With all of the rising gun violence, there has been a number of different propositions and gun laws that have been passed throughout the country, and in particular, Los Angeles, California. This Proposition 63 is really starting to crack down on people who have guns who are committing crimes. So, if you get convicted of a felony in Los Angeles, that's it. You lose your right to own, use or possess a gun, bullets, ammunition. A lot of people get caught at shooting ranges. I don't know why they do it. They give their fingerprints to get a gun or bullets, and then here comes law enforcement – the Department of Justice – months later to come and arrest them.
The bottom line is, what Proposition 63 is doing is, every time someone gets convicted of a felony, they're going to try to make them fill out a form in court indicating whether or not they own any guns or any guns are registered in their names. What most defense lawyers are doing is having their clients just plead the Fifth on that, because I've had some clients who just forget that they had a gun twenty years earlier. They filled that form out saying I don't have any guns and then those guys check – they run everywhere – to see whether or not you have a gun. If it comes back that you have a gun, now you've lied on the form. You just got put on probation. That could be a probation violation looking at jail or prison time. So, most criminal defense attorneys, including myself, just have their clients plead the Fifth unless there's some exception or reason that you want your client to just fill the form out and say they have a gun or they don't have a gun.
It's a big pain because regardless of what you say, they're now going to check to see if you have a gun. If they get a hit that you have a gun, now they're going to be looking at you saying, did you get rid of the gun? They're going to want some sort of proof that you got rid of the gun. So, they're really cracking down when it comes to guns in Los Angeles County based on all the gun violence that's going on across the country.
I had a client when it first came out and the exception was applicable. He filled the form out, basically saying that he didn't have any guns. He was telling the truth. He really didn't have any guns, but he had had guns ten or fifteen years earlier that he had given to his brother to get rid of and there was no record that the brother got rid of it, so the prosecutors were saying he lied and now they want to violate his probation. I'm like – well, you don't have any proof that he has guns. Just because he had some guns registered to him ten to fifteen years earlier doesn't mean that he actually still has the gun. Now you get into that big argument. So, that's the exact reason why criminal defense attorneys across LA and the Public Defender's Office are basically saying, no we're not even going to answer that question because if somehow there's a hit with a gun, they're now going to go after the client. They might as well just say nothing.
So, Proposition 63 is a powerful tool to try to really keep track of guns and who has them, who doesn't have them. The bottom line is this, once you commit a crime – a felony and even some misdemeanors – domestic violence cases, weapon charges – you're going to lose your right to bear arms. You can't have guns anymore and they're doing that because they don't feel comfortable – I'm talking about the legislature and powers to be in Los Angeles County – don't feel comfortable with people who lose their temper and are committing violent crimes, having weapons, because that leads to more violent crimes.
I really think – and I've been doing this a long time – that they're just looking for an excuse to take people's gun rights away. They don't want people having guns – judges, police, prosecutors. Especially police, because that gives people an advantage over the police when they've got a gun and they can match the police. That's why they put all these bans on assault rifles across the country because the police in a lot of instances – when it comes to an assault rifle – they're going to be out-gunned by somebody who has that.
So, if you've got a case where you got convicted and you have a question as to whether or not you can own, use or possess a weapon, you should speak to your attorney about it and look into it. The Department of Justice will have answers as well. They're kind of up on all the gun laws and the rules because you don't want to get caught having a gun or ammunition when you're not allowed to because it's just going to lead to a criminal conviction and potentially jail time. So, just don't even put yourself in that position. If you have questions on Proposition 63 in Los Angeles, you're going to need to speak to your attorney about it.