Losing Your Gun Rights Related to a Domestic Violence Charge

Posted by Ronald D. HeddingDec 20, 2018

California Domestic violence charges are more and more politically charged regarding certain rights that we all have.  We certainly have the right to bear arms, but if you are convicted of a domestic violence-related charge, you will lose your right to bear arms for at least ten years.

Losing Your Gun Rights Related to a Domestic Violence Charge

This seems unfair to many people, but it is the legislature's way of trying to protect victims of domestic violence. They feel as though anybody who takes it to the level of injuring their spouse, loved one, or otherwise should not have the ability to bear arms. Therefore, they will put a ten-year weapon ban on anyone convicted of a domestic violence-related charge.

This is interesting because many times in domestic violence cases if the person has no criminal record. It's not a horrible situation where there's a bad injury; we can get other charges besides California Penal Code Section 273.5, which is the domestic battery charge, or even Penal Code Section 243(e), which is the domestic violence charge related to a boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other where the people are not married.

Some of the other charges that we can get are just a simple battery – Penal Code Section 242; disturbing the peace – Penal Code Section 415; trespassing – Penal Code Section 602(j) a host of other lesser included misdemeanor charges.  However, you still lose your ability to bear arms if you get convicted of one of these charges. Our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys will review further below.

Avoiding a Criminal Conviction is the Key

The only way you're going to get out of that weapon ban is if you don't get convicted of anything.  So, that means your attorney either needs to convince the prosecutors to dismiss the case altogether, or you have to go to a jury trial and be found not guilty.

I recently had a case where a law enforcement officer got convicted of battery, and we were attempting to get his ability to own, use and possess a weapon for work so he wouldn't lose his employment.  They've carved out a slight exception related to law enforcement officers if they can show certain things where they can use their weapon even though they have a domestic violence-related offense.

However, the section that they've carved out is minimal.  For example, if somebody gets a simple battery against a third party having nothing to do with a spouse, that law enforcement officer will lose their ability to own, use or possess a weapon, and therefore, they'll probably lose their job, as well.

The reason it appears they've carved out this domestic violence exception for purposes of law enforcement officers who are convicted of spousal abuse charges seems to be because they want to allow still those officers to work under certain circumstances if they can prove certain things; they have a good track record, and they don't want to pit family members against each other, or the person is forced to go to trial because their job is on the line and where the victim's spouse is then going to end up losing income as well because their spouse loses their job and can no longer work in their chosen field.

Contact our Criminal Law Firm for Help

So, this whole issue of domestic violence and weapons is very politically charged.  The prosecutors and judges will not move on to these issues.  They enforce very vigorously what the legislature has come up with related to bans on weapons and domestic violence charges.

So, suppose you've got one of these scenarios. In that case, you want to sit down with your criminal defense attorney and give them all the details and facts and make some informed decisions about what you're going to do with your domestic violence case moving forward — bearing in mind that you're going to likely lose your ability to own, use or possess a weapon for the next ten years if you end up with a conviction.