Can I Get My Gun Rights Back In California?

There are several ways that an individual can lose gun rights in California. Some of them don’t even require a conviction. In this post, we go over how a person can lose their gun rights and possible ways to get them back.

What are ways I could lose my gun rights in California?

1. Losing gun rights for a mental health issue. You have a mental health issue that comes to the attention of the authorities and they decide you are a danger to yourself or others. If this happens, you are entitled to a hearing. You can bring evidence to the hearing that demonstrates why you should not lose your gun rights.

2. Losing gun rights by government action. The government steps in and says you’re dangerous and can’t have a gun because of an arrest or a report against you. This means that you can still lose your gun rights even if you were never even prosecuted or arrested, just a report is required.  But, before your gun rights are taken away, you have the right to a hearing before a judge.

3. Losing gun rights by being convicted of certain misdemeanors. You are convicted of one of the misdemeanors that mandates the loss of gun rights for 10 years. See below for a list.

4. Losing gun rights by being convicted of a felony. You are convicted of a felony. If you’re convicted of a felony, you can lose your gun rights for life. You may have your gun rights restored, however, if the felony is reduced to a misdemeanor after conviction.  

In some cases, there are ways to have your gun rights restored.

How do I get my gun rights back in California?

It depends on how you lost them.

Getting gun rights back after a mental health issue. If you lost your gun rights over a mental health issue, you’ll need to show evidence before a court that you have received treatment, rehabilitation and you present evidence that you are worthy to have your gun rights restored.

Getting gun rights back after being arrested or having a report written on you. If you were not convicted, just arrested, or lost your gun rights over a report, you can have a hearing before a judge to have your gun rights restored.  

Getting gun rights back after being convicted of a felony. If you were charged with a felony that is later reduced to a misdemeanor, then you can apply to a judge to get your gun rights back.

Does California automatically restore gun rights?

No, the current state of the law would require you to return to court with the help of a lawyer to have your gun rights restored.  Rarely does anything happen automatically when it comes to criminal convictions and restoration of your rights, especially when it involves guns.

Can you own a gun if you have a misdemeanor in California?

Certain misdemeanor convictions mandate a 10-year ban on gun ownership. These include:

• Assault
• Battery
• Sexual battery
• Threatening public officials
• Intimidating witnesses
• Threatening witnesses
• Reckless discharge
• Violation of a domestic protection order
• Domestic violence
• Unlawfully bringing a gun into a courtroom or school

Can a felon get gun rights back in California?

There are only two ways for a felon to restore gun rights.

1. The first way is to have your felony reduced to a misdemeanor. This is only possible for California “wobbler” offenses, which may either be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor. 

2. The second way is to apply to the Governor directly for a pardon and to receive one. 

Can a felon own a gun in California after ten years?

Not unless they successfully have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor or secure a pardon from the Governor of California.

Restoring gun rights after mental health issue case study

Auburn, CA 

One of our clients had his guns confiscated due to a mental health breakdown during which he was attempting to harm himself. Someone called the police and said he was having a crisis. The police determined that he was a danger and placed him on a hold. Once they discovered he had guns, the District Attorney filed a request to have them confiscated and took the guns.

Our client went to outpatient treatment for six months. We then petitioned the courts to get his rights back. He was able to show he was no longer suffering from the mental health issue. A character witness testified and we presented evidence such as medical and psychiatric records and letters from his employer, wife, and community members.

His gun rights were restored, and the confiscated guns were returned to him. In addition, the judge did not require him to continue treatment.

Restoring gun rights after arrest case study

Roseville, CA

One of our clients got arrested for allegedly displaying a gun at another driver while in his car. The police came to his home and seized all his weapons.

He was entitled to a hearing on the question of whether he was violent. He testified before a judge, as did his wife and employer. In this scenario, the judge had full power to make a determination as to whether the guns would be destroyed or returned.

Fortunately, he had no prior record, and there wasn’t sufficient evidence to show whether he’d even actually committed the offense for which he was arrested. He also had a good employment history and a good long-term relationship. He wasn’t a menace; he was responsibly using his gun for hunting. 

We were able to get his gun rights fully restored.

Need help restoring your gun rights in California?

If you’ve had your gun rights taken away from you and you want to find out if you are eligible for gun rights restoration, call the Cohen Defense Group in Auburn at 530-823-7700 or Roseville at 916-596-2700.

We can help you show evidence to a judge that your situation warrants restoring your rights.

Contact us today.

About Barry Zimmerman

Barry Zimmerman HeadshotBarry Zimmerman has been a criminal defense lawyer in Placer County for more than 30 years. He’s handled thousands of cases, tried over 65 of them to verdict, and argued before the California Supreme Court. As a senior attorney with the Cohen Defense Group, he handles their most difficult cases, including sex crimes and murder. Barry works to ensure his clients get a brilliant defense and the support they need to move forward after the case is closed.