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Can you own a firearm after a felony conviction?

California has some of the strictest regulations in the country concerning firearm possession. In 2018, the state passed new laws, such as how gun owners can no longer purchase assault rifles in the state and how they need to register the ones they currently have. 

There are many punishments that come with a felony conviction, including prison time, significant fines and even the loss of the right to own guns. California has numerous stipulations on who can own a firearm. In addition to people convicted of felonies, the following demographics cannot purchase or own guns in the state: 

  • Anyone addicted to narcotic drugs
  • Anyone prohibited from owning a gun due to a history of chronic alcoholism or extreme mental illness
  • Anyone who cannot possess a firearm as a direct order from probation
  • Anyone who has an outstanding arrest warrant due to a firearm-related crime
  • Anyone convicted of a crime, including a misdemeanor, that involved the unlawful use of a firearm, a hate crime or violence of any sort

California law also states that anyone who shares a residence with an individual who cannot lawfully own a firearm cannot keep a firearm in the residence. Some exceptions to this rule are if the firearm remains in a locked container or the firearm remains disabled due to a safety device.

Is there any way for a felon to gain back gun rights?

Once a person receives a felony conviction, that individual remains a felon for life. In California, the only way for such an individual to regain the ability to purchase and own firearms is to receive a full pardon from the state's governor. It is also possible for the person to mount a legal defense to get the crime reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, allowing he or him to retain gun rights. However, there is only a certain number of crimes where this is possible. 

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