How to Restore Your Gun Rights in California

California can be a forgiving state. However, the state is known for being strict when it comes to firearm rights. If you have been convicted of a crime, generally a Felony conviction, your gun rights have likely been taken away. For many people, the ability to own a firearm is important. Whether it be a for employment, a hobby, or protection, we understand that being able to regain that right is integral.

Luckily, the laws in California are set up in such a way that, based on your case’s eligibility, there are several ways to reinstate your gun rights as discussed below.

First, Review Your Record with an Expungement Attorney.

To reinstate your firearm rights, it’s important to first analyze what is on your entire criminal record, including the juvenile record, with an attorney that is an expert in the field of criminal record clearance with a focus on firearm right restorations.

At Lifeback Legal, our team of attorneys are knowledgeable and experienced in the criminal record clearing process and gun right restorations. Upon reviewing the record and comparing the casework to the laws, our team will be able to provide a sound answer as to what will be necessary to file in order to restore your gun rights.

To have our team review your record, you may sign up for a Firearm Rights Analysis. The cost of the Analysis is $250 and can be credited towards the service(s) your casework is eligible for. The results of the Analysis will likely lead to one of the following options below.

Option 1: Reduce the Felony to a Misdemeanor 

Generally, to reinstate your firearm rights in California, a Felony conviction must be Reduced to a Misdemeanor. Felonies that are eligible for Reduction are considered Wobblers.

In order for a case to be considered eligible for Reduction, it has to meet certain requirements surrounding sentencing, year of conviction, and exact penal code information. To verify if your Felony conviction meets the state’s requirements, we recommend first speaking with an attorney specialized in the field of criminal record clearance to review your entire record.

Option 2: File for a Certificate of Rehabilitation. 

If a case does not qualify to be reduced, you may want to consider a Certificate of Rehabilitation. The Certificate of Rehabilitation can be filed on the court level and, once granted to you, is considered to be a positive mark on your character – that you have essentially been considered rehabilitated from the offense. You will want to ensure you’re working with an attorney that makes certain there is a request to restore your gun rights in the documentation that is submitted to the court. Once the judge grants the Certificate, the Certificate is then moved to the Board of Clemency to one day be pardoned by the Governor, should it be approved. At that point, your firearm rights may be restored, dependent on the Governor’s final decision. 

Option 3: File for a California Pardon with the Board of Clemency.

It is recommended to file the Certificate of Rehabilitation before going directly for the Pardon, so as to show that you’ve taken all the possible steps available on the courthouse level. However, with some cases, the Certificate is not a possibility and the Pardon may be the last resort. The Pardon is a request to be forgiven for the case and to request your gun rights back. This can be a long process, but not impossible. You will want to ensure you have built a strong case by showing that you’ve worked to better yourself and your community. The stronger the case, the higher the likelihood of success.

Option 4: For Certain Cases, Allow Set Wait Period to Pass. 

In certain circumstances, in particular on the juvenile record, when a person has turned 30 years of age, they may qualify for automatic restoration of firearm rights. Juvenile records are unique and can vary dependent on the penal code, sentencing, and year of conviction. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney if a juvenile case is barring you from your firearm rights.

Option 5: File a Department of Justice (DOJ) Appeal.

Error happens. If you have already Reduced your felony and you tried to purchase a firearm with no success, it is likely that a clerical error has occurred. In other words, the court may not have notified the DOJ of the reduction or the information may simply have never been input. Our team of attorneys have dealt with a number of cases as such and have successfully filed appeals for clients in these predicaments.

Reminder, many people think that an Expungement will restore your firearm rights in California. This is not true. An Expungement changes your case from a Conviction to a Dismissal. It does not restore your firearm rights. Rather, a reduction can be a viable option, dependent on the record, to restore one’s gun rights. Keep in mind, there are also certain Misdemeanor convictions that fall under certain lifetime bans, such as Domestic Violence cases.

We encourage working with an attorney knowledgeable in this field to verify the casework for accurate filing. Reach out to Lifeback Legal today if you are seeking your gun rights back.