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Gun Charges and Your Second Amendment Rights in California



Over The last twenty plus years I have represented people charged with anything from ammunition to explosives, from gun modification to manufacturing, and from assault to multiple homicides.  I’ve found a few similarities in client needs in my career.  Not only do clients want the best result that can be achieved, but they also want to do anything possible to keep their gun rights.  And, if it’s absolutely impossible to keep client gun rights in the short term, then we have to shift to the long term and make sure there is a way to get them back.  Period.

I don’t want to say that gun people are a strange breed because that would be the proverbial pot calling the kettle black.  I will say that I have a unique skill set that comes from decades of firearms experience and expertise.  As a long time hunter and competitive pistol shooter, I understand the bond that is created between an owner and his or her hardware.  I know that guns are not just a tool for violence.  Rather, they can be a fun and safe recreational outlet for millions of people and they also offer the added benefits afforded to us all under the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

Professionally, most of my inquiries come from either people facing new weapons charges or people who have lost their gun rights due to a conviction, restraining order or some other legal prohibition with which they need assistance. But it’s not that simple.  Gun ownership and gun rights starts way before that.

Taking Possession

Always obtain your firearms and ammunition in a lawful manner.  If you know a gun is illegal in California, don’t go to Arizona to buy one and bring it back.  Find a suitable alternative that complies with state law.  If you are a prohibited person, don’t rent a gun.  Don’t attempt to buy a hunting license or ammunition.  Don’t buy ammo or guns out of state and try to bring them back to California.  Talk to a lawyer in California who deals with California criminal law every day.  See if there is any way to get your rights back BEFORE you dig yourself into a bigger and deeper hole.

Keeping Possession

Form many years I used say the same thing about traffic tickets:  Don’t give the pricks a reason to pull you over.  Walk around your car once a week.  Make sure there are not any moving violations that would give a cop a reason to pull you over:  Nothing hanging from your review mirror, no dark tinted windows, no cracked front windshield, no bald tires, or super wide tires, no modified exhaust, no lights out, front plate on, registration current, license plate light and many more.  Any cop with more than six months on the job will tell you that the little things get you the big things.

Well, the same is true for gun crimes.  Don’t give the pricks a reason to contact you.  Don’t let them in your house, don’t let them in your car, don’t do anything to draw attention to yourself.  If your wife asks you to take out the trash, put your beer down and take out the trash.  Then, before you sit back down on the Bark-o-lounger, go help dry the dishes.  Once of the most common situation where I see people lose their guns is during a domestic dispute.  In any domestic dispute, the cops come out.  They want to take someone to jail.  They will confiscate any firearms.  They may serve someone with an Emergency Protective Order. And so it begins…The long and winding road to getting your guns back.  Once the cops take them, it becomes an uphill battle to get them back, if you can. If anything is illegal or unregistered, it’s an even bigger battle. If there is a criminal conviction or a Criminal Protective Order or a Civil Restraining Order, you have even bigger problems.

Remember, that judges are people too. They don’t like hearing about domestic violence by people who own guns.  They don’t want to hear about gun “collections” or “stockpiles” of ammunition.  Many judges have never touched a gun.  Most judges don’t understand that ammunition is often purchased by the thousand, simply because it’s a better deal.  Most judges (and prosecutors) don’t understand that an avid shooter can run through 500 rounds on a weekend. That’s why you need an advocate who gets it.

Getting Your Rights and Your Guns Back

If you’ve been convicted of a crime or have otherwise been dispossessed of your firearms, there MAY be a way to get your guns back.  I say “may”, because it’s the truth.  Anyone who promises you they can get you your rights back is lying to you.  Anyone who tells you not to bother without hearing what you have to say is not the right guy either.

If you have a criminal conviction, can it be reduced or expunged?  Is there any way to vacate your plea? Did you get probation or not?  Did you successfully complete probation?  Have you talked to a lawyer about a Certificate of Rehabilitation?  Have you talked to the DOJ about a Firearm Eligibility Check?

Yes, you may be able to get your guns back from the police once they take them.  Not every time and not in every case but I have been successful in getting hundreds of guns and magazines and thousands of rounds of ammunition back from law enforcement for my clients.  It may not be easy and may not be cheap, but if you want it bad enough it can sometimes be done.

GVRO’s, TRO’s, Mental Health and more

If you are the subject of any kind of restraining order, you will lose your gun rights.  This includes a Gun Violence Restraining Order, a Temporary Restraining Order a Domestic Violence Restraining Order and an Emergency Protective Order or a Criminal Protective Order.  But, once the order ends, so does your prohibition.  Once it ends and the termination of the Order is entered into the system, then you are well on your way back to ownership. I will say that issues of mental health are a bit more complicated and subject to another blog at a later time.


Don’t hire just any lawyer.  If a lawyer tells you not to worry about your guns, he’s not the right lawyer for you.  If a lawyer tells you that you will address your gun rights down the road, he’s not the right lawyer for you.  Dealing with 2A rights is something that needs to be discussed up front and addressed from the outset.  It may be possible to resolve a case without losing gun rights.  It may be possible to limit the length of loss time.  It may be possible to get guns back from the police even after a conviction.  Hiring the right lawyer can mean even more than just the difference between winning and losing.  Making my clients happy is the way I’ve stayed in business for over 25 years.

If you or someone close if facing weapons charges or has been convicted of a weapons crime or lost gun rights, call the right lawyer today.

I am a criminal defense lawyer in California.  This blog was intended for information only.  For legal advice specific to your case, call me:

Attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or email me: