In California, felony convictions and many misdemeanor convictions result in the defendant being banned from owning or even possessing firearms. When it comes to felony convictions, the firearm ban lasts for life. At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, we are frequently contacted by people who have lost their right to own or possess a firearm because they want to know if it is possible to regain their 2nd Amendment rights after their convictions.
Restoring Gun Rights for a Misdemeanor Convictions
Although not every misdemeanor conviction results in the firearms ban, many do. Misdemeanor domestic violence convictions and restraining/protective order violations result in the defendant losing the right to own or possess a firearm.
Wobbler crimes (crimes that can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or a felony) can also result in a firearms ban if the defendant is convicted on a misdemeanor. Assault, threatening a public officer or official, most criminal threats, stalking, battery, and any misdemeanors involving a gun will result in a firearms ban.
Misdemeanor convictions that result in a firearms ban automatically restore these rights ten years after conviction. However, if the misdemeanor is a violation of Penal Code section 273.5 (domestic assault), then the firearms ban is for life. It is important to note that all domestic violence convictions carry a ten-year firearm ban.
Additionally, under federal law, a domestic violence conviction mandates a lifetime ban that bars a person from owning or possessing a firearm in any state. Since federal law overrides California law, you can still be prohibited from owning or possessing a gun even if your rights are restored in California.
Can I Restore My Gun Rights If I Was Charged with a Felony Wobbler?
If a wobbler offense is prosecuted as a felony and results in a conviction, then gun rights can be restored if the defendant doesn’t have to serve any prison time. In some situations, courts will sentence felony convictions on wobbler offenses to probation and/or time in county jail. When this occurs, the defendant can petition the court to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor. If the petition is granted, gun rights can be restored ten years after the conviction.