Are you considering owning a gun in California, or have you recently come into possession of one? It’s important to know whether or not you are eligible to own a firearm in the state. Here we’ll look at what disqualifies someone from owning a gun in California.
Who cannot own a gun in California?
If you fall into any of these categories, it is illegal for you to possess a firearm in California.
Minors Under 18: Effective July 2023, a new state law will take effect, requiring any person to be at least 18 years old to own any gun in California. If you are a minor under 18, this law prohibits you from possessing any type of firearm, except for use in certain recreational activities such as hunting, competitive shooting, and motion picture production, with the permission of a guardian. This new law expands the current restrictions on minors that prohibits them from possessing handguns and semiautomatic centerfire rifles. (Penal Code 29610)
Further, if you are an adult with minors in your household, it is important to securely store firearms to prevent access by minors. This means storing guns in a locked safe, or other secure container, and storing ammunition separately from the firearms.
Convicted Felons: The “felon with a firearm” law makes it illegal for a convicted felon to own a gun. This California law applies to felons convicted of crimes such as murder, attempted murder, robbery, kidnapping, and assault with a firearm, under the laws of the United States, the State of California, or any other state, government, or country. If you have a felony conviction on your record, you are disqualified from owning or possessing a gun. (Penal Code 29800)
Addicted to Narcotics: Any person who is addicted to the use of any narcotic drug is not permitted to own a gun under California law. (Penal Code 29800)
Violent crime offenders: California law prohibits violent crime offenders from owning guns. This includes people convicted of violent crimes such as such as assault or domestic violence.
People on probation or parole: Being on probation or parole disqualifies you from owning a gun in California.
Misdemeanour offenders: Some misdemeanour offences can result in a prohibition on owning firearms in California. Examples of such offences include domestic violence misdemeanours and certain drug-related misdemeanours.
Subject to Restraining Order: Having certain restraining orders including a gun violence restraining order prohibits you from owning firearms.
Mentally ill deemed dangerous: Mentally ill individuals deemed dangerous to themselves or others as a result of a mental disorder or mental illness, are not allowed to possess or own guns under California law. This includes individuals who have been found by a court to be not guilty by reason of insanity, mentally incompetent to stand trial, or a mentally disordered sex offender. Additionally, people who have suffered intentionally inflicted great bodily injury or have been placed under a conservatorship are also prohibited.
Non-citizens and Aliens: Under federal law, aliens who are unlawfully in the United States are disqualified from owning a gun. Legal aliens in the United States are generally allowed to own and purchase firearms, with an exception for those admitted under a non-immigrant visa and do not meet one of the exceptions outlined in 18 U.S.C. 922(y)(2), such as possessing a valid hunting license or permit. Additionally, you cannot own a gun if you have renounced your U.S. citizenship.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive. Refer to state and federal laws for more details. Here’s a 2020 state-provided list of firearms prohibiting categories you can reference.
Remember, violating gun ownership laws in California can result in serious consequences, including criminal charges, heavy fines, and jail time. If you have any doubts or questions about whether you are following California gun laws correctly, it’s always a good idea to seek guidance from a professional.
One option is to contact Jeff at California Gun Services. Jeff is a licensed and experienced professional who works closely with local law enforcement to ensure that gun owners are in compliance with all state and federal laws. Jeff can provide you with a comprehensive gun audit to help you understand the laws and ensure that you are following them correctly. He can also offer guidance on how to improve your gun safety practices and prevent potential legal issues.