How to Restore Gun Rights After a Felony

By Andrew Lu on August 15, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

When someone is convicted of a felony, they may lose many rights -- including the right to bear arms. However, in many cases, those convicted of felonies are able to eventually restore their gun rights after release from jail.

The restoration of gun rights generally depend upon state laws and these standards can vary greatly from state to state.

In some states, restoration can be automatic. In other states, gun rights restoration is almost impossible and left largely up to a judge's discretion or a governor's pardon, reports The New York Times.

Perhaps the most lenient state on gun rights restoration is Minnesota. In this state, non-violent felons can regain their firearms rights as soon as they complete their sentences, reports the Times. And people who have committed a violent felony can petition a court to have their rights restored without even notifying prosecutors.

Montana is similarly lenient as it allows felons to regain their gun rights as soon as they complete their sentences provided that their underlying crime did not involve a dangerous weapon.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, California has perhaps the most difficult laws to regain gun rights. In California, a felon would have to receive a pardon from the governor to regain the ability to legally carry a gun.

Restoring gun rights for someone convicted of a federal felony. For federal felons, they typically need a presidential pardon for their crime, which can be extremely difficult to get. If you have questions about regarding your rights to carry a gun, you may want to contact an attorney.

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