Although the Second Amendment extends the right to possess and bear arms, there are numerous federal and state restrictions on that right. Certain criminal activity can affect the legality of your firearm ownership.
In California, felons typically cannot legally own a firearm. However, a previous criminal history doesn’t necessarily mean that an individual has less of a need for those rights. Someone who lives in a neighborhood with a high crime rate may want a firearm for their own protection. Those who live in the country may need a firearm to protect themselves or their livestock from wildlife.
What happens if the police catch you with a firearm in your possession?
Unlawfully possessing a firearm is a felony
If you have a felony on your record, regardless of whether it is a charge from California, another state or the federal government, California laws restricting firearm ownership apply to you. In fact, you don’t even need a conviction. An outstanding warrant for a felony offense is enough to make your ownership of a firearm a crime.
If the police arrest someone with a firearm and they already have a felony conviction or have a warrant for a felony offense, they will face a felony charge just for possessing an otherwise legal firearm. If convicted, a felon in possession of a firearm could face a three-year sentence in state custody. The state can also impose up to $10,000 in fines. A judge may put someone on probation instead of incarcerating them, but the charges would remain the same regardless.
Knowing when you can and cannot legally possess a firearm can help you avoid facing another criminal charge in the future.