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California Police Crack Down on Prohibited Persons Possessing Firearms and Ammunition


Michel & Associates, P.C. newsalerts@michellawyers.com

California Police Crack Down on Prohibited Persons Possessing Firearms and Ammunition

NRA and CRPA are contacted hundreds of times each year by individuals who were unaware that they were subject to a firearm possession restriction and are seeking to help restore their right to possess a firearm. Typically, they discover the restriction only when they attempt to purchase a firearm and are denied after a background check is performed. Often these individuals have unwittingly possessed firearms safely for years for hunting and/or family-protection. 

On June 16th, 2011, California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced the results of a statewide sweep of persons prohibited from owning and possessing firearms and ammunition who were found in possession of those items. (press release at: http://oag.ca.gov/news/press_release?id=2521 “fact sheet” at http://ag.ca.gov/cms_attachments/press/pdfs/n2521_apps_fact_sheet.pdf). Restrictions on individuals from possessing firearms under California and federal law include restrictions on the possession of ammunition.

The Attorney General claims in her press release that, “[s]eizing guns from felons, gang members and other prohibited persons is the kind of smart, proactive law enforcement that makes a difference in the everyday lives of Californians…We are all safer thanks to the sworn officers who carried out this sweep and I am committed to strengthening this program.”

This media event highlights the ongoing efforts by the California Department of Justice to track down and prosecute individuals illegally in possession of firearms or ammunition using its Armed and Prohibited Person System (APPS). We expect this to be the beginning of a more focused effort by California law enforcement agencies to track down and prosecute individuals illegally in possession of firearms or ammunition.  This will be particularly likely if the additional funding being sought is made available.

While APPS has been used to accomplish good things, unfortunately harmless individuals are often swept up in the effort. Many of these individuals are not even aware that they are restricted from possessing firearms and that they may have been illegally possessing firearms, albeit safely and without incident, for years.

As is most often the case, ignorance of the law is no excuse. A person can be charged with a felony if they fall within a prohibited class and are found in possession of firearms, ammunition, or certain firearm parts. (Cal. Penal Code §§ 12021, 12021.1, and 12316). Lawyers for NRA and CRPAF have now published several articles that may assist those individuals in determining their eligibility status, in avoiding prosecution and other legal difficulties, and possible in having their rights restored. These materials are posted here.

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