Gun & Firearm Rights Restoration
Thank you for visiting our firearm and gun rights restoration section. We’re constantly trying to improve this page to make sure you find the necessary information regarding how to restore you rights. We’ve spoken to thousands of people and most, if not all, agree that it can extremely frustrating not to have your constitutional rights. States have different rules about who gets to restore firearm rights and at WipeRecord, we take restoration of gun rights very seriously. And depending on where you’re located (ie, which state you live in), getting your firearm rights back can be easy or quite difficult.
If you were convicted of a crime, you may have lost your rights to purchase and possess a firearm. Some states, depending on the circumstance, allow for the restoration of gun rights. Different states have various laws detailing the process for restoring residents’ right to own firearms. The process is largely discretionary, and generally it is up to the governing authority to decide whether to reinstate a petitioner’s Second Amendment rights. Some states require a petitioner to simply expunge the disabling offense, while others require a detailed motion to be submitted to the appropriate court. State firearm law can often be at odds with federal law, and this opposition creates unique circumstances whereby a person could be cleared at one level, but barred at another. Whatever the situation, it is always beneficial to get the support of a law firm that is knowledgeable in the complex firearm restoration process.
Below is state-specific information regarding restoration of gun rights.
Under California State law, your right to own a gun may be restricted after a felony, some misdemeanor convictions, certain domestic violence offenses, mental illness situations and restraining orders. However, California has various ways in which a person may restore their firearm rights. The State defines some felonies as “wobblers,” designating certain felonies that may be reduced to misdemeanors and then expunged to be eligible for gun rights restoration. The list of eligible “wobbler” offenses is somewhat inclusive, and many crimes fall within this category. Convictions for certain violent misdemeanors may result in California taking away your firearm rights for a period of ten years. Expungement will not restore your ability to own a firearm in these circumstances, and the ten-year waiting period begins on the date of conviction. Aside from a governor’s pardon, the previous examples are the only means of firearm restoration in California, so contact WipeRecord to start working on your case.
In Texas, a person convicted of a felony may not purchase or possess a firearm. Firearm rights are automatically restored 5 years after release from confinement or probation. However, the individual may only possess a firearm on the premises where the individual lives. Texas law allows certain convictions to be set aside, meaning the individual is no longer treated as being guilty of the crime. Having a felony set aside fully restores firearm rights under state and federal law. A pardon from the governor of Texas may also restore federal firearm rights.
In Washington, an individual’s right to purchase or possess a firearm are lost upon a conviction of a felony or misdemeanor “crime of violence.” However, one highlight of Washington law is that firearm restoration is potentially available for any person restricted from firearm ownership, except for those with certain serious offenses. Furthermore, a petition may be filed either in the original sentencing court, or the court in the county where the petitioner resides. Those with a class A felony or sex offense may never petition for the restoration of firearm rights in Washington. Certain felonies require a five-year waiting period after a conviction, while others require a three-year waiting period, as well as the completion of all the terms of probation. Firearm rights are never automatically restored in Washington state, yet the number of convictions on a person’s record generally does not play a significant role in his or her eligibility.
In Minnesota, anyone convicted of a felony is prohibited from possessing firearms. However, rights are automatically restored for felonies that are not deemed “crimes of violence” upon discharge. Minnesota “crimes of violence” include some non-violent crimes such as certain drug offenses. An individual will still be federally barred from possessing or purchasing a firearm until all civil rights are restored. Federal law and Minnesota law both ban possession of firearms for convictions involving domestic violence. Restoration of firearm rights following a domestic violence conviction requires petitioning and receiving a granted order of restoration of firearm rights under Minnesota law. The Minnesota statute for firearm restoration states that a court “may grant the relief sought if the person shows good cause to do so and the person has been released from physical confinement.” This requirement is somewhat unclear, but courts generally consider the following factors: 1) needing a firearm for employment or hunting, 2) an individual’s criminal history, 3) the disqualifying crime and its severity, 4) other factors that might suggest the individual poses a danger to others (e.g. protective/restraining orders issued against the petitioner).
Ohio law permits many residents an opportunity to restore their right to purchase a gun by applying to the court of common pleas in the county where the individual resides. In order to qualify to petition the court, an individual must have completed his or her sentence and no longer be on probation, parole, or court supervision. A petitioner must also have led a law abiding lifestyle since their last conviction. In granting a petition, a court considers such factors as the age and seriousness of the offense, the petitioner’s criminal history, whether the petitioner has been a law-abiding citizen, and whether restoring the petitioner’s firearm rights are in the public’s interest. Through Ohio Senate Bill 247, successfully restoring your right to own a firearm under State law will also restore your federal right to purchase, possess, or own a firearm. This is an important development in Ohio law, whereby an avenue has been created to reinstate individuals firearm rights not only at a state level, but also a federal level. Certain offenses in Ohio disqualify an individual in obtaining a concealed carry, and these individuals may also petition the court to clear those civil rights disabilities. Whatever the scenario may be, having an experienced law firm will help to ensure the process is done correctly.
A New Yorker’s right to firearms are lost upon conviction of a felony or “serious offense.” In New York, a person may attempt to restore their firearm rights either by a pardon, a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities, or a Certificate of Good Conduct. Those with a Class A-1 and/or a violent felony are ineligible for firearm possession. To successfully restore gun rights, there must be specific language of firearm restoration included in the certificate. The individual must also be granted a license under New York law to legally possess weapons, as the certificate only acts to lift the restriction imposed by a previous conviction. If a certificate is granted with firearm restoration language included, it would effectively restore the individual’s gun rights under New York law and Federal law. According to the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, and Explosives), once an individual’s civil rights are fully restored at a state level, they are then legally eligible to possess firearms at a federal level. Certificates are issued by the sentencing court or the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. There are different legal implications depending on the certificate, and so it is generally advisable to seek an attorney for help to restore gun rights in New York.
For those who lost the right to purchase and possess a firearm because of a criminal offense, Oregon courts can be quite liberal in restoring rights for petitioners. Expunging your criminal conviction in Oregon will automatically restore your firearm rights. Therefore, you do not need to have your firearm rights restored in addition to expungement. Oregon law permits residents to petition the courts to restore gun rights even in some cases where expungement is not available. Those with a serious violent offense will almost always be ineligible. To qualify under Oregon law, the petitioner must currently live in Oregon and one year must have passed since completing the terms of sentencing. Having firearm rights restored in Oregon will also restore a petitioner’s rights under federal law. Typically, the Oregon restoration process takes about four to six month, but may vary depending on the facts at hand. If a petitioner does not qualify for expungement, the process is largely discretionary, and will ultimately be up to the judge to decide whether to grant firearm rights. To increase your chance of success, it is essential to have the support of an attorney experienced in Oregon gun rights restoration.
To legally possess firearms or ammunition, Illinois residents must have a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, which is issued by the Illinois State Police to any qualified applicant. If a resident’s FOID card was revoked or denied because of a felony conviction, that person may appeal to the State Police for issuance of a FOID. However, if a petitioner’s denial or revocation is based upon a conviction for a forcible felony, stalking, domestic battery, any violation of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, and several other offenses, then the petitioner must appeal the decision in the circuit court in the county of the petitioner’s residence. In order to appeal for a FOID card, the petitioner must be an Illinois resident. The process generally involves explaining to the appropriate authority why the petitioner is appealing for a FOID and providing reasons as to why the petitioner is a good candidate fit for relief. If a petitioner’s civil rights are restored, and a FOID card is granted after appeal, it would restore the petitioner’s rights under Illinois law and federal law. A petitioner whose rights are restored will receive an order from the court or the Department of Public Safety stating their firearm rights are restored. That authority will then notify agencies so that databases may be updated.
Restoring firearm rights in Indiana depends on several factors, including whether your firearm rights were lost because of a certain class of felony or a domestic violence conviction. One highlight of Indiana law is that it’s less restrictive than federal law, only barring possession of handguns in some instances. Although federal law prohibits those convicted of domestic violence charges from using firearms, an individual with a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction in Indiana may petition the court to restore their rights. If granted, your firearm rights under both Indiana law and federal law will be restored. Therefore, you may lawfully possess, purchase, and transport firearms throughout Indiana. The laws regarding felony convictions in Indiana and its effect on federal firearm disabilities can be cumbersome. Non-violent Class D felonies may be reduced to a Class A misdemeanor to regain gun rights. While the recently enacted “Second Chance Law” in 2012 permits the expunging, or sealing of more criminal records, Indiana law does not currently provide a way to restore your federal firearm rights for convictions of violent or more serious felonies. Still, for many lesser offenses, the laws in Indiana regarding firearm rights restoration can be favorable for a range of petitioners.
Please contact us if you have any questions about restoring your gun rights in your state!
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Below we have videos from our senior expungement attorney, Leah Stein. She has made some videos for our sister site, RestoreFirearmRights.com. We encourage you to watch them.
***Did you know***
Federal law prohibits purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition by persons who have been convicted in any court of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” and/or who are subject to certain domestic violence protective orders. The federal prohibition that applies to domestic violence misdemeanants was adopted in 1996 and is commonly known as the “Lautenberg Amendment” after its sponsor, the late Frank (D-NJ).