Thursday, December 15, 2016

New California Gun Laws for 2017

Between July's "Gunmageddon" and the passage of Prop. 63, California enacted a series of restrictive new gun laws this year.

Some new California gun laws to expect in 2017 include:
  • A ban on the sale / transfer of common, center-fire, semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines.  
  • A new definition of "detachable magazine", to specifically prohibit the "bullet button".  
  • A ban on the possession of any magazine that is capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
  • The nation's first background check to purchase ammunition. 
  • A ban on importation of ammo from out-of-state.
  • A new requirement that homemade lower receivers ("ghost guns") be serialized and registered with the state.
The definition of "assault rifle" under California law was expanded to include any center-fire, semiautomatic rifle with a magazine that is not "fixed". If the magazine can be removed without disassembling the action of the firearm (pulling the rear take-down pin), it is now considered "detachable".  This effectively bans the bullet button.

If you own a rifle with detachable magazine or a bullet button before January 1, 2017, you may keep it, but you can't sell it, trade it or give it away after that date. If you die, your kids can't inherit it. You are the last person who will ever own it. You must also register your "assault rifle" with the Department of Justice before December 31, 2017. 

Starting July 1, 2017, civilians will be completely prohibited from possessing magazines with the capacity to hold more than 10 rounds. There is no "grandfather clause" for magazines that were owned or possessed before the prohibition. If you own them now, you're expected to turn them in, take them out of state, sell them to a licensed firearms dealer, or destroy them.

As of January 1, 2018, Ammunition buyers will be required to purchase a 4-year permit for $50.00 and undergo a background check. All ammunition sales will be electronically reported to the Department of Justice, and residents will be prohibited from bringing ammunition into California from out-of-state.

If you finish your own 80% receiver in your garage, you must register your "ghost gun" with the Department of Justice and have the part serialized.  Starting January 1, 2017, unfinished receivers will be regulated just like real firearms.  

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about how these new regulations will work in practice. We also expect some tooth-and-nail litigation before some of those questions are resolved. Stay tuned to see how this all plays out over the next year.

If you or a loved one has questions about gun laws in California, call us for a free attorney consultation. (714) 449-3335. Ask for John.

Thanks for reading.

Orange County Gun Lawyer  

Friday, December 9, 2016

Defending Against False Accusations in a Restraining Order

If you've been served with a restraining order, there's a good chance that the petition is full of lies. They always are. There's also a good chance that you're irate. That's understandable. I would be, too.

Being angry won't fix your problem, though. We have work to do, and that work must be done calmly, coolly, objectively and efficiently.

Of course, no simple, "one-size-fits-all" strategy is appropriate or effective in every restraining order case. It's always a good starting point to consult with a qualified local attorney. Part of being "calm, cool, objective and efficient" is understanding the law, analyzing the facts, and explaining concisely how those facts fit within the law to make your case. That's your attorney's job.

The petition against you probably contains a lot of accusations. Some of those accusations, if proven, could form the basis for a restraining order. These are things like violence, threats, and harassment. Your response should focus on denying, justifying or excusing those claims.

The petition might also include claims that would NOT form the basis for a restraining order. They're not relevant to the judge, even if they paint you in a negative light ("Respondent cheated on me with my sister, he has a bunch of DUIs, and he was emotionally controlling during our relationship", etc.). Do not waste your effort and the court's time by fixating on these types of claims. If the petitioner wants to waste his or her precious time by making irrelevant arguments, let them. Remember, though, the judge is not interested in determining whether or not you cheated during the relationship, who is responsible for your breakup, or whether or not you're a good guy. Those things are not grounds for a restraining order.

This is where a lot of litigants get off track. They get so emotional about defending their reputation or their pride that they lose sight of the actual issue that the court is trying to decide -- whether or not violence, threats or harassment has occurred. They focus too much time and effort in arguing over points that will not affect the judge's decision. I understand the impulse to do so, but you must resist that impulse.

The first step in preparing your defense, then, must be to divide the accusations into two categories: 1) accusations that could (potentially) form the basis for a restraining order if they are proven, and 2) accusations that are irrelevant, even if they sound embarrassing or salacious.

Once we determine which of the accusations could potentially form the basis for a restraining order (claims of violence, threats or harassment), then we can start forming a strategy to refute those accusations.

The most effective way to disprove false accusations is to drill down on each of them methodically and individually. Separate each false allegation and beat it to death with reliable, admissible evidence. Once you have effectively disproved one allegation, then you can move on to attack the next. Stay organized and focused in presenting your case as concisely as possible, without jumping from one point to another. For example, if you're accused of making repeated, harassing phone calls, bring a copy of your call log to prove that the calls didn't come from you. If you're accused of stalking someone on a particular occasion, bring an alibi witness to prove that you weren't in the area.

If you or a loved one has questions about restraining orders in Southern California, call us for a free attorney consultation.  (714) 449-3335.  Ask for John.

Thanks for reading.

Orange County Restraining Order Lawyer