Unfortunately, under the Federal Gun Control Act, (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9)
, it is unlawful for an individual convicted of a state or federal "misdemeanor
crime of domestic violence" to "ship, transport, possess or receive firearms or ammunition."
The federal government defines a "misdemeanor crime of violence," as an offense that:
"has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim."
However, the law is clear that if you can get the state to expunge, set aside, or pardon your offense, this act would not bar you from getting your gun rights back. I'm assuming there are no protective orders out against you or any other reason not already mentioned in your post. You can see what other things can cost people their gun rights in the above statute.
There used to be, but no longer is, any provision for a Federal expungement. So the previous expert was correct in that In order to get your gun rights back you would have to get the state of Arizona to either expunge, set aside or pardon your misdemeanor conviction. States are not generous about what they will expunge. As a rule, they want their penalties to stick.
I have looked at the Arizona Expungement Law, and it appears that you would be eligible to have your conviction set aside. Note that it's discretionary. Being eligible does not mean it will be granted. However, based on the fact that it has been a very long time since you have been in trouble, that you have 9 1/2 years of sobriety behind you and that you and your wife are still together, you would appear to have a decent chance here. You can find a plain English version of your state's expungement law here
. You will have to petition the court, and it will tell you broadly how to do that. A lawyer is not necessary for this if you feel comfortable handling it yourself. I have found a form for Maricopa County
on the web, and I imagine the clerk of the court in other counties will have something similar..
If your petition is rejected you can find information about applying for a pardon from the governor, which you would have to obtain throught the Arizona
Board of Executive Clemency
. Again, you wouldn't need a lawyer to accomplish this, although there are lawyers who specialize in pardons, expungements and gun rights. The Board's website appears to be down right now but it's www.azboec.gov/
If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.
This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your State for specific legal advice.
Edited by FranL on 7/2/2010 at 4:31 AM EST