Domestic Violence Convictions and Your Gun Rights

As one of the leading law firms providing Gun Rights Restoration, our firm is often asked about convictions for domestic violence. While the article below provides a brief explanation of the current law on the issue, we advise having your record examined by an experienced and licensed gun rights restoration attorney. Please see below on how to contact our office to obtain a Gun Rights Restoration case analysis.

Lifeback Legal is a division of the Law Firm of Shea M. Randall, a trusted California Law Firm. We specialize in helping individuals get their life back with California criminal record expungements and federal licensing services.

California Law for Those with Domestic Violence Convictions

If you have ever been convicted at any time of any misdemeanor offense that involves domestic violence, then under California state law there is a ten ban on purchasing, owning or possessing a firearm (See, Cal. Penal Code § 29805). In addition, if you are currently under a temporary or active restraining order, then there is also a possible conviction for anyone who owns, purchases, receives, or has in their possession or under their custody or control, any firearm punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or in the state prison, by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine pursuant to CA PC §29825.

Federal Bans Against Domestic Violence

At the federal level a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence triggers a lifetime ban under the Lautenberg Amendment (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9)). As enacted, the statute defines “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” (MCDV) as any state or federal misdemeanor that:

“has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.”

This definition includes all misdemeanors that involve the use or attempted use of physical force (e.g., simple assault, assault and battery), if the offense is committed by one of the defined parties. This is true whether or not the statute specifically defines the offense as a domestic violence misdemeanor. For example, a person convicted of misdemeanor assault against his or her spouse would be prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms. 

The prohibition applies to persons convicted of such misdemeanors at any time, even if the conviction occurred prior to the new law’s effective date, September 30, 1996. See United States v. Brady, 26 F.3d 282 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 115 S.Ct. 246 (1994)(denying ex post facto challenge to a 922(g)(1) conviction) and United States v. Waters, 23 F.3d 29 (2d Cir. 1994)(ex post facto based challenge to a 922(g)(4) conviction).

This means that if you have a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, your only option to restore your gun rights will be to apply for a direct Pardon from the Governor of California. Please note, however, that while Pardons are rarely granted, this would likely be your only legal option to restore your gun rights. 

If you have a misdemeanor or felony conviction for domestic violence, we would strongly advise having your record examined by an experienced and licensed attorney. To do help with this, our law firm offers a comprehensive gun rights restoration analysis. In order to get started online today, click here or contact our team now by filling out the contact form below or by calling our office at (888) 751-5329.  You can also learn more about the gun rights restoration process by clicking here.

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