Certain types of felony and misdemeanor convictions can result in the loss of your right to possess a firearm, as can certain types of civil commitment orders. In most cases, there is a process for seeking the restoration of gun rights after the criminal sentence is served or the civil commitment ended.

If you want to restore your gun rights, you could benefit from the assistance of an attorney experienced in this area of law. A Hennepin County gun rights restoration lawyer could help you understand your rights and determine what options might be available for restoring your privilege to possess a firearm.  

How Gun Rights Can Be Lost and Restored

The process for restoring gun rights depends on the crime that caused the individual to lose them. For someone convicted of a non-violent felony, state law provides for the automatic restoration of gun rights once the person has completed all conditions of the felony sentence, including discharge from probation if applicable. Though the law provides for automatic restoration in non-violent felony cases, a court petition can be helpful to trigger the process.

There are other types of felonies and misdemeanors for which gun rights may never be restored without petitioning the court for restoration.

Felony Crime of Violence

According to Minn. Stat. § 242.31, individuals who have been convicted of a felony “crime of violence” are prohibited from possessing or dealing with firearms for the rest of their lives once their sentence is complete. Crimes of violence may include old drug charges, as well as other felonies such as burglary and certain levels of assault.

State law also provides that a person convicted of a crime of violence may petition the court for an order to restore their right to possess a firearm if they meet the following conditions:

  • If they have been released from physical confinement
  • If they show “good cause” for the restoration. 

Good cause is subjective, but it can include the need to possess a firearm to hunt, the need of a gun for employment reasons, and established proof that there is no reason to deny the petitioner their gun rights.

Even if the petitioner shows good cause, the court has the discretion to deny their request. If the petition is denied, another petition may not be filed for three years. 

Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence

Federal law imposes a lifetime ban on gun possession if a person is convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. This rule is called the “Lautenberg Amendment,” and applies to domestic assaults that involve the use of physical force or the threat of a deadly weapon.  

While there is no statutory process for restoring gun rights under the Lautenberg Amendment, a Hennepin County attorney could help an individual seek a pardon or expungement through the court process.  

Civil Commitment

A person is not permitted to possess or deal with firearms if they have ever been subject to a civil commitment order determining they are mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or mentally ill and dangerous to the public. State law provides that anyone who has been previously committed may petition the court to restore their ability to possess and deal with firearms. A skilled lawyer in Hennepin County could assist someone in this situation who wants to restore their gun rights with this process.

Enlist the Help of a Hennepin County Gun Rights Restoration Attorney

The right to possess firearms can be restricted by state or federal law on a temporary or permanent basis. While sometimes the right is restored automatically, in other cases it is necessary to petition a court for restoration of gun rights. There is no clear path to gun rights restoration in every case.

A Hennepin County gun rights restoration lawyer could evaluate your unique situation and determine the best way to help you obtain this privilege again. Reach out today to schedule an initial consultation.