Am I legally allowed to own a gun?

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Am I legally allowed to own a gun?

If you are thinking of buying a gun, and you are worried that you may not be qualified, read this first.

There are many issues that can happen in life which can cause the government to prohibit a person from purchasing, receiving, owning and possessing a firearm.    

These items include but are not limited to all felony convictions, certain misdemeanor firearms convictions, misdemeanor domestic violence convictions, a civil restraining order such as an active temporary restraining order (TRO) or a time restricted restraining order.    

Most people think that one must have a criminal past to be prevented from gun ownership but as illustrated with the implementation of a civil order, one can have his/her Second Amendment rights stripped away through the civil process.   

Something else to be noted is that if one takes a plea deal in criminal case, you are accepting a conviction of the crime stated in the deal.   

Thus, if one takes a plea deal for a crime that requires the person’s Second Amendment rights to be stripped away, it is likely that person is prohibited from owning firearms.   

Additionally, it is possible to take a deal with the state that limits your rights for a period of time on the state level but that permanently strips a person of their rights federally under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8).  This is the case with certain domestic violence crimes.  

With the recent influx of new gun buyers, we have noticed a lot of people coming into the store(s) who are unsure of their status to own a firearm. These people tend to incorrectly assume that as a gun store we can run a back ground check to determine if he/she is in prohibitive status or not.   

As a matter of policy we instruct customers to contact the California Department of Justice (CADOJ) and submit a personal firearms eligibility check to determine whether or not he/she is able to purchase a firearm. 

From the CADOJ website: 

https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/firearms/forms/pfecapp.pdf

What is a Personal Firearms Eligibility Check?

    • Pursuant to California Penal Code section 30105, an individual may request that the Department of Justice perform a firearms eligibility check on that individual. Authorized state records shall be examined to determine if the individual is prohibited by state or federal law from possessing, receiving, owning, or purchasing a firearm.

What information is required for a Personal Firearms Eligibility Check (PFEC)?

    • You must submit a completed PFEC application, pdf, a copy of your California Driver’s License or Identification Card, and fees in the amount of $20. The application must be signed and notarized, and include an impression of your right thumbprint. If you are a non-U.S. citizen, you must also submit a copy of your Alien Registration or I-94 Card.

 

We do this because if an individual in prohibitive status fills out the 4473 and attempts to purchase a firearm while in prohibitive status, they risk being charged with a separate crime. It is a federal crime to knowingly lie on the 4473 but the CA Penal code allows DA’s to charge people under the states attempt statute who attempt to purchase a firearm while in prohibited status.  

That’s right, you read this correctly, you can be charged with an entirely new crime if you are in prohibitive status and attempt to purchase a firearm.  

 

See CA penal codes:

Attempt statute: PC664

Felon in possession of a firearm: PC29800

Misdemeanor crimes that can keep an individual from owning firearms: PC 29805

PC 29815 is the statute that establishes it is unlawful for a person to possess a firearm if such a restriction is placed on them as conditions of his/her probation.  

 

Relevant Federal Laws: 

18 USC § 924 covers lying on the 4473

18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) requires a lifetime ban on owning firearms if having committed a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence on a spouse.  

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