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FAQ: How do I know if I am prohibited from possessing firearms?

To determine whether you are prohibited from possessing firearms, please review the following list of firearm prohibiting categories prepared by the California Department of Justice – Bureau of Firearms:

FIREARMS PROHIBITING CATEGORIES

State and federal law make it unlawful for certain persons to own and/or possess firearms, including:

  • Any person who is convicted of a felony, or any offense enumerated in Penal Code sections 29900 or 29905;
  • Any person who is ordered to not possess firearms as a condition of probation or other court order listed in Penal Code section 29815, subdivisions (a) and (b);
  • Any person who is convicted of a misdemeanor listed in Penal Code section 29805 (refer to List of Prohibiting Misdemeanors) • Any person who is adjudged a ward of the juvenile court because he or she committed an offense listed in Welfare and Institutions Code section 707(b), an offense described in Penal Code section 1203.073(b), or any offense enumerated in Penal Code section 29805;
  • Any person who is subject to a temporary restraining order or an injunction issued pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure sections 527.6 or 527.8, a protective order as defined in Family Code section 6218, a protective order issued pursuant to Penal Code sections 136.2 or 646.91, or a protective order issued pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 15657.03;
  • Any person who is found by a court to be a danger to himself, herself, or others because of a mental illness;
  • Any person who is found by a court to be mentally incompetent to stand trial;
  • Any person who is found by a court to be not guilty by reason of insanity;
  • Any person who is adjudicated to be a mentally disordered sex offender;
  • Any person who is placed on a conservatorship because he or she is gravely disabled as a result of a mental disorder, or an impairment by chronic alcoholism;
  • Any person who communicates a threat to a licensed psychotherapist against a reasonably identifiable victim, that has been reported by the psychotherapist to law enforcement;
  • Any person who is taken into custody as a danger to self or others under Welfare and Institutions Code section 5150, assessed under Welfare and Institutions Code section 5151, and admitted to a mental health facility under Welfare and Institutions Code sections 5151, 5152, or certified under Welfare and Institutions Code sections 5250, 5260, and 5270.15;
  • Any person who is addicted to the use of narcotics (state and federal);
  • Any person who is under indictment or information in any court for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year (federal);
  • Any person who has been discharged from the military under dishonorable conditions (federal);
  • Any person who is an illegal alien (federal);
  • Any person who has renounced US Citizenship (federal);
  • Any person who is a fugitive from justice (federal).

Firearm prohibitions for misdemeanor violations of the offenses listed below are generally for ten years from the date of conviction, but the duration of each prohibition may vary. All statutory references are to the California Penal Code, unless otherwise indicated.

  • Threatening public officers, employees, and school officials (Pen. Code, § 71.);
  • Threatening certain public officers, appointees, judges, staff or their families with the intent and apparent ability to carry out the threat (Pen. Code, § 76.);
  • Intimidating witnesses or victims (Pen. Code, § 136.1.);
  • Possessing a deadly weapon with the intent to intimidate a witness (Pen. Code, § 136.5.);
  • Threatening witnesses, victims, or informants (Pen. Code, § 140.);
  • Attempting to remove or take a firearm from the person or immediate presence of a public or peace officer (Pen. Code, § 148(d).);
  • Unauthorized possession of a weapon in a courtroom. Courthouse, or court building, or at a public meeting (Pen. Code, § 171(b).);
  • Bringing into or possessing a loaded firearm within the state capitol, legislative offices, etc. (Pen. Code, § 171(c).);
  • Taking into or possessing loaded firearms within the Governor’s Mansion or residence of other constitutional officers (Pen. Code, 171(d).);
  • Supplying, selling or giving possession of a firearm to a person for participation in criminal street gangs (Pen. Code, § 186.28.);
  • Assault (Pen. Code, §§ 240, 241.);
  • Battery (Pen. Code, §§ 242, 243.);
  • Sexual Battery (Pen. Code, § 243.4);
  • Assault with a stun gun or taser weapon (Pen. Code, § 244.5.);
  • Assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, or with force likely to produce great bodily injury (Pen. Code, § 245.);
  • Assault with a deadly weapon or instrument; by any means likely to produce great bodily injury or with a stun gun or taser on a school employee engaged in performance of duties (Pen. Code, § 245.5 .);
  • Discharging a firearm in a grossly negligent manner (Pen. Code, § 246.3.);
  • Shooting at an unoccupied aircraft, motor vehicle, or uninhabited building or dwelling house (Pen. Code, § 247.);
  • Inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or significant other (Pen. Code, § 273.5.);
  • Willfully violating a domestic protective order (Pen. Code, § 273.6.);
  • Drawing, exhibiting, or using deadly weapon other than a firearm (Pen. Code, § 417, subd. (a)(1) & (a)(2).);
  • Inflicting serious bodily injury as a result of brandishing (Pen. Code, § 417.6.);
  • Making threats to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person (Pen. Code, § 422.);
  • Bringing into or possessing firearms upon or within public schools and grounds (Pen. Code, § 626.9.);
  • Stalking (Pen. Code, § 646.9.);
  • Armed criminal action (Pen. Code, § 25800.);
  • Possessing a deadly weapon with intent to commit an assault (Pen. Code, § 17500.);
  • Driver of any vehicle who knowingly permits another person to discharge a firearm from the vehicle or any person who willfully and maliciously discharges a firearm from a motor vehicle (Pen. Code, § 26100, subd. (b) or (d).);
  • Criminal possession of a firearm (Pen. Code, § 25300.);
  • Firearms dealer who sells, transfers or gives possession of any firearm to a minor or a handgun to a person under 21 (Pen. Code, § 27510.);
  • Various violations involving sales and transfers of firearms (Pen. Code, § 27590, subd. (c).);
  • Person or corporation who sells any concealable firearm to any minor (former Pen. Code, § 12100, subd. (a).);
  • Unauthorized possession/transportation of a machine gun (Pen. Code, § 32625);
  • Possession of ammunition designed to penetrate metal or armor (Pen. Code, § 30315.);
  • Carrying a concealed or loaded firearm or other deadly weapon or wearing a peace officer uniform while picketing (Pen. Code, §§ 830.95, subd. (a), 17510, subd. (a.);
  • Bringing firearm related contraband into juvenile hall (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 871.5.);
  • Bringing firearm related contraband into a youth authority institution (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 1001.5.);
  • Purchase, possession, or receipt of a firearm or deadly weapon by a person receiving in-patient treatment for a mental disorder, or by a person who has communicated to a licensed psychotherapist a serious threat of physical violence against an identifiable victim (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 8100.) • Providing a firearm or deadly weapon to a person described in Welfare and Institutions Code sections 8100 or 8103 (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 8101.);
  • Purchase, possession, or receipt of a firearm or deadly weapon by a person who has been adjudicated to be a mentally disordered sex offender or found to be mentally incompetent to stand trial, or not guilty by reason of insanity, and individuals placed under conservatorship (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 8103.).

The following misdemeanor convictions result in a lifetime prohibition:

  • Assault with a firearm (Pen. Code, §§ 29800, subd. (a)(1), 23515, subd. (a).);
  •  Shooting at an inhabited or occupied dwelling house, building, vehicle, aircraft, housecar or camper (Pen. Code, §§ 246, 29800, subd. (a)(1), 17510, 23515, subd. (b).);
  • Brandishing a firearm in presence of a peace officer (Pen. Code §§ 417, subd. (c), 23515, subd. (d), 29800, subd. (a)(1).);
  • Two or more convictions of Penal Code section 417, subdivision (a)(2) (Pen. Code § 29800, subd. (a)(2).);
  • A “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” (18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(33)(A), 922(g)(9).).

Note: The Department of Justice provides this document for informational purposes only. This list may not be inclusive of all firearms prohibitions. For specific legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice law in California.

STILL UNCLEAR?

Some law firms recommend that individuals attempt to purchase a firearm and wait for the response from the California Department of Justice to determine whether they are prohibited.  DO NOT DO THIS!  The records submitted along with a firearm purchase are made under penalty of purjury.  Further, to the extent that an individual is prohibited, merely completing the application to purchase a firearm is unlawful.

California has established a legal method of determining whether an individual is prohibited via Penal Code 30105 and their Personal Firearms Eligibility Check Application.   Simply complete and submit the application according to the instruction.  The Department of Justice usually responds within 30 days.

If you receive a response stating that you are prohibited from possessing firearms, please contact us to determine whether your rights may be restored.