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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27770
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Hi. I have never applied for a license to own a firearm. I

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Hi. I have never applied for a license to own a firearm. I have never even thought about it. Now, as I have aged in years, and find myself living alone in a first floor apartment building, and just getting older and less able physically to protect myself and defend myself and my home, I want to be able to own a firearm to keep in my home. I plead no lo contendere almost 20 years ago to an F4, Lawful possession of a weapon, to wit a knife. in the state of New Jersey. My sentence was 6 months probation. I successfully completed my probation. I simply ran out of money for my defense, and was about to begin a nursing career. I am and was at that time a Pennsylvanian. I began that nursing career and have been a nurse for almost 20 years, with that blemish on my record. God is amazing! The only other conviction I have is a misdemeanor 3rd (maybe 4th) degree, for which I had a fine, I believe. That was in 2005, as a result of a personal relationship gone bad. I am now an almost 50 yr old professional woman, who wants to own a firearm to have in my residence. Am I eligible, or do I have to apply for restoration of my rights?

I'm about to sit down to a late dinner, and I can expand on this more later, but if you have a NJ felony conviction (a plea of no contest results in a conviction) you have lost your state and federal gun rights, even though it was 20 years go.

Give me about a half hour to eat my dinner and then look up the NJ laws on restoration of rights to see how do-able what you want will be.

Thanks for your patience.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Please expand on how I may restore my rights to own a firearm. Take all the time you need to have dinner. I will certainly be here waiting.

Hi April,

It's not great news. New Jersey is restrictive when it comes to restoring gun rights.

Your right to vote in New Jersey was automatically restored to you after the completion of your probation. For the restoration of all other NJ rights, especially your firearms rights, you will need a pardon from the governor. [N.J. Stat. Ann. 5 2A:167-5]

Pardons are extremely rare. But they don't cost anything to apply and there's no reason not to go for one. The forms for the pardon are not on line. You can read more about the pardon here You could likely get the forms from the court where your conviction took place or directly from the NJ Parole Board, since they do the screening for the governor.

Once your gun rights are restored in New Jersey, then usually the Federal government will go along with it, and you could possess a weapon lawfully in Pennsylvania.

I have checked to see whether you could meanwhile use a black powder gun in PA. The Federal government exempts certain antique guns and replicas from firearms prohibitions and a felon could possess one if the state allows it. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania considers antique guns firearms too, so that doesn't help you.

Your only avenue would be the gubernatorial pardon.
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