Restoration of Gun Rights

If you were convicted of a crime, you may have lost your rights to possess a firearm. Under certain circumstances, depending on your state, you may be eligible to restore your gun rights. specializes in post-conviction relief and can help restore firearm rights or fix wrongful denials of firearm transactions. We have helped thousands of people restore their second amendment rights or correct the wrongful denial of their firearm rights.

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Under certain circumstances, depending on your state, you may be eligible to restore your gun rights. We have helped thousands of people restore their second amendment rights or correct the wrongful denial of their firearm rights.

How to Restore Your Firearm Rights

There is no short answer to that 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.

Ways to Remove Your Federal and State Firearm Bans

If your case was in state court, and if the state in which your conviction occurred allows your rights to be restored whether through expungement, set aside, civil rights restoration, or by a firearm rights restoration process; that process will also lift the federal ban that applies to you. Additionally, in some states, a restoration is possible by applying for a governor’s pardon or civil rights restoration. Each state’s law is different, and the effect of the state law is more important than labels provided by the state. Consulting with an experienced attorney is the best way to determine what methods of restoration are available in your specific circumstance.

If your case was in federal court, you’re likely out of luck. Your only option is to apply for a presidential pardon, which are granted very rarely.

If you are interested in state firearm rights restoration, we offer services that could potentially restore your rights in the following states if you meet the eligibility requirements:

Arizona Firearm Rights Restoration

In Arizona, those convicted of felonies lose the right to possess a gun or firearm according to Arizona Revised Statute § 13-904(A)(5). Fortunately, there are three avenues in which firearm rights may be restored. Firearm rights in Arizona may be restored by applying for a set aside of the prohibiting conviction or by application for Arizona firearm restoration from the court of conviction.

The other option is to receive a pardon from the governor, but they are granted infrequently. Those convicted of a “dangerous offense” may only restore their rights through a pardon. Those convicted of “serious offenses” must wait 10 years before applying to the court to restore their rights, and all other convicted of felonies must wait 2 years before applying for restoration, although this two-year wait period can sometimes be circumvented by instead applying for a set aside of the conviction. Additionally, you may be eligible for restoration even if you went to prison as long as you received an Absolute Discharge.

California Firearm Rights Restoration

In California, anyone convicted of any felony in any jurisdiction cannot purchase or possess a firearm. See Cal. Penal § 29800. Additionally, those convicted of certain violent misdemeanors, including domestic violence will lose their firearm rights for the 10 years following their conviction through California Penal § 29805. Misdemeanants that fall under the federal domestic violence ban will remain banned federally following the expiration of 10 years. The setting aside of convictions in California (commonly referred to as “expungement”) does not lift either state ban.

Those convicted of felonies may restore their rights by having their felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor (unless the case would then fall under the misdemeanor domestic violence ban). Only certain felony convictions called “wobblers” may be reduced. “Wobblers” are those offenses that could have been charged as misdemeanors or felonies. More serious offenses such as murder and robbery cannot be charged as misdemeanors and no not wobble, so they are not able to be reduced. You may also be able to restore California firearm rights with a gubernatorial pardon coupled with a certificate of rehabilitation except when the underlying offense involved in the use of a dangerous weapon. California Penal § 4852.17.

Florida Firearm Rights Restoration

A felony conviction in any jurisdiction will result in a Florida state ban prohibiting owning or purchasing firearms. Those convicted of misdemeanors in other states that can be punished for a term longer than a year also fall under this ban through Florida Statute §§ 790.001(6), 790.23(1). Currently, the only way to restore lost firearm rights in Florida is to apply to the Florida Office of Executive Clemency.

In order to be eligible to apply, there is a waiting period of 8 years following the expiration of the sentence. There must also be no outstanding detainers, pecuniary penalties or liabilities that total more than $1,000. In addition, you may not have any outstanding victim restitution, including, but not limited to, restitution pursuant to a court order or civil judgment, or other victim assistance obligations. Regaining your firearm authority will also require an in-depth interview with an examiner of the Florida Parole Commission. Unfortunately, even after meeting the waiting period and requirements, the Clemency board is taking approximately 9-10 years to process an application for Florida firearm restoration.

Illinois Firearm Rights Restoration

Individuals in Illinois who have been convicted of a felony in Illinois or elsewhere may not possess on their person, on their land, in their home, or place of business any firearm or ammunition because of 720 Illinois Compiled Statute Ann. 5/24-1.1(a). Illinois law allows the circuit court or Illinois Department of State Police to grant restoration of firearm rights in Illinois if they find that:

  1. the person has not been convicted of a forcible felony in any state within the past 20 years;
  2. the circumstances regarding the conviction, criminal history, and reputation show that the applicant will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety; and
  3. restoring firearm rights would not be contrary to the public interest.

Whether the individual applies to the court or Department of State Police depends on their type of conviction. If the conviction involves violence, drugs, or firearms, then the application must be made to the circuit court. All other prohibited individuals may apply to the the Director of the Illinois State Police. Firearm rights may also be restore through grant of a pardon in Illinois, but the pardon must specifically include the restoration of firearm rights.

Indiana Firearm Rights Restoration

Under Indiana law, anyone who has ever been convicted of a felony (or a misdemeanor of domestic violence) loses only his or her right to own or possess a handgun. See Indiana Code §§ 35-47-2-3(g)(1), 35-47-2-1(c), 35-47-4-7(a). Expungement specifically does not restore gun rights in Indiana and you cannot reduce a felony to a misdemeanor if you have more than one felony conviction. Note that there is a court option for restoration. However, the option to restore Indiana firearm rights are only available for misdemeanor domestic violence convictions. If your felony cannot be reduced and if you do not have an eligible domestic violence offense, a governor’s pardon is the only method available for restoration.

Michigan Firearm Rights Restoration

In Michigan, having your felony conviction Set Aside can restore your firearm rights, but a person convicted of a felony is subject to a state firearm ban for three years after the completion of all terms of the sentence, including probation or parole. If a person is convicted of a “specified felony,” such as those involving the use of :

  • force
  • an explosive
  • firearm
  • controlled substances, or
  • burglary

then the person is subject to the ban until five years after the completion of their sentence and their firearm privileges have been restored under an administrative procedure. Michigan Compiled Laws § 750.224f(1). The administrative procedure to restore firearm rights includes petitioning the circuit court in the county in which the applicant resides.

The circuit court will restore these rights if, by clear and convincing evidence, the following circumstances are true:

  1. the individual properly submitted a petition for restoration of firearm rights,
  2. five years have passed since the individual has paid all fines imposed, all terms of imprisonment have been served, and all terms of probation or parole have been completed, and
  3. the record and reputation of the applicant are such that they are not likely to act in a manner dangerous to the safety of others.

Pardons can also restore gun rights in Michigan, but your chances of being granted a Michigan pardon are low. See Michigan Compiled Laws § 750.224f(4) to learn more about Michigan pardons.

Minnesota Firearm Rights Restoration

Minnesota law provides for the restoration of a person’s civil rights for a conviction for treason or a felony crime following the successful completion of their imposed sentence. Minn. Stat. § 609.165(1). However, those convicted of any “crime of violence” (as defined by M.S. § 624.712), even as a minor, may not possess ammunition or any firearm. See Minn. Stat. § 609.165(1)(a) and Minn. Stat. § 624.713.1(2). Furthermore, a person is ineligible to possess or own a firearm if the person has been convicted of multiple gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor offenses of Chapter 152 within a three year period, or of any domestic violence offense within a three year period. Minn. Stat. § 624.713.1. If an individual is prohibited by his offense, he may petition a court to restore his firearm rights, and a court may do so if: 1) the petitioner shows good cause to do so, and 2) the petitioner has been released from physical confinement. Minn. Stat. § 609.165(1)(d). If the petition is denied, the petitioner must wait three years to refile.

Minnesota allows you to ask a judge to restore your Minnesota firearm rights if you were convicted of a felony “crime of violence.”

Nevada Firearm Rights Restoration

Unfortunately, in Nevada there is no way to restore firearm unless except to apply for a gubernatorial pardon. We currently do not offer pardon services in Nevada.

New Jersey Firearm Rights Restoration

Expungement in New Jersey can restore firearm rights lost due a felony conviction.

New York Firearm Rights Restoration

A Certificate of Relief from Disabilities or Good Conduct can possibly restore firearm rights in New York lost due to a felony conviction. Not all felonies are eligible to have their firearm rights restored.

Ohio Firearm Rights Restoration

Ohio allows those convicted of felonies to ask a judge to restore their firearm rights if they have been law abiding since their felony conviction.

Oregon Firearm Rights Restoration

In Oregon, restoration of firearm rights lost due to a felony conviction can be restored by applying to the Circuit Court in the county in which you currently reside.

Pennsylvania Firearm Rights Restoration

Very few individuals under a Pennsylvania ban are eligible for the judicial restoration process. Most Pennsylvania offenders will need a Pardon to restore their firearm rights.

Texas Firearm Rights Restoration

A Texas felony set aside can restore firearm rights.

Utah Firearm Rights Restoration

Expungement of a felony conviction in Utah can restore firearm rights.

Washington Firearm Rights Restoration

In Washington, you can ask the court to restore your firearm rights in relation to a felony or misdemeanor offense against a household member if you meet certain criteria.

Explanation of Firearm Prohibitions

There are two types of firearm bans: federal bans and state bans. Federal firearm bans are rules that will apply to you in every state or United States territory in which you are present. Even if you move to a different state or territory, these laws will follow you and still apply. You cannot move to another part of the United States to avoid a federal ban.

Additionally, almost all 50 states and territories have their own laws and rules about who may or may not possess a firearm in addition to the federal law. Sometimes state laws are consistent with federal gun laws, other times they are different. Analyzing why a person may have had their firearm rights denied can be complicated, especially if the person has lived in multiple states or has offenses in different states. This is why we offer our firearm rights analysis service to show you what your legal options are.

There are various reasons why a person would receive a federal firearm ban. A federal firearm ban would exist for any person who:

Again, this is only a list of federal firearm bans. In addition to this list, any state in which you are present can ban you from possessing or purchasing a firearm under their own laws. The two most common federal gun bans occur when someone is convicted of a felony or convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

The Federal Felony Gun Ban

The most common reason for denial of a gun purchase or prohibition from possession occurs when the individual has been convicted in any court (state, federal, tribal, county, or city) of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. This is traditionally referred to as a felony.

Included in this ban are offenses that are called misdemeanors, but are punishable by more than two years imprisonment. In most states, misdemeanors are only punishable up to a year. However, there are states that allow misdemeanors to have much longer possible sentences, causing the federal law to consider them felonies for firearm purposes.

The term “punishable” in both instances doesn’t mean the actual punishment you received or served. It just means that the state or federal law that you were convicted of allows for a punishment over a year or more than two years at the time you committed the crime. If you are unsure if your conviction fits this description, we recommend you sign up for our firearm rights analysis service.

Misdemeanor Crimes of Domestic Violence Gun Ban

The next most common federal firearm prohibition is on those convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence, regularly called the Lautenberg ban. Many people subject to this ban don’t realize that this prohibition even applies to them until they are denied a firearm purchase. This prohibition applies even if the offense isn’t called “domestic violence.” In fact, the name of the offense doesn’t matter at all. Regardless of what the offense is called, the federal ban is applied if the elements of the offense meet the federal definition of domestic violence.

For an offense to be counted as a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence it must:

State offenses like assault or battery, or any other offense that involves any physical force or threatened use of a weapon, can fall under this ban if committed against a family member.

The felony ban and the misdemeanor crime of domestic violence ban are the most common firearm bans. If you aren’t sure whether these bans or any others apply to you, we would encourage you to contact our office or sign up for a firearm rights analysis to have your record researched.

Unsure If You Are Subject to a Gun Ban?

IF THERE IS A POSSIBILITY THAT YOU MAY CURRENTLY BE BANNED, DO NOT TRY TO BUY A FIREARM! Denied purchases are flagged by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The notice of the denied transaction is regularly referred to federal or local state law enforcement. Sometimes an ATF special agent or local law enforcement officer will contact and investigate those individuals denied firearm transactions. This can result in confiscation of guns which are sold by mistake. Even worse it could result in a house call to the person who attempts a denied purchase in order to investigate whether there are other weapons to confiscate. Depending on the circumstances, those who attempt a denied purchase can also be charged under federal or state law for “attempted” illegal possession of a weapon, which can be very serious, send you to jail or prison, and be very expensive.

Wrongful Denial of Gun Purchases

Reasons for Wrongful Denials

If you don’t believe any federal or state firearm prohibition applies to you, it is possible that you were wrongfully denied a firearm purchase.

Most wrongful denials we see are caused by incomplete or outdated information maintained by the databases used to approve or deny firearm transactions. Law enforcement agencies and courts are typically overburdened, and maintaining or sending accurate information to state criminal history databases or the FBI database isn’t always the priority it should be. Records are simply lost, incorrect, not updated properly, or incomplete. All of these can cause a wrongful firearm denial.

Thousands more are wrongly denied every year because they have been misidentified and incorrectly had a prohibitive record incorrectly attributed to them.

Other reasons for a wrongful denial include inaccurate legal interpretation by the agency administering the firearm background check. There are a lot of firearm laws. When federal laws plus 50 individual state laws intersect and overlap, it is easy for the law to be interpreted incorrectly, especially if you have a very old or complicated background. In our experience, if there is anything potentially prohibitive on your background, firearm authorities will simply reject your transaction and let you deal with the consequences.

Remedying Wrongful Denials

If you are denied a firearm purchase you should first verify that you are not prohibited from possessing a firearm. Many people think that they are not under a firearm ban when in fact they are. In that case, possessing a firearm is either a felony or a misdemeanor, and attempting to purchase a firearm can also be an offense. In order to determine if you are under a firearm ban, we can assist you by completing an analysis of your criminal history and of the denial itself.

Once we verify that you were wrongfully denied we can then take steps to remedy the denial. Each case is different, so we must complete an analysis of your case to determine what actions needs to be taken.

Some of the common tools we use to remedy a wrongful denial are:

We are very experienced in remedying gun purchase denials in the states in which we serve. We have used every tool available and we are not afraid to face the FBI and U.S. Attorney General in court. Every case is different and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to restoring your 2nd amendment rights. We strongly recommend you sign up for our Firearm Rights Analysis service to see what your options are.

Things You Might Not Know about Firearm Rights:

Taking the Next Step to Restore your Rights

We hope that this information is helpful to you. As you can see, evaluating a person’s firearm situation can be complex. If you have any questions about the status of your rights and/or what you need to do to restore them, we would be glad to help you do it. We offer a Firearm Rights Analysis Service that will provide you definite answers and, if possible, solutions to your firearm rights issues.

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