California has some of the nation’s strongest state laws to disarm hate.
Access to Guns for People Convicted of Hate Crimes in California
|Violence with Severe Bodily Injury||Violence with Bodily Injury||Other Crimes Involving Intentional Use of Force||Threats with Deadly Weapons|
Other Credible Threats to Physical Safety
|Federal Law||Very limited or no access||Some access||Some access||Some access|
|State Law||Very limited or no access||Very limited or no access||Very limited or no access||Very limited or no access|
Very limited or no access
California’s hate crime statute makes it a misdemeanor to willfully injure, threaten, or intimidate a person through force, threat of force, or destruction of property, with hate motivation, in order to interfere with the exercise of their legal and constitutional rights.1 In 2017, California also passed the Disarm Hate Act to prohibit people from accessing firearms for 10 years after they are convicted of that hate crime; the Act passed the Legislature unanimously.2 California also makes hate motivation a factor in criminal sentencing for felonies,3 though felonies are already generally firearm-prohibiting under California and federal law.4
More broadly, California also prohibits people from accessing firearms for 10 years after they have been convicted of specified misdemeanors involving violence or the misuse of deadly weapons, including assault, battery, stalking, criminal threats, and weapon brandishing offenses.5
As a result, people are generally prohibited from accessing firearms under California law for at least 10 years if they have been convicted of violating the state’s hate crime statute,6 or hate-motivated felonies and misdemeanors involving violence,7 threats with deadly weapons,8 and other credible threats to victims’ safety.9
However, people convicted of hate-motivated crimes in California are typically only prohibited from accessing firearms under federal law if their offense is a felony, since even violent misdemeanors are typically not punishable in California by a term long enough to trigger federal law’s firearm restrictions.10
Our experts can speak to the full spectrum of gun violence prevention issues. Have a question? Email us at email@example.com.Contact
- Cal. Penal Code § 422.6. California law also makes it a felony to commit a hate crime by vandalizing a house of worship or cemetery for the purpose of intimidating and deterring people from freely exercising their religious beliefs. Cal. Penal Code § 594.3.
- See 2017 CA AB 785, amending Cal. Penal Code § 29805.
- Cal. Penal Code §§ 422.75, 422.76.
- Cal. Penal Code § 29800.; 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g)(1); 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(B).
- Cal. Penal Code § 29805. Many offenses are classified as “wobblers” under California law that may be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors, at prosecutors’ discretion.
- See Cal. Penal Code § 422.6.
- See, e.g., misdemeanor “Battery,” Cal. Penal Code §§ 242-243, and wobbler “Assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury,” Cal. Penal Code § 245(a)(4).
- See, e.g., wobbler “Assault with deadly weapon,” Cal. Penal Code § 245, and misdemeanor “Brandishing a weapon,” Cal. Penal Code § 417.
- See, e.g., misdemeanor “Criminal Threats,” Cal. Penal Code § 422, and “Stalking,” Cal. Penal Code § 646.9.
- Federal law generally prohibits people from accessing guns if they have been convicted of a felony punishable by over one year in prison, or a state law misdemeanor punishable by more than two years. 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g)(1); 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(B).