The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that every citizen in the United States has a right to own a firearm in the United States. But the Second Amendment is not without limitations, and certain criminal convictions could lead to your firearm rights being taken away.
Federal law has certain types of disqualifiers that will restrict your firearm rights. Some of the disqualifiers include:
- Felonies where the possible jail time exceeds one year
- Any domestic violence convictions
- A dishonorable discharge from the military
- Anyone not a U.S. citizen is prohibited at the federal level from owning a firearm
In addition to disqualifiers at the federal level, Ohio has placed further restrictions on the ability to purchase and own a firearm in Ohio. These include:
- If there is an active warrant for your arrest;
- If you have been charged with a crime;
- Certain convictions, including juvenile convictions, for crimes of violence or drug offenses;
- Court orders declaring someone mentally incompetent.
If someone has previously had his or her right to own a firearm in Ohio taken away, they are not barred from ever owning a firearm ever again. The Ohio Revised Code details the process to re-acquire firearm rights. You can petition the Court to have your rights restored, and must demonstrate to the Court that you meet the requirements to have your rights restored.
- You have completed your sentences for any criminal convictions, including finishing probation
- You have lead a law-abiding life since your firearm rights were taken away
- There is no other restriction that would continue to restrict your right to own a fire arm
This restoration of firearm rights is not extended to all convictions. The Court may consider a restoration of gun rights for convictions that occur outside of Ohio, but the process in the Ohio courts is only available to residents of Ohio. The issues about restoring your right to own a firearm contain many moving parts, and an attorney experienced in restoring fire arm rights can assist in filing your application with the courts.
Some types of convictions in Ohio, like felony drug convictions, can lead to your firearm rights being restricted. One way to demonstrate to the court that you have returned to a law-abiding life is to have prior convictions sealed or expunged. Not every conviction is eligible for expungement in Ohio, but applying to have your record expunged can lead to additional benefits other than restoring firearm rights.
In order to have a disqualifying conviction expunged, the applicant must:
- Wait one or three years, depending on the conviction, without having any new charges, and
- Demonstrate the conviction is having a negative impact on your life, often a financial hardship
Expunging a conviction does not guarantee a restoration of firearm rights, but can help influence the court to approve an application to restore someone’s right to own a firearm.
If you are facing criminal conviction that has resulted in Ohio taking away your right to own a firearm, talk to our attorneys about applying to have that right restored. We can also assist with expungement applications, that can also aid in restoring firearm rights and other civil liberties. Attorney Douglas Riddell, who has extensive experience handling firearm issues, offers free consultations and flexible payment options. He has successfully petitioned to have courts restore firearm rights throughout Ohio.