In California, a person can be permanently or temporarily be prohibited from possession and ownership of weapons and ammunition. Certain convictions will result in a permanent prohibition. (Pen. Code, § 29800 – persons convicted of any felony in any jurisdiction prohibited possession.)

Temporary prohibitions can be imposed pursuant to a restraining order; a condition of probation; a condition of parole; or as the result of a finding of mental illness. There are also restrictions which result from a conviction of certain federal offenses, including a ten year prohibition for domestic violence offenses. The term “possession” is broadly interpreted, so that a person under a restriction should not be in any place, home, or vehicle in which a firearm is present. There are two kinds of possession: “actual possession” and “constructive possession.” “Actual possession” means you knowingly have direct physical control of an object. (People v. Scott (2009) 45 Cal.4th 743, 748.)

Thus, you are in “actual possession” of a weapon or ammunition if the weapon is in your hands, clothes, purse, bag, or other container. Having the weapon in your actual possession for even a limited time and purpose will constitute “actual possession.” “Constructive possession” means you knowingly have control of, or have the right to control the object, either directly or through another person. More than one person can possess the same object at the same time. Whether you can direct the object’s movement and whether it would be reasonable to think you have such control are factors in determining if you are in “constructive possession.” But you must know that you have control over the object to be legally considered to constructively possess it. For example, you would be in possession of weapons stored in a storage unit leased under your name, even though your father was also on the agreement. (People v. Aleman (2016) 247 Cal.App.4th 660.)

There will be problems if you live with someone who owns firearms, like a family member or roommate, or if you transfer your firearm to someone who resides with you. Although the other person can legally keep their firearms in the home while you are on probation, it will be a problem with the police; because it is very easy to argue that you had access to the firearm. As in the case where you know the combination to the safe; or have a key. Because of this problem, you should remove any firearms in your residence while you are prohibited. If the other person will not cooperate and remove the firearms, you should stay at another location until the prohibition is ended.

There is a provision which allows another person in the household to legally possess a firearm while you are under prohibition, but that law requires that the firearm be in a locked container, disabled by a safety device, or kept within a locked gun safe. (Pen. Code, § 25135) The State has enacted a provision which requires a person prohibited from owning or possessing firearms to relinquish the prohibited items to a law enforcement agency, for sale to a licensed firearm dealer or to storage by a firearms dealer. (Pen. Code, § 29810.). The courts, probation office, or your attorney will direct you through this relinquishment procedure.