Legal Information: California

State Gun Laws

Updated: 
June 18, 2018

If a law enforcement officer is convicted of a domestic violence crime, can s/he have or buy a gun?

Maybe. The law says that in general, anyone who has been convicted of a felony or certain domestic violence crimes cannot have or buy a gun for any purpose, including his/her official duties.1

However, there is an exception for law enforcement officials whose jobs depend on their ability to use a gun. If the abuser is a law enforcement officer who has been convicted of stalking or certain domestic violence crimes (including violation of a protective order), s/he has a one-time chance to ask the court for permission to have a gun for work purposes. If the judge believes that s/he will use the gun safely and legally, the judge can allow him/her to have a gun.2 When deciding whether or not the abuser can keep his/her gun, the judge will consider the abuser’s continued employment (whether s/he is going to be able to keep his/her job without his/her gun) as well as any relevant evidence. If the judge allows him/her to have a gun, the judge has to require that the abuser agree to participate in counseling as deemed appropriate by the court.3

1 Cal.Penal Code § 12021(a)(1) & (c)(2)
2 Cal.Penal Code § 12021(c)(2)(A)
3 Cal.Penal Code § 12021(c)(2)(C)(ii)