Felons and Firearms

cuffs and gavel

It is a well-known fact that once you are convicted of a felony, you lose certain rights and privileges. Some of these losses include the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury, and the right to own firearms. In North Carolina, some of these rights are automatically restored once your sentence has been served. Others, like your right to possess firearms, are not automatically restored. This does not mean that you are never allowed to own a firearm again though.

North Carolina now has a mechanism to restore your firearm rights if you have been convicted of a felony. In order to complete this process, the petitioner must have a hearing in front of a district court judge in the county in which you reside. During the hearing, the judge will have to decide first whether or not the petitioner qualifies for the restoration of their firearm’s rights. This step is initiated by determining whether the petitioner has waited the statutory 20 years since their citizenship rights were restored. The next determination is whether or not the person’s prior record would preclude them from restoration, or if it would preclude them from possessing a firearm regardless of the felony conviction. After the hearing, the judge must make findings of fact and issue conclusions of law and must put those in writing. These findings of fact and conclusions of law are what the judge will base their determination off of when they determine whether or not to grant the petition.

Once the petition has been granted, the rights of the petitioner to purchase and possess firearms in the State of North Carolina are restored. It is important to know that while North Carolina has restored your rights, the federal government does not have to do the same. This means that even though you would be able to purchase and possess a firearm in North Carolina, you could still be ineligible for certain NFA transactions.

If you have questions about the restoration of your firearm rights in North Carolina, please contact Jetton & Meredith, PLLC today at (704) 931-5535 to speak with one of our knowledgeable Criminal Defense attorneys.