A criminal record — even, sometimes, just pending charges — can restrict your civil liberties in numerous ways, including your right to possess firearms.
Federal law 18 U.S.C. § 921 et seq., known as the 1968 Gun Control Act, permanently forbids anyone convicted of a felony from possessing a firearm. It’s irrelevant whether the conviction was for a violent or non-violent crime. California Penal Code 29800 PC is the state law that prohibits the same.
To avoid weapons charges when you’re under a restriction, it’s essential to fully understand how these laws may apply to you.
Felons aren’t the only people prohibited from having weapons
Convicted felons aren’t the only ones that federal law prohibits from possessing firearms in the U.S. Individuals subject to current domestic violence protective orders can’t possess a gun, either. And, defendants previously convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or any such crime involving force, such as assault or battery, can’t own or possess a firearm.
Plus, there’s a retroactive aspect to these laws. It doesn’t matter if your conviction occurred before the enactment of one of these laws. Anyone convicted of one of the above-referenced offenses must abide by the stated firearms bans as these laws apply retroactively.
Can you ever regain the right to possess firearms?
You can have your rights to possess a firearm restored, but it’s sure to be an uphill battle to do so. An expungement of your record or a pardon may pave the way for your restoration of civil rights, though.
What should you do if you’re facing weapons charges?
Prosecutors assume that most defendants with felony convictions on their records should know about the deprivation of their right to possess a firearm. They, therefore, don’t look too fondly upon individuals who seemingly violate these bans.
You’ll need to put up a strong defense if prosecutors accuse you of having violated firearm possession by felons charges. An attorney can advise you of some defense strategies that you may want to apply in your case.