California takes guns in domestic violence scenarios very seriously. Because of this, there are a number of domestic violence firearm restrictions that you may face if convicted of a domestic violence offense. You could face restrictions even if you did not injure or touch the other person or involve firearms in the incident. The length of these restrictions can vary, but some will stay in place for life.
Many domestic violence incidents don't end in fatalities, but those that do overwhelmingly involve firearms. To curtail this problem, California enforces strict regulations on the gun rights of domestic violence offenders. Those charged with a domestic violence offense may have their guns taken away temporarily, and those convicted may be ordered to sell or turn their guns in. You can also be prevented from owning or purchasing firearms if you are subject to a domestic violence restraining or protective order. Even though the Second Amendment protects our right to bear arms, courts have ruled that domestic violence firearm restrictions do not violate this right. Both federal and state laws prevent domestic violence offenders from owning firearms.
As mentioned above, a domestic violence conviction may take away your rights to own or purchase a firearm, but the law is more far-reaching than that. You can be restricted from owning, purchasing, possessing, or otherwise having in your control or custody a firearm. You will also be restricted from owning, purchasing, or possessing ammunition. If a restraining order against you has been issued, the police may hold your firearms in custody temporarily. If your rights are entirely restricted, however, you will have to either sell your firearms to a licensed dealer or release them to local law enforcement.
You do not need to be convicted of a domestic violence offense to have your gun rights restricted. Many other crimes can affect your gun rights. California gun laws restrict the gun rights of those convicted of an assault or battery against any victim. You can also have your gun rights restricted for stalking or threatening someone. Misdemeanors that can restrict your gun rights typically involve firearms or a danger to yourself or others.
The spans of these restrictions vary. If you are subject to a restraining order, your restrictions may stay in place for the length of the order. Some misdemeanor crimes will prevent you from owning or purchasing a firearm for ten years from the date of your conviction. A felony conviction can take away your gun rights for life. Those who have been taken into custody and deemed mentally unstable may have their rights taken away for five years. Those deemed mentally incompetent or who are mentally disordered sex offenders will have their rights taken away for life. Some juvenile offenders may have their rights taken away until they reach 30 years of age. You can even have your gun rights restricted for a narcotics addiction. Those charged with a felony can have their rights suspended even before they have been convicted.
Those who do not adhere to these restrictions can face a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to one year in a county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Peace officers who need to use a gun in their course of employment may be allowed to use a firearm while on duty, but there are no other exceptions. If you are unsure of your eligibility to possess a firearm, you can check with the Department of Justice. You will be able to find out the nature and length of your restrictions. It is important to be aware of what restrictions you are subject to because the consequences are serious.
If you are facing domestic violence charges and have concerns about your gun rights, contact an experienced domestic violence defense attorney right away. A California domestic violence defense attorney will know exactly how your conviction may affect your gun rights and what you can do to prevent them from being taken away. Domestic violence firearm restrictions can last a lifetime, and violating these restrictions can land you in jail. You will have the best chance of beating your charges with the help of an experienced attorney when facing such harsh consequences.
Are you in the Visalia or Tulare area and facing charges for a domestic violence offense? At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we are experienced in domestic violence defense and can help you face your charges. Criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens has successfully represented clients in Fresno, Tulare and Kings Counties for over ten years and will not be afraid to take your case all the way to trial. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensLaw@gmail.com to discuss your case.