Owning a Gun After a Felony Conviction


ome people don’t realize that they lose the right to own a gun after they’ve been convicted of a felony. It doesn’t matter what type of felony you were convicted of, once that is on your record you’re not allowed to own a gun, not ever again. This doesn’t just apply to California. It’s a federal law so no matter where you decide to move to if you’re still in the United States, a gun isn’t a legal option for you.

The issue of gun ownership following a felony conviction is addressed in 18 U.S.C. 922(g). The law specifically states that anyone who has been, “convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.”

According to the law, not only aren’t you allowed to own a gun, but you can also be in serious trouble if the police catch you with ammunition. The law is written in such a way that the fact you have ammunition on you indicates that you also have access to a gun, even if the police are unable to find one when they search your property.

It’s also worth noting that the weapon doesn’t have to be a deadly weapon. The law is written in such a way that simply having a pellet gun on you can result in a felony firearm possession. When a law states no guns, they mean no guns of any type.

If you’re found guilty of felony firearm possession after you’ve been convicted of a felony, you can be sentenced to another ten-year prison sentence.

If you take the time to read through 18 U.S.C. 922(g), you’ll notice that there are some solid defenses you can use while fighting a felony firearms charge. To be charged with felony firearm possession, the prosecution must prove that you knew you weren’t allowed to own that particular firearm/ammunition.

It’s worth noting that there are some incidents when a felon is allowed to own a firearm. The catch is that you must:

  • Expunged the felony from your record
  • Been issued a formal pardon
  • Had the felony conviction overturned.

If you have been convicted of any crime, it’s in your best interest to meet with your lawyer and have them explain how the conviction impacts your legal right to own a firearm.