Firearms Denied after Domestic Violence Charge. Can I Get My Weapons Back if We Reconciled?

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When a person is convicted of a domestic violence charge or the responded in an order of protection case, he or she may be stripped of the legal right to own firearms. However, there may be situations that may provide for when these rights may be restored.

Criminal Case

Some states prohibit a person from possessing a firearm after being convicted of any felony. Similarly, they may prohibit a person from possessing a firearm if he or she was convicted of a misdemeanor involving domestic violence or other types of violence. Some states do not permit a person to ever have these rights restored, such as if they commit a sex offense, homicide, robbery or other type of violent crime. Others require the person to wait a certain number of years after the conviction or after he or she has satisfied the conditions of release.

Mental Health Concerns

Some states strip a person of the right to possess a firearm if he or she has been involuntary committed for mental health treatment or found not guilty of a crime by reason of insanity.

Order of Protection Case

Many states make it automatic that a person will be stripped of his or her gun ownership rights if he or she is a responded in an order of protection case. Order of protection cases are civil cases in nature. They can result even if there are not any criminal charges against the alleged perpetrator of domestic violence. Typically, a person cannot possess a firearm if he or she was given notice of the order of protection hearing, the order of protection case involved the harassment, threatening of an intimate partner or relative or stalking of the victim and the hearing concludes that the victim should be protected from the alleged perpetrator.

Case Is Dismissed

If the parties have reconciled and the case is dismissed against the defendant, the perpetrator may be able to have his or her gun rights restored. However, the restoration of the right to possess firearms is not usually automatic.

Deferred Judgment and Sentence

In some jurisdictions, if the defendant received a deferred judgment and sentence, the defendant agrees to plead guilty and perform a sentence in exchange for the case later being dismissed. Typically, gun rights cannot be restored until the defendant has completed the entire deferred judgment and sentence.


Some states provide for the restoration of all civil rights if a person is pardoned by the governor.

Certification of Rehabilitation

Other states require the defendant to acquire a certification of rehabilitation before having their civil rights restored.

Petitioning for the Restoration of Gun Rights

A common mechanism for a person to have his or her gun rights restored is to petition a court for an order of this nature. To qualify for this form of relief, the person may have to meet certain conditions. For example, there may be a certain amount of time that a person has to wait before being able to file the petition. Additionally, he or she may be required to have abstained from any criminal action since the conviction. Additionally, the defendant should not be banned from firearms for another reason, such as being committed to a mental institution. All conditions of the sentence must also be completed. Some states give a judge discretion to grant this petition while others frame it as a pass/fail test.

There may be several steps involved in the petition process. The defendant may be required to pay a filing fee, serve copies of the petition on other parties such as the prosecutor and the victim, provide extensive information in the petition and establish the legal rationale behind having rights restored. The defendant may also be required to schedule a hearing with a judge, file a motion and attend court hearings. The defendant may also be responsible for filing a proposed order to restore the firearm rights for the judge to sign. If the order is signed, the defendant may then be required to provide the signed order to law enforcement agencies in the state.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Assistance with Your Restoration of Rights Petition

If you would like to file a petition to restore your rights to possess a firearm or pursue other legal action to have your rights to possess firearms restored, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer for assistance. He or she can discuss your legal options during a confidential consultation.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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