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Who is disallowed from owning a firearm?

The federal laws surrounding gun possession, sales and transfers can be long and confusing. Yet, unfamiliarity with these laws can lead to a legal nightmare. It is therefore in an individual's best interests to learn of these laws, particularly if facing criminal charges. Only by having this knowledge can a criminal defendant make the legal choices that are right for him or her.

This week on the blog we briefly want to discuss firearm possession prohibition. In other words, we want to touch on who is disallowed from owning a gun. Under federal law, there are nine types of people who cannot own a firearm. The list includes those who have been convicted of a crime and punished by a prison sentence of at least one year, fugitives from the law, drug addicts, those who suffer a mental defect and have been adjudicated as such, unlawful aliens, those who have been dishonorably discharged from the military, those who have renounced their American citizenship, those subjected to a restraining order and individuals who have been convicted of domestic violence.

This is quite a list, but one of which it is critical to be aware. The penalties for violating this law are stiff, including up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Therefore, Californians who find themselves facing federal gun crime allegations should be prepared for an intense legal battle.

Though those accused of federal firearms offenses can try to educate themselves about the law, the truth of the matter is that it is often far more complex than it seems at first blush. For this reason, California attorneys stand willing and able to help these individuals push back against aggressive federal prosecutors. By having an ally on his or her side, an accused individual can walk into the courtroom confidently, knowing that he or she has taken the right first step to protecting his or her legal rights.

Source: Uscourts.gov, "Firearm Possession Prohibition," accessed on May 8, 2015

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