California gun laws prohibit certain individuals from owning a firearm, such as non-residents and those under 21 years-old. The law also bars felons from possessing a firearm. This is often called the "felon with a firearm law."
Is it a Violation to Own a Firearm If I am a Felon?
California law prohibits a person from possessing, owning, or purchasing a firearm if convicted of a specific offense.
What Does a "Certain Offense" Mean?
Offenses that could restrict an individual from possessing, owning, or purchasing a firearm include:
- Having two or more misdemeanors
- Having any prior felony convictions
- Using or being addicted to any narcotic drug
The law includes federal crimes where the defendant spent 30 days or more in a federal correctional facility, and/or received a fine of $1,000.
Is Possessing a Gun as a Felon the Same as Owning an Illegal Firearm?
No. Illegal firearm possession refers to obtaining a legal firearm in an illegal way or obtaining an illegal weapon no matter how it’s purchased.
What’s the Penalty for Violating Having a Firearm as a Felon?
In California, the charge of felon with a firearm is considered is a felony. It is punishable by 16 months to 3 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. The court may also require the defendant to forfeit all weapons, and the defendant may face deportation if they are an immigrant.
Are There Any Defenses I Can Use to Fight This Charge?
Yes. There are plenty of defenses a defendant can pick from to fight this felony charge. This important thing is to pick the one that fits the facts of the case. Some common defenses include:
- The defendant had momentary possession
- The defendant possessed the firearm in order to take it from a criminal and give it to the proper authority.
- The defendant didn’t have knowledge of the firearm
Do I Need a Lawyer to Fight This Charge?
Yes. A criminal defense lawyer will help you fight this charge by choosing the best defense for your situation.