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Is it possible to restore gun rights after a conviction?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Strong opinions regarding gun rights have existed for as long as most people can remember. Your family while growing up may have strongly believed in the right to bear arms, and you may feel comfortable around firearms of all types. However, due to an arrest and subsequent conviction, you may have lost your rights to own and carry such weapons. 

Unfortunately, California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. As a result, the loss of your gun rights may have come as a significant blow to you because you may not have known whether it would be possible to restore those rights later. 

Can you restore your rights? 

Whether you can regain your ability to own and carry firearms will depend on a number of factors relating to your specific case. For instance, if the court convicted you of a misdemeanor violent crime, like assault, you face an automatic 10-year ban on owning and carrying firearms. Additionally, a five-year ban may result for anyone placed under arrest due to posing a danger to him- or herself or who has spent time in a mental health facility after an assessment. 

After the ban period comes to an end, you may apply to have your gun rights restored. However, if the situation involved a felony charge, you face a different scenario regarding your gun rights. 

Facing a permanent ban 

In cases where an individual receives a felony conviction, state law imposes a permanent ban on gun ownership for that individual. Other situations that can lead to a permanent ban include the following: 

  • An individual who has a restraining order, protective order or injunction against him or her 
  • An individual with an outstanding warrant relating to firearm prohibition offenses 
  • An individual formally judged as a mentally disordered sex offender 
  • An individual deemed incompetent and thus unable to stand trial 
  • An individual deemed guilty by reason of insanity for any criminal activity 

In cases of permanent bans, you essentially have one option for restoring your gun rights. That option involves obtaining a pardon from the governor. While it may seem out of reach, you may want to remain optimistic about your abilities to restore your gun rights. Laws are everchanging, and gaining information that applies to your specific situation may help you determine your best courses of action.