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Can a felon restore their right to gun ownership

Under certain circumstances, depending on your state, you may be eligible to restore your gun rights. Many citizens restored their second amendment rights or corrected the wrongful denial of their firearm rights over the years.

There is; however, no short answer to this question, which is why we always recommend you have your record examined by an experienced and licensed attorney. Removing a federal firearm ban will depend upon the State and type of court in which you received the offense that triggered the firearm ban. A federal ban which results from a state conviction can only be lifted in the state of origin. For example, if you were convicted of a felony in a California state court, you can only lift the federal felony ban through California law in a California court or by applying to the California Governor’s office for a pardon.

Eligible Offenses for Firearm Restoration

If you were convicted of certain misdemeanors that are described in California Penal Code Section 12021.1, you will not be able to own a firearm for 10-years from the time of your conviction. These types of misdemeanors are typically:

  • Violent misdemeanors like assault or battery
  • Involve things like stalking or terrorist threat
  • Or are other misdemeanors that involve the use of a firearm or use of a deadly weapon

This prohibition is from the State of California and is a 10-year probation that starts from the time of your conviction. An expungement or record sealing will NOT restore your firearm rights. You will need to wait the 10-years even if you have your conviction expunged or sealed. The only way this can be lifted is if you get a court order from a judge. A judge can only grant this court order if you are currently an employee of the State of California and your job requires you to own or possess a firearm (i.e. police, security, federal service, etc.).

What about Domestic Violence

A misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence can prevent you from owning a firearm. Federal law, often referred to as the Lautenberg Amendment, says that anyone convicted of a crime that meets the federal definition of misdemeanor domestic violence has lifetime probation from owning a firearm. There are a couple of things to keep in mind about this law. First, it only applies to misdemeanors. So, if you have a felony domestic violence, this law does not apply though other prohibition may result from it. The second is that expungement and record sealing will not restore your right to own a firearm that was lost as a result of a misdemeanor conviction unless the state also took away your firearm rights as a result of the conviction and restored it as a right of the expungement.

Regardless of the classification of the offense, it is important that you seek the assistance of competent legal counsel to help you best understand your legal defense while identifying an outcome that best minimizes your risk. We here at the H Law Group patiently await your call.

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