Restoring Your 2nd Amendment Firearm Rights

As a criminal defense and firearms attorney, there are some questions that I get asked more times than others.  Probably the biggest one is, “If I do have to use my firearm to defend my family in my home, what do I do after I pull the trigger?” (ok, sometimes it is worded a bit less delicately than that).  Well, I am going to hold off on writing about that one to get to another popular one (feel free to contact me at the information below).   Instead, “I just got denied for my conceal carry permit” or “I just got denied to purchase a firearm,” what do I do? *

Well, first we need to figure out what the problem is.  Sometimes people honestly do not know what is holding them up.  Hopefully it is something simple: a period was in the wrong place on some paperwork, a name was misspelled, something in illegible, etc.  Maybe your information was confused with someone else who is flagged in a database somewhere and it simply needs to get sorted out.  If that is all that happened then you are doing great.  There are appeal mechanisms in place that I usually advise people to not hire an attorney for and instead to jump through the self-help hoops, then if things do not work out, call me back. (see?  not all attorneys are out to scalp honest people!).

Other times it is a bit more tricky.  Maybe you were convicted of a crime, five, ten, or even twenty years ago that can be causing problems now.  Perhaps you are under a restraining order from a vindictive ex.  These and other challenging legal scenarios are more common than many realize and need to be handled with care and by a competent professional to maximize your chances of success.  There are also no easy or obvious self-help solutions, short of picking up a phone and contacting an attorney who can help.

To be more specific, when I say crime I am not talking about what many of you readers probably think about when you hear the word “crime”: vicious criminals who visited brutal and violent acts upon their victims.  True, those people also lose their right to keep and bear arms by virtue of probably being a convicted felon (as well as all those who become convicted of a felony from other offenses, such as a narcotic problem, illegal prescription drug use, etc). 

But even a simple misdemeanor conviction for “domestic violence” can trigger the Lautenberg Amendment, that is the federal law that prohibits possession and sale to individuals convicted of crimes of “domestic violence.” 

So what is the problem?  How could anyone argue with keeping firearms away from husbands, and to make these people truly beyond pity let’s make them a Cub’s fan, who comes home drunk and beat their family? 

Well yes, in extreme examples, sure.  But that is hardly the run-of-the-mill domestic violence case.  It could be a simple verbal argument that the neighbor overhears and calls the police on.  There is your lifetime ban on firearms.  Maybe you got into a verbal argument in a parking lot with your spouse and someone called it in.  Lifetime ban on firearms.  And maybe that non-physical altercation took place some twenty years ago.  Under the law it does not matter, it can still create problems now even if the then victim is now your spouse and is perfectly fine with you possessing firearms.

So what can I or someone I know do if we are being blocked by the Lautenberg Amendment from obtaining a conceal carry permit or purchasing a firearm?

You likely have options.  It starts with jumping through the hoops of the do-it-yourself appeal system.  Would you be better served by an attorney being there?  Absolutely.  Odds are though, if the Lautenberg amendment is what is causing the problem then going through the appeal process will not get you anywhere either with or without an attorney.

Rather you may need to be considering how to expunge or amend your case so the magic words that are holding you back disappear from your criminal background check, along with a few other possible remedies.  These are all options that need to be discussed with your attorney as they are neither easy or quick. 

But be sure to contact an attorney if you do want to change something!  In most cases, there may be a timeline to appeal or change something from the point that you are put on notice about your ineligibility for firearms or a conceal carry permit.

DISCLAIMER: This article is NOT intended to be legal advice. You need to consult with an attorney who can make specific recommendations to fit your circumstance.