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New California Firearms Laws Taking Effect in 2019

 Posted on January 04,2019 in Firearm Possession

Santa Cruz gun possession charges lawyerCalifornia’s laws on gun ownership and possession are already among the most restrictive in the nation, yet the state legislature continues to pass new laws in hopes of reducing gun-related deaths. California gun owners should be aware of five new restrictions that will take effect in the coming months.

1. Handgun Concealed Carry Will Require More Training

Current state law leaves it up to individual county sheriffs to determine the requirements for obtaining a handgun concealed carry permit (CCP). 

Effective January 1, 2019, new CCP applicants must complete a minimum eight-hour classroom training in firearm laws and safety. They must also pass a shooting proficiency test with each firearm that the applicant wishes to be licensed to carry. CCP renewals will require a minimum four-hour refresher training, plus a shooting proficiency test with each firearm (Assembly Bill 2103).

2. Minimum Age to Purchase Long Guns Raised to 21

Current California law requires a person to be 21 years old to purchase a handgun and 18 years old to buy a long gun, such as a shotgun or rifle. All firearm purchasers must wait 10 days from the date of purchase to take possession of a firearm from a retailer.

Effective February 1, 2019, long gun purchasers will have to be at least 21 years old. There are just a few exceptions: state-licensed hunters, members of the military, and law enforcement officers will still be allowed to purchase and possess long guns at age 18 (Senate Bill 1100).

3. Background Check for Ammunition Sales

Currently, California law places no restrictions on the sale or transfer of ammunition. The existing California Penal Code (section 30305) does prohibit possession of ammunition by individuals who are prohibited from possessing a firearm, but enforcement of that law was left to the police.

Effective July 1, 2019, an Ammunition Eligibility check will be required before you can purchase even one box of ammunition in California. This new regulation will apply regardless of whether those shells are for a hunting rifle, a sporting shotgun, a target-shooting pistol, or any other type of firearm. 

The state of California will now have the ability to track who is buying ammunition and in what quantities. While there is no limit on quantity per purchase, buyers will have to pay an additional fee to cover the retailer’s time to run the eligibility check through the California Department of Justice. It is estimated that eligibility checks will take less than five minutes to process, and no additional waiting period will be required.

4. Lifetime Firearms Ban for Domestic Violence Conviction

Current California law bans firearm possession by convicted felons. Under a newly signed law, a person convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense described as “willful infliction of corporal injury” on or after January 1, 2019, will be banned for life from possessing a firearm (Assembly Bill 3129).

5. Lifetime Ban on Firearms Ownership for Mentally Ill

Under current California law, if a person is involuntarily admitted to a health facility for posing a danger to themselves or others due to a mental health disorder, that person is prohibited from possessing a firearm for five years after their release. As of January 1, 2020, such person will be subject to a lifetime firearm ban if they are involuntarily admitted two or more times within a 12-month period (Assembly Bill 1968). 

Contact a Santa Cruz, CA Weapons Charges Defense Lawyer 

If you have been charged with a gun crime in Santa Cruz County, call an experienced Santa Cruz illegal firearm possession attorney. Attorney John W. Thornton has over 30 years’ experience in criminal defense law. He is deeply committed to defending his clients’ legal rights and focuses his practice exclusively in the area of criminal defense. Call 831-426-5800 to schedule a free consultation. 


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