Updated February 26, 2020
Penal Code 23515 PC is the California statute that imposes a lifetime ban on possessing, owning or purchasing firearms for people convicted of 3 offenses: (1) Assault with a firearm (PC 245(a)(2)), (2) firing into an inhabited dwelling (PC 246), and (3) brandishing (PC 417) at a peace officer. Otherwise, brandishing carries a 10-year ban.
Penal Code 23515 states:
As used in the provisions listed in Section 16580, an offense that involves the violent use of a firearm includes any of the following:
(a) A violation of paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 245 or a violation of subdivision (d) of Section 245.
(b) A violation of Section 246.
(c) A violation of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 417.
(d) A violation of subdivision (c) of Section 417.
People convicted of any crime enumerated in PC 23515 face firearm bans. The length of the ban depends on the specific offense:
Offenses involving the violent use of a firearm under PC 23515
Length of firearm ban
|Assault with a firearm – PC 245(a)(2)||For life. It makes no difference if the charge is prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor.|
|Assault with a machinegun, an assault weapon, or a .50 BMG rifle – PC 245(a)(3)||For life.|
|Assault on a peace officer or firefighter with a firearm – PC 245(d)(1)*||For life.|
|Assault on a peace officer or firefighter with a semi-automatic firearm – PC 245(d)(2)*||For life.|
|Assault on a peace officer or firefighter with a machinegun, assault weapon, or a .50 BMG rifle – PC 245(d)(3)*||For life.|
|Maliciously and willfully discharging a firearm at an inhabited dwelling house, occupied building, occupied motor vehicle, occupied aircraft, inhabited housecar – PC 246^||For life. It makes no difference if the charge is prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor.|
|Drawing or exhibiting any firearm in a rude, angry, or threatening manner in the presence of another person; or|
Unlawfully using a firearm in any fight or quarrel – PC 417(a)(2)
|For ten years. But two or more convictions carry a lifetime ban.|
|Drawing or exhibiting any firearm in a rude, angry, or threatening manner in the presence of a peace officer – PC 417(c)*||For life. It makes no difference if the charge is prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor.|
|*The defendant knows – or reasonably should know – that the victim is a peace officer or firefighter engaged in the performance of his or her duties. And the peace officer or firefighter is engaged in the performance of his or her duties.|
|^Inhabited means currently being used for dwelling purposes, whether occupied or not.|
Therefore, all but one crime listed in PC 23515 carry a lifetime ban from possessing, owning, or purchasing firearms. The only listed offense that carries a ten-year ban is PC 417(a)(2): Brandishing a firearm in a threatening manner to a non-peace officer, or using a firearm during a fight.
Violating a lifetime firearm ban is a felony in California under PC 29800. The penalty is:
- 16 months, two years, or three years in California State Prison, and/or
- Up to $10,000 in fines
Violating a ten-year firearm ban is a public offense (misdemeanor) in California under PC 29805. The penalty carries up to one year in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.