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A High-Level Overview of California Gun Laws in 2018

Photo: gun & ammunitionGun rights and gun control are topics that are currently trending in the news. The gun debate is going strong in our country, and this has lead to some misconceptions about gun control laws on both sides of the issue. In California, the confusion has been further compounded by Proposition 63 gun laws which went into effect on January 1, 2018.

An understanding of California gun laws is important, both for your personal safety and to avoid finding yourself in violation of such laws. To help you better understand your gun rights, here’s a brief overview of gun regulations in California.

The Basics

In California, it is legal to purchase and own a rifle or shotgun at the age of 18. Residents must be at least 21 years of age to own a handgun. There are specific criminal offenses and other conditions that may prohibit a person from legally owning a gun.

Relinquishment of Firearms by Criminals

One of the most notable changes in California gun laws is a true, actionable process for the relinquishment of firearms by certain criminals. In the past, the process for recovering weapons from criminals convicted of firearm-prohibited crimes involved a door to door search by local law enforcement.

Now, individuals convicted of a misdemeanor or felony crimes involving violence, domestic abuse or illegal weapons must provide proof that the firearms were sold or transferred within a set time from conviction. Failure to do so could result in further enforcement actions.

Assault Rifle Regulations

In 2016, California lawmakers passed a bill to ban the sale of bullet button assault weapons, which are defined as any semi-automatic, centerfire rifle or pistol without a fixed magazine that has features such as a protruding pistol grip or telescoping stock.

While it is no longer legal to purchase these types of firearms in California, gun owners that are already in possession of such weapons can keep them, if they’re registered. Gun owners have until June 30, 2018, to register their bullet button weapons with the California Department of Justice.

Background Checks

Federal law requires that federally licensed arms dealers conduct a background check prior to the sale of a firearm. Firearm dealers must initiate a background check with the California Department of Justice. During this background check, which includes a 10-day waiting period, the DOJ will look at certain databases including the NICS database, and state records including records from the State Department of State Hospitals.

California prohibits the purchase or possession of firearms by any person to which any of the following apply:

  • Convicted of a felony  
  • Convicted of misdemeanor or felony crimes involving violence, hate, or unlawful use of firearms
  • Have an outstanding arrest warrant for a firearm prohibiting offense
  • Firearms have been prohibited as a condition of probation
  • Is subject to a protective order, restraining order, temporary restraining order or injunction
  • History of severe mental illness, chronic alcoholism or drug addiction

Legal Assistance

California has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. If you have questions about, or are facing legal issues, regarding gun sales or gun ownership, we’re here to help. Contact Elden Law Group for a free consultation.

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