll diagnose the problem, determine whether there is a way to restore your right to own a gun and quote you an exact fee for handling your case from beginning to end. Our report is unbiased and professional – not a sales pitch. We currently charge just $95 for this service and you can start your California Gun Rights Restoration Plan online right now.
What is a California Personal Firearm Eligibility Check?
Under California Penal Code § 30105, a person may request a personal firearms eligibility check (PFEC) from the California Department of Justice. To obtain a firearm eligibility check, you must submit a signed and notarized impression of your right thumbprint, a completed application, a copy of your California Driver’s License (or Identification Card), and a fee (~$20.00) to the Department of Justice. DOJ typically takes about 60 days to conduct a PFEC and to mail you a letter indicating whether or not eligible to both possess and purchase firearms. A PFEC report provides no actual criminal history information, and for this reason (in addition to the length of time it takes) our law firm typically advises our clients to request a copy of his or her official criminal history records rather than a conclusory PFEC.
Is it possible to be eligible to possess a gun, but not eligible to purchase a gun?
Yes. Because a valid California Driver’s License or Identification Card is required to purchase a firearm, someone with a suspended or expired driver’s license is not prohibited from possessing firearms but is unable to purchase a firearm without a valid driver’s license or identification card. Some restraining orders also allow a person to continue to possess firearms that they already own but prohibit the person from purchasing additional firearms.
I currently own a gun despite having a felony conviction. What’s the penalty if I am caught?
The offense of being a felon in possession of a gun is itself a felony. (California Penal Code § 29800.) The punishment is 16 months to three years in county jail and a maximum fine of $10, 000. To avoid this, you should relinquish your gun(s) ASAP by granting someone outside of your home power of attorney and having that person take possession of the firearm(s). Here’s a Power of Attorney form (PDF) to make it easy,
I lost my gun rights after a misdemeanor conviction. How is that possible and can you get my gun rights restored?
For some California misdemeanor convictions, you lose your right to possess a gun for 10 years.3 For these offenses, you simply need to wait out the ten years and your gun rights will be automatically restored at the end of the period. While it has no affect on gun rights, we usually recommend that our clients expunge their misdemeanor convictions as soon as they have completed probation, in order to obtain the employment benefits of a clean record. Once the expunged, it’s just a matter of waiting until the 10 years have passed.
I have an old misdemeanor domestic violence conviction and was recently rejected when I tried to buy a handgun. It’s been over ten years since I was convicted.
Bad news. In 1996, Congress passed the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, often called “The Lautenberg Amendment” (“Gun Ban for Individuals Convicted of a Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence” (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9)), which created a lifetime ban on possessing a firearm after a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. This lifetime ban applies to California misdemeanor convictions under Penal Code, § 273.5, and to any other misdemeanor assault or battery convictions in which the victim was in a current or former domestic relationship with the offender.
A subsection of the Lautenberg Amendment creates an exception for convictions that have been expunged or pardoned, “unless the pardon, expungement, or restoration of civil rights expressly provides that the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms.” (18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33)(B)(ii.) This later exclusion means that a California expungement does not obviate the gun ban because the California expungement law (Penal Code, § 1203.4) expressly provides that it does not restore firearm rights. As a result, if you have ever been convicted of a California domestic violence offense, your gun rights are gone for life under federal law.
Some other California misdemeanor offenses can also result in a lifetime firearm ban under California law.4
I want to do everything possible to restore my right to possess a firearm. What do you recommend?
Mr. Boire is nationally recognized for his success and expertise at restoring gun rights after a conviction. After 25+ years of restoring gun rights in California, Mr. Boire will personally review your official California rap sheet and give you his professional advice on what can be done. If it’s possible to restore your 2nd Amendment rights, he’ll know exactly how to do it. His fee to review your rap sheet and provide his professional advice is currently just $95 and no office visit it required. Start your California Gun Rights Restoration Plan.
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