New Law: Domestic Violence and Gun Ownership In California

New Law: Domestic Violence and Gun Ownership In California


If you are convicted of domestic violence in California, you face harsh penalties that will impact you for the rest of your life. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could face up to four years in prison and fines of up to $6,000 if you are convicted of a domestic violence offense. Additionally, under a new California law that took effect on January 1, 2019, you could lose your right to own a gun for the rest of your life if you are convicted of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence

California’s Domestic Violence Advisory Council defines domestic violence as a spectrum and often a pattern of behaviors that includes physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse and/or economic control used by adults or adolescents against their current or former intimate partners in an attempt to exercise power and authority, which has a destructive, harmful effect on individuals, the family and the community.

Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence, is a major public health problem in California that affects all age and socio-economic groups. Data from the State’s Department of Justice shows that in 2010, local law enforcement received 166,361 domestic violence calls for assistance. The 2008 California Women’s Health Survey reports that about 6% of women (641,000) in California experienced at least one incident of psychological or physical DV during the last 12 months before responding to the survey.

Gun Ban For Domestic Violence Convictions (AB 3129)

Before January 1, 2019, persons convicted of felony domestic violence faced a lifetime ban on owning or possessing a firearm, while those convicted of certain misdemeanor domestic violence crimes (such as offenses involving no physical injury) faced a 10-year ban on owning a gun.

However, as of January 1, 2019, Assembly Bill 3129, which amended California Penal Code Section 29805 relating to firearms, took effect. This law – approved by then-governor Jerry Brown in 2018 – prohibits anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from owning or possessing a gun for life.

Penalty For Illegally Possessing a Firearm (PC 29800)

Under California Penal Code Section 29800, if you own, purchase, receive or possess a firearm while prohibited by law from doing so, you could be charged with a separate crime that carries severe penalties.
If you are convicted of illegally possessing a firearm, you face a sentence of 16 months, 2 or 3 years in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

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