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    As a former Deputy Public Defender in Riverside County, Mr. Donath has always been on the defense side of the law. 

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    Top 100 Trial Attorneys in California 2012-2014, 2008 Trial Attorney of the Year by the Riverside County Public Defender's Office, and dozens of other awards and accolades.

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Can a Felon Own a Gun in California?

Posted in California Law on May 5, 2022

If you are convicted of a crime, it can affect your Second Amendment right to bear arms. In the state of California, convicted felons will lose their right to own or possess a gun. Furthermore, California is notoriously tough when it comes to guns, and its gun laws are among the strictest in the United States. Even some misdemeanor convictions can result in a permanent ban on gun ownership under California law, including handguns, long guns, and all concealed firearms. Lifetime bans and 10-year bans are levied, depending on the type of offense and other factors, and restoration of gun rights is at the discretion of the state’s governor. 

California Penal Code 29800 and 417

Under California Penal Code 29800, Article 1, a person who is convicted of a felony offense in California or other states or who is addicted to narcotics can be adjudged guilty of a felony for owning, purchasing, receiving, or controlling a firearm. Likewise, people who have outstanding warrants for felony offenses are also forbidden from owning or possessing a gun.

Similarly, under Penal Code 417, if a person is found guilty of brandishing a firearm two or more times, they are banned for life from owning a firearm. The same holds true for people who are convicted under Penal Code 23515 for violent use of a firearm. A lifetime ban is issued for a first offense of:

  • Shooting a gun at an occupied vehicle or inhabited home. 
  • Assaulting a peace officer or firefighter with a gun. 
  • Assaulting another person with any firearm or an assault weapon.

In addition, 10-year bans on gun ownership are levied upon conviction of certain other misdemeanor offenses, including those directed at police officers or where domestic violence is involved. Some of these include assault, violation of a restraining order, criminal threatening, and possessing a firearm in a school zone.

Restoration of Gun Rights in California

Because it is up to California’s governor to restore the gun rights of those who have lost those rights due to the commission of criminal activities, gun rights restoration can be a difficult path that is both complex and lengthy. A attorney who specializes in gun crimes can help you petition to have your gun rights restored. Typically, you must wait 10 years after successfully fulfilling any probation requirements, receive a Certificate of Rehabilitation from the court, and must not have been convicted of any other criminal activity during that time. 

Another path to gun rights restoration may be possible: having your felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor. Although this strategy doesn’t always work, for some charges that might have gone either way—felony or misdemeanor—which are known as wobblers—there has been some success in having gun rights restored. 

Facing Gun Charges?

At the Law Offices of Graham Donath, our team of firearm crime defense lawyers understands how scary it can be to be charged with a gun crime. If you have been arrested or indicted with a weapons-related offense or you are looking to have your gun rights restored, we want to help you. Request a confidential consultation or give us a call in Riverside at 951-667-5293 or Orange County at 714-758-5293 to discuss your case in greater depth.