RESTORATON OF GUN RIGHTS UNDER FEDERAL AND MISSOURI LAW

Federal law prevents people convicted of certain crimes from possessing firearms. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) says that anyone "who has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year" is barred from gun possession. The only felony convictions that are not covered by the federal gun ban are 1) those "pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, restraints of trade, or other similar offenses relating to the regulation of business practices," per 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(A); and 2) felony convictions from foreign countries.

Under federal law, gun rights may be restored for certain felony convictions. 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(20) and (a)(33)(B)(ii) say that "[a]ny conviction which has been expunged, or set aside or for which a person has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored shall not be considered a conviction for purposes of [ the federal gun ban.”] To determine whether someone's civil right to gun ownership has been restored for state convictions, federal courts "look to the law of the jurisdiction of conviction . . . and consider the jurisdiction's entire body of law." United States v. O'Neal, 180 F.3d 115, 119 (4th Cir.).

Missouri bans firearm possession for several reasons, including felony convictions. RSMo 571.070 states:

Possession of firearm unlawful for certain persons — penalty — exception. — 1. A person commits the offense of unlawful possession of a firearm if such person knowingly has any firearm in his or her possession and:

(1) Such person has been convicted of a felony under the laws of this state, or of a crime under the laws of any state or of the United States which, if committed within this state, would be a felony; or

(2) Such person is a fugitive from justice, is habitually in an intoxicated or drugged condition, or is currently adjudged mentally incompetent.

2. Unlawful possession of a firearm is a class D felony.

3. The provisions of subdivision (1) of subsection 1 of this section shall not apply to the possession of an antique firearm.

This is a lifetime ban from possession firearms for ALL felony convictions, not just violent felonies. However, the new Missouri expungement statute provides for the removal of all “collateral” consequences of some felony convictions if the expungement action is successful. RSMo 610.140. Note that this applies to state crimes and not federal convictions. Contact an expungement lawyer at the Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine to discuss whether your case is a good candidate for expungement and the restoration of your gun rights. Our gun rights attorney may be able to help you.

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