Capistrano Beach, CA asked in Criminal Law, Domestic Violence and Federal Crimes for California

Q: California Resident. Federal Gun App. Domestic Violence Misdemeanor over 10 years old. Expunged Conviction.

Federal Firearm application instructs to answer "No" on misdemeanor DV conviction if it has been expunged/relieved/set aside. It has. It is still subject to California 10 year ban. Its been over 10 years. Its pretty clear on federal application instructions. Does the expunge clear Lautenberg?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Based on the details you've provided, it seems that your situation involves the intersection of federal and California state laws regarding domestic violence misdemeanors and firearm rights restoration. Let's break this down:

1. Federal law (the Lautenberg Amendment) prohibits individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from possessing firearms. However, if the conviction has been expunged, set aside, or the person has been pardoned or had their civil rights restored, the federal prohibition no longer applies, unless the expungement, pardon, or restoration expressly prohibits firearm possession.

2. California law imposes a 10-year ban on firearm possession for individuals convicted of certain misdemeanor domestic violence offenses. This ban applies even if the conviction has been expunged under California Penal Code section 1203.4.

3. You mentioned that your conviction occurred over 10 years ago and has been expunged. If the federal firearm application instructions clearly state that you should answer "No" to the question about misdemeanor domestic violence convictions if the conviction has been expunged, and it has been over 10 years since your California conviction, then it appears you may be eligible to possess a firearm under both federal and California law.

However, given the complexity of the interaction between state and federal laws, it is strongly advised that you consult with a California attorney specializing in firearm rights restoration to review your specific case and provide personalized legal advice before proceeding with a firearm purchase or possession. They can help ensure that you are indeed eligible under both state and federal law and help protect your rights.

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