A new law in California helps gun owners preserve their rights and their gun ownership when facing a restraining order. On August 13, 2015, Governor Brown signed into law AB 950, a bill that allows gun owners to turn their weapons over to a licensed firearm dealer instead of relinquishing possession altogether.
The bill’s author, Assemblywoman Melissa A. Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, said in a news release, “Today, we witnessed a rare victory for gun owners across California … by allowing a trustworthy alternative for gun owners to maintain possession of their firearms, we are preventing any unjustified gun grab against those who may be unfairly targeted by bogus allegations.”
How AB 950 Protects Gun Rights
Under California law, one of your family members or a law enforcement officer can request a court to issue a gun violence restraining order barring you from owning or possessing a gun or ammunition for up to a year. All they need to do is show that you pose a significant danger to yourself or others and that a restraining order is necessary to prevent injuries.
Before the passing of AB 950, people subjected to a gun violence restraining order had to surrender their firearms and ammunition immediately upon request of any law enforcement officer, or within 24 hours to a local law enforcement agency. Alternatively, they had 24 hours to sell their guns and ammunition to a licensed firearms dealer.
Under AB 950, you can transfer your guns and ammunition to a licensed firearm dealer for the duration of your gun violence restraining order without having to give up ownership. If the firearms or ammunition have been surrendered to a law enforcement agency, the bill entitles you to have them transferred to a licensed firearms dealer.
Once the restraining order has lapsed, you can recover your guns and ammunition. The store or dealer is allowed to charge a “reasonable fee” for the storage of your guns and ammunition.
AB 950 follows the same logic as existing California law by providing that any person who is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm may transfer his or her firearms to a licensed firearms dealer for the duration of the prohibition.
How a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help Protect Your Rights
The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms. But the realities of modern-day America have prompted lawmakers to abridge the right to own firearms and ammunition under some circumstances in the interest of public health and safety. In California especially, there are significant restrictions to gun ownership and breaking these guns laws can have serious consequences.
If you’ve been charged with a firearms offense, or want to learn more about how to own guns legally in California, you can call San Diego criminal defense firm McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107 for a consultation. We’ll discuss how to fight your charge and protect your rights and freedoms.