How Can a Convicted Felon Receive Firearm Rights? -
Civilian Rights Firearms

How Can a Convicted Felon Receive Firearm Rights?

There are federal restrictions against felons owning a firearm.  This is another of the many things felons are not allowed after they leave prison.

While some of their crimes may have involved a weapon, this ban is in place regardless of the nature of their crime.

Are these rights lost forever?

This blog post will address the question of how a felon can regain firearm rights.

  • Firearm Restriction
  • Restoring Firearm Rights
  • Receiving a Pardon
  • Supporting a Felon in Receiving Firearm Rights

Firearm Restriction

After their release from prison, many felons enjoy taking up past-times that they once engaged in.  For many this may be hunting.

Where did this restriction come from?

In 1934, the federal government passed a law denying anyone convicted of a violent felony the right to own a gun.  This added to a restriction that already existed to prevent violent felons from owning machine guns.

This remained as the law until the Gun Control Act in 1968 when it was amended to include all persons convicted of any felony, even those that did not involve violence. This remains in effect until the current day.

Many felons are not aware that it is also illegal for felons to own any type of ammunition.

Being caught with just one bullet will result in being tried and convicted of another felony, which will carry a more severe sentence because of a prior conviction whether it was a violent crime or not.

Restoring Firearm Rights

Recently, a law was passed that would allow felons having lost their rights to own a firearm to be able to have that right restored.

One way for felons to once again own a firearm is to have their record expunged.

The process depends on whether their felony conviction was from the state or the federal government.

It would be an easier process if the felony conviction was from a state court.  So, it can make a difference what state their felony conviction is from.

However, when state and federal laws conflict, the stricter one will apply.

If the conviction came from the federal court, there is an application procedure to follow.  This application is filed with the U.S. Attorney’s office or with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

There are of course conditions which must be met in gaining approval to own a firearm again.

First, the applicant must not have been convicted of a ‘forcible’ felony within the past 20 years.  Also, at least 20 years must have elapsed since the end of any incarceration for that felony.

Next, the applicant’s criminal history and reputation must be such that the applicant will not act in a manner considered dangerous to public safety.

Additionally, restoring firearm rights must not be considered contrary to the public interest or federal law.

For those felons with nonviolent felonies, or those considered to be minor, the process is not as difficult, provided felons have lived crime-free lives during the past 20 years.

In order to establish having lived a clean life for the past 20 years, felons must demonstrate a stable work history and strong, healthy ties to their community.

Employment is probably the most challenging aspect of returning to society.  Many felons struggle with finding a job because the stigma of having a felony record deters employers from hiring felons.

There are companies that are willing to give felons a second chance.

Having healthy ties to the community involves having good relationships with their families and friends as well as being involved in community and volunteer work.

Maintaining and documenting that involvement will be valuable to felons wanting to regain firearm rights as well as any other rights.  Volunteer work, attending a 12-Step program, and other contributions to society will aid their case.

Changing friends and hangouts will also be important.

Another way to have firearm rights restored is by seeking a presidential pardon.

Receiving a Pardon

In order to obtain a federal pardon, felons must wait five years after completion of their sentence.  Then they may contact the federal government regarding clemency.  They should first seek legal counsel.

Felons must state the reason for seeking clemency and how the pardon will help them accomplish that.

They will need to provide evidence why it would be in the public’s best interest as well as their own to receive clemency.

They may need documentation, such as a letter from appropriate government or licensing authorities.  They must have a clean criminal record after the time of the initial conviction.

Their personal background is extremely important.  The nature, seriousness, and length of time since their conviction along with their overall criminal record will be considered.

Any hardship they may be suffering as a result of their conviction is also important.  Involvement in community service or charitable activities will make a difference.

Felons will need to submit three letters of recommendations from character witnesses who are not part of their immediate family.

Following the review, the application will be submitted to the President or governor with a recommendation.  The appropriate government official will then make a decision on the request for clemency.

If felons are successful in achieving a pardon, they will be able to once again own a firearm.

Hunting is a great past-time for those who enjoy the outdoors and the opportunity to hunt once again as they did in the old days before their felony conviction.

Being able to own a firearm will allow felons to do this.

Supporting a Felon in Receiving Firearm Rights

For families of felons who want to re-establish their firearm right, support them in seeking this right to have their firearm rights.  It can be a difficult process to go through to be able to own a firearm again.

Be there for them.

If they can get this right back, they will be able to hunt again as they once did in the past before their conviction.

Hunting can be a great hobby for those who enjoy the outdoors.  Of course, it is essential that they use a gun the right way.

Following gun safety guidelines will be important once they have that right again.

There is a safe way to own and use a firearm.  Help them achieve this.

So what do you think about this blog post about felons can receive firearm rights?  Have you or someone you know been in this situation?  What was that like and were they successful?  Please tell us in the comments below.

17 responses to “How Can a Convicted Felon Receive Firearm Rights?”

  1. THOMAS A. HARRIS says:

    This was was very helpful

  2. Jeffrey Milges says:

    What about Florida? You can apply for a restoration of your firearm rights after 15 or so years after your conviction ends, but under Governor Scott, he is slow waling the applications received. It is estimated that it will take at least 50 years for them to get to your name, as they only meet 4 times a year, and only review about 5 or six cases. Its been over 23 years since my conviction for grand theft and dealing in stolen property and I like to hunt..if only with a crossbow. But I can’t even defend my self or my family in my own home or vehicle with a firearm. My wife (CSI for Sheriffs office) can’t even leave her firearm in the house or car if I have access to it. When I go hunting with friends, I can’t be in the truck with access to firearms.. The bottom line is, the stigma of a felony conviction,and loss of civil rights never ends.

  3. Renee Fiore says:

    What do you do if you know a felon that owns guns and has them in his house

  4. John zabel says:

    Mind your own buisness.

  5. Randle McMurphy says:

    It ain’t going to happen if you live in a liberal state like NY run by corrupt politicians. I also agree with John, Renee, quit being a stool pigeon and mind your own business.

  6. Ngaya T Brunner says:


  7. Paul says:

    I was convicted in 91 for concealed carry of a knife.
    No violence, wasn’t doing anything but walking home from a nightshift job. Cops stopped me for suspicion, searched me, found a knife, that I used at work. Hit me with a felony. I was told at sentencing that I could not own, purchase or possess a firearm for 9 years. 28 years later I am still on the computer as a felon which makes it impossible to buy a firearm and try explaining to the cops that you are exempt from that law. I was told that I had to get a lawyer to get that expunged but as far as I am concerned I did my time, waited the required 9 years and there is nothing to be expunged. My sentence was no firearms for 9 years. I own guns and I hunt but I keep my guns with friends and I hunt on private property. Screw em.

  8. Steven a Thierath says:

    Hello , first of all thanks for the blog, secondly not all states are as strict I r complicated as it seems above. I woukd would say i coukd could be the poster child for regaining my 2nd amendment, that being said i have yet to do so ,why? If im the poster child , im not sure . In Missouri you simply fill out an Executive Clemency application and i thinkits about 20 questions or so , your basica questions listed above. So i will be sendung it off bext week sometime i judt wanted to get any last input before I doso heres my poster

    1.plead guilty to felony dwi aggravated offender in
    2008 (no accidents)with a 10yr revocation of my license

    2.did a 120 treatment program in MDOC

    3. Obtained my GED while incarcerated

    4. Released and on 5 years paper with SATOP and counseling first 1yr

    5. released from counseling early by counselor for lack of treatment needed, finished SATOP

    6. Started college an obtained 2 Associates degrees,1Buikding Maintenance Technology and 1 HVAC/r, and keeping a 3.8-4.0 gpa the entire 4 years sn staying on tne deans or directors list the entire time.

    7. Walked down probation with 0 violations ans a recommendation from my counselor to be released early which was granted.

    8. My 10 year revocation is up this month and i will be eligible to obtain my drivers license back.

    9.its been 11years since I’ve even had my name ran by an officer.

    10. Its been 4 years since i quit drinking

    11. Ive Started AAA Maintenance Services 3 years ago and have been a top pro contractor (top3%) for three years now an have built up alot of great customers

    12. Im seeking this to be able to hunt and be able to teach my son and daughter proper gun safety as i was taught with the mo hunter education course when i was a kid.

    13. Last but definitely not least i really wouldlike to be a first responder if some sort, vounteer fire fighter hopefully.

    So thats the poster does anyone see any reason why I would be denied? i have met and went well above missouri’s requirements, but i think there’s only been 14 Governor pardons in Mo history,im hoping to be 15.

  9. george Hunnewell says:

    This is very good I need help govern Scott just won’t do anything to help but he wants me to vote for him yes I’ve had my voting rights restored m but I like to hunt and we’ll but don’t have my gun rights restored even after 32 years of not being in any troublegeorge

  10. Thomas E. Annett says:

    Is is a very sad story and very complicated in most states to reinstate gun rights but your allowed to vote. I can say this just like marijuana would never be legal look the fights about over. A word to wise or a helpful sugestions. The public and all felons wanting these rights back should petition in each state. If the felons and the public came up with 200000 signatures on a petition like other laws have done. Maybe the government would vote on such law. The sadest part of the story everybody knows you can get a gun on the street just as fast as walking into the stores. If people with guns are going to commit a crime the law is not going to stop it until after the fact if they get caught. What a sad world we live in felons camt protect there families, house or land. People should stand up and petition tbe goverment.

  11. scott says:

    yes I know an may have a date in 2019 with new gov of florida 11 years since fileing for 1986 conviction,i think if not for some fed laws the state I live I would not be concerned with a 33 year old felony, Amendment 4 should help people to stand up ,I don’t even live in florida for now 20 + years now ,but they still control me glad gov scott is gone soon ,now we only hope it shortens the list accept those who seek full pardons,i feel all my rights go together ,there taken at the same time

  12. scott says:

    few things I did not touch on In Nh since 1998 now I cleaned up my life near 15 years now ,I got 2 Anullments done in Nh in 6 months no attorney ,were domestic cases too,an so 11 years florida 6 months Nh ,it was how the conviction was marked florida ,or I could have seeked anllument there ,ADJ guilty X marks the spot,i got call from florida in april filed the Anulments in NH soon after ,just got the good news a few weeks back,now its just florida an hope they change the +100 pre civil war law ,florida would now go on without crime ,just to touch on the shootings since say 1995 I am pretty sure most did not include an ex con either ,so the old saying is true that living in one state is like living in another country yet we salute the same flag ,we need some hug changes to much older laws one is the 1968 act an the 1986 act ,as wel as the brady law,they have proved nothing ,other then some commited suicide more over the years ,gun safety courses should be set up for most

  13. Jose says:


    Has anyone fron NY State or anywhere ever had their rights fully restored ? Firearm & Civil rights ? Let me know, [email protected]



  14. Denise Fierro says:

    Good luck and if you know of any please let me know . I’ve been trying for 2 years . I have a non violent felony conviction from 1986 and i also got a certificate of relief in 2006 for box b not box c so i can work . Still isn’t good enough ! I petitioned the court 3 times to have it changed from box b to box c to specifically say pistol permit . I was turned down by the same judge who doesn’t even look at my paperwork , just says no . I also was one of the first people in Nys to get the sealment Order that came out in October of 2017. Great right ? Lol ! On that . I’m april i applied for a cert of good conduct from Nys clemency dept – waited another 8 months for them to tell me “ they don’t work on sealed cases “!!! Such bull shit ! So i can’t get a judge to change her mind , i can’t get clemency In NYS because i got a sealed record which by the way is not a total sealment . Policing agency’s can still see it . With that frustration i called Nys again and they told me to call the ATF , which i did last week and they said it doesn’t matter if i got one “ cert of relief changed on the state level , i would need one on the federal level so i can actually purchase a gun . So if you have one from the state it doesn’t matter , and the ATF doesn’t have funding for this . So I’m still looking into the federal level which the guy i spoken to at ATF said he never heard of any felons getting this so I’ve been chasing my tail for 2 years , got nowhere and spent about $12,000 in legal fees all for nothing !

  15. Ms. P. says:

    What about if I have a felony conviction, but I didn’t have to do any jail time, only probation. Can I still apply or do I have to go through all of this request to pardon/clemency stuff? I’m in Chicago btw..

  16. les says:

    All I want is to be able to have firearms that belonged to my father in my house. I shouldn’t have to store them elsewhere. It was a first time offense (got one year)and has been 43 years since. Never involved with the law since. SMH…

  17. Danny J Bishop says:

    you promised all this info then when qfter you got my credit card I could get no response at all out of you. I will be stopping payment on my credit card and exposing you for the chickenship thieving outfit yoy are. Y ou keep getting criminal records and then not coming through you will meet a r
    eal criminal some day and god have mercy on your black ass soul you pieces of shit

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