Gun Rights Restoration
Fight To Have Your Gun Rights Restored
A felony conviction is a life-changing event. Among the many consequences of a felony conviction is that the individual automatically loses their right to possess a firearm. The specific facts of the case have no impact on the loss of the individual’s gun rights. They could have been convicted the day after they turned 18 years old. The felony could have been a simple shoplifting charge where the value of the property was just over the felony threshold. The person could have been convicted more than 30 years ago, and they could have led an exemplary and productive life ever since. While having your gun rights revoked is automatic upon a felony conviction, having them restored will take some work.
Virginia Code §18.2-308.2 makes it a felony for an individual to possess a firearm after a felony conviction. Section C of that statute also sets forth the process to have gun rights restored. The steps in that process are set forth below.
Does your loss of firearm rights stem from a state or a federal conviction?
If your disability is based upon a federal conviction, then there is currently no way to have your gun rights restored. Since 1992 Congress has denied ATF funding to process the necessary applications.
However, if your disability is based upon a state conviction then you may be eligible to petition the court for a restoration of your gun rights. In this scenario, the first step you must take is to have your political rights restored.
II. Political Rights Restoration
Under Virginia law, your political rights must be restored before you may petition the Circuit Court for a restoration of your gun rights. Political rights include the right to vote, to run for and hold public office, to serve on juries, and to serve as a notary public.
Since July 15, 2013, political rights are automatically restored for persons convicted of most non-violent felonies upon their release and the completion of certain milestones. However, this does not apply to:
- Those released from custody prior to July 15, 2013; and
- Those whose crimes are deemed “violent/more serious”.
If you fall into either of these categories, you must submit an application for political rights restoration. In addition, those convicted of crimes which are deemed to be “violent/more serious” may have to wait up to five (5) years after any sentence served, or completion of supervised probation and parole, before they may apply for political rights restoration.
If you are eligible to have your political rights restored but have not yet to do so, I can assist in that as a part of the firearm rights restoration process.
Once your political rights have been restored, or if you are eligible to apply to have them restored, then you are ready to put together your petition for restoration of your gun rights.
III. Petition for Gun Rights Restoration
The petition process is similar for residents and non-residents of Virginia; the main difference is the jurisdiction where the petition will be filed. For residents, it will be filed in the circuit court for the city or county where you reside. For non-residents, the petition is filed in the circuit court for the city or county where you were last convicted of a felony.
Once the petition is prepared, I will file it with the appropriate circuit court and serve a copy to the local Commonwealth’s Attorney. After the petition is processed and a hearing date is set, I will appear with you for your hearing, argue your case, and prepare the proper Order for the judge to sign if the petition is granted.
The standard the judge uses in determining whether to grant the petition is “good cause shown.” This is a vague standard, but the judge will consider a number of factors, including the seriousness of the crime, any other criminal history, the length of time since the conviction, your community involvement, and the motivations for having your gun rights restored.
I Am Standing By to Help
If you made a mistake in your past and have worked to turn your life around, isn’t it time that you took the steps necessary to recover your rights and become a whole citizen again? You have paid your debt to society. You have put your past behind you. There is no reason your past should follow you around any longer. Contact my office at (804) 387-5566 for a free consultation.