Can a felon get firearms? What you need to know about Felons and Firearms: Felons are restricted from enjoying certain rights that are available for other civilians, given their past conviction status. One of these is the right to own firearms. It’s to note here this ban is applicable for all felons, irrespective of the type of crime committed.
Now, is there any way to restore the right? Is It really possible for Felons to be Granted Firearm Rights?
Well, the post below shares a brief on whether or not it is possible for ex-offenders to get granted firearm rights after release from prison.
A brief overview of firearm restriction
As per an old firearm law in the year 1934, the American federal government had denied firearm rights to anybody with a history of violent crimes. It was a sequel to the previous restriction that limited ex-offenders to own machine guns.
Then came the 1968 Gun Control Act (pdf). As per the law, owning of firearm was made legally forbidden for any felon, irrespective of his crime type. It meant, even those felons who were not convicted of violent crimes, won’t be allowed to possess firearms after getting released from prison. This legal prohibition is in effect till today.
Now, a lot of felons are not aware of the fact that they are legally not allowed to possess any sort of ammunition given their conviction status. If a felon gets caught in any act involving ammunition, it will lead to an even stricter sentence given his prior felon status, regardless of the crime type.
Restoration of firearm rights
However, it’s to note here that a recent law has brought some relaxations in the previous law regarding firearm restrictions for felons. According to the newly passed law, felons can have their firearm rights restored, provided they meet certain conditions.
A significant means of restoring firearm rights despite the felon status is through the expungement of the conviction record.
Now, the expungement process will vary depending on the court that sentenced the conviction. The process will be comparatively easier if it was done through a state court. But if it came from a federal court, then the felon has to go through a detailed application procedure. You have to file the application with the American Attorney’s office. You can also file it with the esteemed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms.
However, there are certain conditions that should be fulfilled to receive the approval of possessing a firearm under this right.
First of all, the applicant should not carry a record of “forcible” felony in the last 20 years. Besides, the applicant cannot apply for firearm restoration before 20 years since the year of getting released from prison. Then, your application to restore firearm rights should not be for anything against the federal law or public interest.
The process won’t pose many difficulties for those who were convicted of non-violent felonies. It will be easier for minor felons as well, provided they have led a crime-free clean life for the last 20 years after getting released from prison. But you have to provide solid proof of leading a clean life after the conclusion of your incarceration. A solid and stable work history, as well as a respectable position in the community, will serve as concrete proof here.
Now, it’s true that it’s challenging for any felon to find a proper respectable job given his conviction status. However, the good thing is not all employers are that rigid. There are some felon-friendly firms out there as well and many of them are some of the most notable blue-chip companies.
Healthy ties with the community can be proved by offering evidence of easy relationships with friends and family. It would be especially great if the felon had been involved in any volunteer or community work after getting released from prison. In that case, he should have solid documented proof of his participation in such programs. Put simply, it would be really helpful to restore your firearm right if you can show that you have made some positive contributions to the community & society.
You should also try to change the old hangouts and those friends who landed you in legal trouble previously. All in all, you have to prove that you are a changed man now who can be trusted.
Through federal pardon
A felon has to wait for 5 years minimum after getting released from jail to receive a federal pardon. After completing their sentence and waiting for 5 years, he can seek clemency from federal government. You will have to state the reason behind the request for clemency. You will also have to establish how this federal pardon would help you to accomplish that.
It’s to note here, you have to submit solid proof to prove why your clemency will be beneficial for public interest and for yourself. To establish your claims, you have to provide documentation like an official letter from licensing authorities or appropriate government. Also, you should also need to carry a clean record since getting released from prison.
If you have been involved in charitable activities or community service, you must mention that and submit proof. Besides, you have to get 3 recommendation letters from trusted character witnesses. They cannot be your immediate family members. Your application will be reviewed and then will be sent to the governor or President who will make the final decision on your firearm restoration right.
Make sure to consult a senior legal counsel at every step of the procedure.
Robert Gomez was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. He currently lives in Northern California with “the wifey,” “the kids,” “the dog,” and “that cat,” 🙁 He is also a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row. Felonyfriendlyjobs.org was born to help ex-felons get a second chance in life.