It sounds like you’re going to have to petition the Governor for a pardon. Even with the pardon, however, you may not possess a firearm if the felony you were originally convicted of involved the use of a dangerous weapon. Penal Code 4854 states:
4854. In the granting of a pardon to a person, the Governor may
provide that the person is entitled to exercise the right to own,
possess and keep any type of firearm that may lawfully be owned and
possessed by other citizens; except that this right shall not be
restored, and Sections 12001 and 12021 shall apply, if the person was
ever convicted of a felony involving the use of a dangerous weapon.
Assuming your original conviction had nothing to do with dangerous weapons, and the Governor does grant you a full pardon with firearm rights, then you may lawfully possess a firearm under Federal law as well. However, if any restrictions are placed on your right to possess a firearm by California, then Federal law would outlaw it completely. For example, you were given the right to possess a rifle, but not a handgun, by California, then Federal law would even restrict your right to possess the rifle. So, there are two sets of laws to get past … California first, then Federal second.
There are two ways to get a pardon: (1) A Certificate of Rehabilitation, and (2) A Direct Pardon. The former involves petitioning the trial court, then waiting through the rehabilitation period, then the trial court sends the Governor a recommendation that you be pardoned. The latter method involves contacting the Governor directly. The former method is likely the more successful method. In order to get started, I suggest that you contact your attorney for help in drafting your petition.
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