There are many basic rights that California residents stand to lose when convicted of violent crimes or other serious charges. Whether serving time in a state or federal prison, convicted criminals cannot vote. They cannot hold public office, and they’re prohibited from serving on juries. When convicted of felonies or violent misdemeanors in any jurisdiction throughout the state, they’re also unable to legally own firearms. However, there are certain provisions for having the right to purchase, own, receive, or hold firearms in custody restored.
Gun ownership rights may be automatically restored within 10 years of a conviction for misdemeanor charges.
A conviction for any felony within California invariably results in a lifetime firearms ban. You might also be subject to a lifetime firearms ban if you’ve been twice convicted of brandishing a firearm, or if you’ve been convicted of a single “assault with a firearm” charge. There are more than 40 misdemeanor charges that result in 10-year firearms bans. Once this mandatory 10-year period has passed, most people will have their gun rights automatically restored.
Having a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor is one way to have your gun rights restored.
Certain criminal offenses are known as “wobbler” offenses. These are criminal acts that can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies. It may be possible to have your “wobbler” felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor by petitioning the court. This is a common criminal defense strategy that can limit both the restrictions on your gun rights and their duration.
You also have the option of applying for a pardon from the governor.
Applying for a pardon from the governor may be your only course of action for lifting a firearms ban if you’ve been convicted as a sex offender for certain misdemeanor crimes, or if you aren’t actually a California resident. For all other parties, a California Certificate of Rehabilitation must be submitted to the superior court. If this petition is approved, it will automatically become a petition for a governor pardon.
There are many relief mechanisms for those seeking to have firearms bans lifted. However, if you’ve been convicted of a felony or violent misdemeanor crime in California and want to end your firearms ban, know that there is a process that might be able to help you.