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Can I get my gun rights restored after a weapons charge?

Many people know that a felony conviction can interfere greatly with a person's constitutional rights. Aside from no longer being able to vote or serve as a juror, a felon also loses their right to own or purchase a firearm as well. As you can imagine, this set of circumstances can create a lot of problems for a person, especially one who has inherited a gun from a family member.

Though we realize today's question will not impact all of our Virginia Beach readers, it's still one we'd like to ask because we know that the answer is an important one to those who it does affect. That question is this: can I get my gun rights restored after a weapons charge? Let's take a look.

As you may or may not know, the loss of gun rights is not just something that just happens under federal law, it happens under Virginia law as well. There is hope though. That's because, under Section 18.2-308.2 of the Code of Virginia, an individual's gun rights may be restored provided they meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Receive a pardon
  • Have all political handicaps removed
  • Receive special permission by a Virginia Circuit Court
  • The conviction occurred in another state but the individual's political rights or firearm rights were restored in that state
  • The conviction occurred in a federal court and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms restored the individual's gun rights

Getting the restoration of your gun rights in Virginia is no easy task, though. An individual is encouraged to seek the help of a skilled defense attorney, preferably one that has considerable experience in criminal law and one who understands the subtle intricacies of both state and federal law.

It's also important to know that even if you are successful in getting your gun rights restored in Virginia, this restoration may not apply federally, meaning moving to another state could still create gun rights problems.

Source: Virginia State Police, "Restoration of Firearm Rights," Accessed Feb. 16, 2016

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