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Domestic Violence Gun Restrictions

A conviction for domestic violence in California involves a number of penalties, including jail, fines, and a mandatory batterer's treatment program. One of the far-reaching consequences of a domestic battery conviction affects gun ownership rights. Anyone convicted of domestic violence in California may lose their firearms and right to possess a gun forever. 

When the prosecutor is offering a deal in exchange for pleading guilty, make sure you understand all the consequences of a conviction on your criminal record. You may have a better case than you realize. Contact an experienced East Bay criminal defense lawyer to keep your gun ownership rights. 

State and Federal Firearms Restrictions

There are a few different state and federal laws that may apply after a domestic violence conviction. 

  • Federal Firearm Ban 
  • California 10-Year Ban
  • California Lifetime Firearm Ban
  • California Felon with Firearm Ban

Federal Firearm Ban 

Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), it is unlawful for any person convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to possess or receive any firearm or ammunition. The gun ban also applies to convicted felons and anyone subject to a domestic violence protective order.

The penalties for a federal violation of the firearm ban can include a fine of up to $250,000 and up to 10 years in federal prison. 

It is possible to have federal gun rights restored after a domestic violence conviction. Any conviction which has been expunged, set aside, or pardoned shall not be considered a conviction for the federal firearm ban unless the restoration of civil rights expressly provides otherwise. 

California 10-Year Ban

Under California Penal Code 29805(a), anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery under PEN 243 is prohibited from owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm for 10 years. Possession of a firearm in violation of this law is punishable by not more than one year in the state prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

The 10-year ban also applies to anyone convicted of misdemeanor stalking, under California Penal Code 646.9. Stalking is willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following, or harassing another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family. 

After 10 years following the conviction, the individual will generally be able to own or possess a firearm, if there are no other prohibitions or bans in place. 

Felony domestic violence or domestic abuse with traumatic injury are subject to lifetime bans. 

California Lifetime Firearm Ban

Under California Penal Code 29805(b), anyone convicted of domestic battery with traumatic injury under PEN 273.5 is prohibited from owning, possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm. 

Under California Penal Code 273.5, any person who willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon any of the following is guilty of a felony:

  • The offender's spouse or former spouse.
  • The offender's cohabitant or former cohabitant.
  • The offender's fiancé or fiancée, or someone with whom the offender has, or previously had, an engagement or dating relationship.
  • The mother or father of the offender's child.

This ban applies to anyone convicted on or after January 1, 2019. Possession of a firearm in violation of this law is punishable by not more than one year in the state prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

California Felon with Firearm Ban

California also has a lifetime firearm ban on anyone convicted of a felony. Under California Penal Code 29800, it is a violation to own, purchase, receive, or possess any firearm by any person who has been convicted of a felony. This includes felony convictions in California, federal felony convictions, or a felony conviction in any other state, government, or country. 

Possession of a firearm in violation of this law is a felony, punishable by up to 3 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

What Happens to My Guns After a DV Arrest?

The police can confiscate your firearms even if you are arrested for domestic violence. After an arrest for domestic battery, the police are required to confiscate any firearms that were used in the offense or discovered by the police at the scene of the domestic violence incident. Confiscated firearms are held for at least 48 hours, even if the suspect is released or charges are dropped. 

Similarly, after being served a domestic violence protective order in California, the respondent must turn over any firearms at the immediate request of any law enforcement officer, or within 24 hours if no request is made. If no request by law enforcement is made, the respondent must relinquish firearms to local law enforcement or a licensed gun dealer.

East Bay Defense Lawyer for DV Charges 

East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 37 years of criminal defense experience and understands the importance of gun ownership to many Californians. Representing individuals in Alameda County and Contra Costa County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local criminal laws, local officers, and the prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay criminal defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

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