If you have a felony conviction in California that did not result in a prison sentence, you may be eligible to have your conviction reduced to a misdemeanor. This reduction can remove the state and federal firearm prohibition. If your gun rights were revoked as a result of a domestic violence conviction, you may not be eligible to restore your gun rights if the conviction falls within the Lautenberg Amendment's definition of domestic violence.
A conviction in California can cause you to lose your firearm rights. We will discuss the three most common situations that cause people to lose their Second Amendment rights.
If you were convicted of certain misdemeanors that are described in California Penal Code Section 12021.1, you will not be able to own a firearm for 10-years from the time of your conviction. These types of misdemeanors are typically:
This prohibition is from the state of California and is a 10-year probation that starts from the time of your conviction. An expungement or record sealing will NOT restore your firearm rights. You will need to wait the 10-years even if you have your conviction expunged or sealed. The only way this can be lifted is if you get a court order from a judge. A judge can only grant this court order if you are currently an employee of the state of California and your job requires you to own or possess a firearm.
If your offense was a felony conviction, both state and federal laws prevent you from owning a firearm for life. The good new is that in California many offenses can be reduced to a misdemeanor. Those types of felony offenses are often referred to as "wobblers." If your felony offense is a wobbler that is reduced to a misdemeanor, your firearm rights will be restored in California and federally. To know if your offense was a wobbler, you need to know two things:
Lastly, a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence can prevent you from owning a firearm. Federal law, often referred to as the Lautenberg Amendment, says that anyone convicted of a crime that meets the federal definition of misdemeanor domestic violence has a lifetime probation from owning a firearm. There are a couple of things to keep in mind about this law. First, it only applies to misdemeanors. So, if you have a felony domestic violence, this law does not apply though other prohibition may that result from it. The second is that expungement and record sealing will not restore your right to own a firearm that was lost as a result of a misdemeanor conviction unless the state also took away your firearm rights as a result of the conviction and restored it as a right of the expungement.