Firearm Crimes

Crimes for the possession or sale of a firearm can be prosecuted in either state or federal court. In state court, the most commonly prosecuted firearm crimes include carrying a loaded firearm in violation of California Penal Code Section 25850 or carrying a concealed gun under California Penal Code Section 25400. Both of those offense come with a penalty of up to one (1) year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

Other types of firearm crimes commonly prosecuted in California include:

  • negligent discharge of a firearm;
  • improperly brandishing a firearm or other weapon;
  • assault with a deadly weapon;
  • possession of illegal ammunition or gun accessories;
  • being a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition; or
  • the unlicensed sale of a firearm.

The defenses in these cases often involve a showing that you were not in actual or constructive possession of the weapon. Other defense revolve around a showing of self-defense, defense of others, or defense of property. In some cases, a motion to suppress evidence will be filed if the evidence was illegally obtained.


Attorney for Firearm Crimes in Ventura, CA

If you were arrested for any state or federal firearm crime in Ventura County or the surrounding areas in Southern California, you could be facing serious penalties.

At Jay Leiderman Law, we have decades of experience fighting serious firearm charges in state and federal court. We represent clients across Ventura County, including in Ventura, Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Ojai, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Santa Paula, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss the charges pending against you, the possible punishments, and ways to fight for an outright dismissal of the charges.

Call (805) 654-0200 now for a free consultation.


Overview of Firearm Law in California


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Federal Firearm Prohibitions – 18 USC §922(g)

Federal law provides that certain people are prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm as provided in 18 USC §922(g) including anyone who:

  1. Has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
  2. Is a fugitive from justice;
  3. Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance, as defined;
  4. Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution;
  5. Being an alien is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or except as specified, has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa, as defined;
  6. Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
  7. Having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his citizenship; or
  8. Is subject to a specified court order.

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California Firearm Prohibitions – Penal Code §§ 29800, 23515 and 29805

The law in California prohibits certain individuals from owning or possessing a firearm for life under Penal Code §§ 29800, 23515 and 29805, including:

  1. Anyone convicted of a felony;
  2. Anyone addicted to a narcotic drug;
  3. Any juvenile convicted of a violent crime with a gun and tried in adult court;
  4. Any person convicted of a federal crime that would be a felony in California and sentenced to more than 30 days in prison, or a fine of more than $1,000;
  5. Anyone convicted of certain violent misdemeanors, such as:
    • assault with a firearm;
    • inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or significant other; or
    • brandishing a firearm in the presence of a police officer.

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Purchasing by a Prohibited Person – § 29825(a)

Under California law, as prohibited by Pen. Code, § 29825(a), if a person purchases or receives, or attempts to purchase or receive, a firearm knowing that the person is prohibited from doing so, then the crime is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or in the state prison, by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or by both.


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Orders Prohibiting Possession of a Firearm

Under California law, when a court issues a temporary or permanent restraining order as specified in Penal Code Section 29825 against an individual, that person will be prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm.

Many types of permanent or temporary restraining orders prohibit an individual from possessing or purchasing a firearm including:

  • temporary restraining order or injunction issued due to civil harassment under Code Civ. Proc., § 527.6);
  • temporary restraining order or injunction sought by an employer for an employee who has suffered an unlawful violence or credible threat of violence under Code Civ. Proc., § 527.8;
  • a temporary restraining order or injunction sought by a school for students who have suffered off-campus credible threats of violence under Code Civ. Proc., § 527.85;
  • a protective order issued for domestic violence under Fam. Code, §§ 6320, 6321, and 6322;
  • a court order against victim and/or witness intimidation and orders protecting against stalking under Pen. Code, §§ 136.2, and 646.91);
  • protective order in response to elder or dependent adult abuse (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 15657.03); or
  • juvenile protective orders under Welf. & Inst. Code, § 213.5, 304, 362.4 and 726.5.

If such an order was issued, the person is prohibited from owning, possessing, purchasing, receiving, or attempting to purchase or receive a firearm while the protective order is in effect. The order must notify the person that they are required to relinquish any firearms as specified, and file proof of surrender or sale within a specified time of receipt of the order as required by Pen. Code, § 29825 subd. (d).


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California’s Lifetime Ban on Firearm Possession

California law provides that a violation of a lifetime ban on possession of a firearm is a felony as provided in Penal Code §§ 29800, 23515 and 29805.


California’s Five Year Ban on Firearm Possession

Any person taken into custody, assessed, and admitted to a designated facility due to that person being found to be a danger to themselves or others as a result of a mental disorder, is prohibited from possessing a firearm during treatment and for five years from the date of their discharge. A violation of this provisions can be charges as an alternate felony/misdemeanor under Welfare and Institutions Code §§ 8100 and 8103(f).


California’s Ten Year Ban on Firearm Possession

Anyone convicted of certain designated misdemeanors involving violence or threats of violence are subject to a ten-year ban on possession of a firearm. Those provisions are charged as an alternate felony/misdemeanor under Penal Code § 29805.


Prohibitions on Firearm Possession with a Restraining or Protective Order

Any person who is bound by a temporary restraining order or injunction or a protective order issued under the Family Code or the Welfare and Institutions Code, may be prohibited from firearms ownership for the duration of that court order. A violation of this provision is a wobbler or a misdemeanor, as specified, according to Penal Code § 29825.


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Rules for Firearm Dealers Regarding Background Checks

Firearms dealers are required to obtain certain identifying information from firearms purchasers and forward that information, via electronic transfer to Department of Justice (DOJ) to perform a background check on the purchaser to determine whether he or she is prohibited from possessing a firearm as required in Penal Code § 28160-28220.

Upon receipt of the purchaser’s information, DOJ shall examine its records, as well as those records that it is authorized to request from the State Department of Mental Health pursuant to Section 8104 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, in order to determine if the purchaser is prohibited from purchasing a firearm as required by Penal Code § 28220.

Firearms are required to be centrally registered at time of transfer or sale by way of transfer forms centrally compiled by the DOJ. DOJ is required to keep a registry from data sent to DOJ indicating who owns what firearm by make, model, and serial number and the date thereof as required by Penal Code § 11106(a) and (c).

The Attorney General in California is required to establish and maintain an online database to be known as Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS). The purpose of the file is to cross-reference persons who have ownership or possession of a firearm on or after January 1, 1991, as indicated by a record in the Consolidated Firearms Information System (CFIS), and who, subsequent to the date of that ownership or possession of a firearm, fall within a class of persons who are prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm.

The information contained in APPS shall only be available to specified entities through the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, for the purpose of determining if persons are armed and prohibited from possessing firearms as explained in Penal Code §30000.


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Additional Resources

Firearms Prohibiting Categories, California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms – A list of types of people prohibited from possessing firearms under state and federal law. Look here to learn more about the many things that can disqualify you from gun ownership. Prohibited categories include drug users, felons, people on probation, and more.

Legislative Resources, Gun Owners of California – Here you can find information about gun ownership laws in California. You can view proposed bills being considered by the California legislature that impact firearm possession.


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