Domestic violence – California gun rights

California law authorizes courts to prohibit defendants from purchasing or possessing firearms in cases where the defendant is charged with, but not yet convicted of, a domestic violence crime. 

Law enforcement removal of guns

Law enforcement officers who are at the scene of a domestic violence incident involving a threat to human life or a physical assault must take temporary custody of any firearm in plain sight or discovered pursuant to a consensual or other lawful search for the protection of the officers or other persons present. Confiscated firearms must be held for at least 48 hours. 

Return of confiscated guns

With limited exceptions, if a firearm is not kept for use as evidence in a domestic violence incident or is not retained because it was illegally possessed, it must be made available to its owner or lawful possessor 48 hours after the seizure.  But no later than 5 business days after the owner or person in lawful possession of the firearm demonstrates that they have undergone the proper background check.

Domestic Violence – Protective/restraining orders

A person subject to a temporary restraining order, DV protective order, or emergency protective order is prohibited from owning, possessing, purchasing, receiving, or attempting to purchase or receive a firearm or ammunition while the order is in effect.  Prior to a hearing on the issuance or denial of a protective order, the court must ensure that a search is conducted to determine if the subject of the proposed order has a registered firearm.  Each protective order must state that the person is prohibited from owning, possessing, purchasing, receiving, or attempting to purchase or receive, a firearm while the protective order is in effect.   

Relinquishment of Firearms – Protective Orders

Upon being served with a domestic violence protective order, the respondent must relinquish his or her firearm by surrendering it immediately upon request of any law enforcement officer, or within 24 hours if no request is made.  The law enforcement officer or gun dealer must issue a receipt, which the person must file with both the court and with the law enforcement agency that served the protective order, within 48 hours of being served with the order.  Failure to do so constitutes a violation of the protective order. During the period of the relinquishment order, a respondent is entitled to make one sale of all firearms that have been surrendered to a law enforcement agency.

Relinquishment of guns – Domestic Violence Convictions

Requires defendants convicted of domestic violence offenses, to provide proof that they sold or transferred their firearms within specified timeframes after conviction. It also requires assigned probation officers and courts to verify that the defendant complied with this requirement before final disposition of the defendant’s case and authorizes the court to issue search warrants to recover illegally retained firearms from defendants who fail to comply.

Search warrant for guns

California law authorizes the issuance of a search warrant when the property to be seized is a firearm that a person who is subject to a protective order has failed to relinquish as required by law. A search warrant may also be issued when the property to be seized is a firearm at the scene of, or at premises occupied or under the control of a person arrested in connection with, a domestic violence incident involving a threat to human life or a physical assault. 

Failure to Give up guns

A failure to give up your gun is a violation of a court order and could subject you to additional criminal charges, increased punishment, and jail time.