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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26870
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Zoey. My names and I am trying to get my gun rights back. I

Customer Question

Hello Zoey. My names Tim and I am trying to get my gun rights back. I got a felony in federal courts in Grayson county in 2009. I completed my two year probation and paid my 500.00 fine. The felony was theft by mail $40.00 charge. Any help is greatly appreciated
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.


Thank you for requesting me. Unfortunately, I don't have very good news for you.

Once upon a time, you could restore your gun rights after a Federal felony conviction by petitioning ATF. Unfortunately that division of ATF lost its funding in 1992, and ATF will no longer process such applications. Furthermore, there is no provision to expunge your felony under Federal law. That means to restore your gun rights after a Federal conviction, you would need to apply to the President of the United States for a presidential pardon.

I'm not going to kid you. Presidential pardons are as rare as hen's teeth. But they are free to apply for and the only real game in town. So you have nothing to lose by trying. You would apply to the Pardon Attorney within the US Department of Justice. You can read more about this here.

There's one other possibility, and it is just as remote. In some Federal circuits, you can hire a lawyer and petition the judge who convicted you for what they call an equitable expungement. Sometimes, because there is no law that supports Federal expungement, a conviction creates an injustice that a Federal court may be willing to rectify via a petition.

Circuits are split as to whether a court really has the power to grant an equitable expungement, several of them saying it can be done and should in the interest of justice when it's called for, and others saying that there is no constitutional authority for an equitable expungement. You are in the Fifth Circuit which under very narrow circumstances does recognize an equitable expungement. If you can get your case expunged, you'd be able to restore your gun rights.

This would require a lawyer and would be as long a shot as a pardon. However, it's another avenue you can take. There are lawyers who specialize in the restoration of civil rights, especially second amendment rights, and you may want to consult with one to see if this is a viable alternative for you.

Good luck!

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