Tampa Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

Is it illegal for convicted criminals to possess firearms?

Aug 21, 2020 | Federal Crimes

Having a criminal record can affect you of multiple levels. It can affect your ability to secure a job, professional license, student loans, housing or credit. You may be unable to vote with a conviction on your permanent record. It may also adversely impact your ability to possess a firearm.

The 1968 Gun Control Act, or 18 U.S.C. § 921 et seq, permanently bars felons from possessing firearms. It doesn’t matter whether an individual’s conviction was for either a violent or nonviolent offense. This law applies to virtually any defendant convicted of a crime that typically carries a period of incarceration of one year or more. If a person’s conviction is for a felony under U.S. law, then they’re permanently barred from ever being able to possess a firearm lawfully within this country’s borders.

Convicted felons aren’t the only ones who cannot possess firearms in this country. It’s unlawful for anyone who has a current domestic violence protective order on record against them to possess a gun. It’s also illegal for someone with a conviction for any misdemeanor that involves force, such as simple assault, domestic violence or battery, to possess a firearm.

As a side note, the bar to possessing a firearm applies retroactively. No one convicted of a crime before the law went into effect can lawfully possess a gun either.

If you have a conviction on your record, then you’re forbidden from possessing a gun. If you’ve received a presidential pardon, had your record expunged or your civil rights restored, then this law may not apply to you.

Certain convictions will permanently prevent you from ever legally owning or possessing a firearm in the U.S. If you have a felony or violent crime conviction on your record, then it’s essential to understand how that may impact your future. An experienced attorney can review your case’s details and advise you of the legal remedies you may want to pursue to preserve as many of your rights as possible.


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