As an American citizen, you have a constitutional right to bear arms. But certain criminal convictions can result in losing your right to possess firearms.
Fortunately, Ohio Law allows restoring your gun rights if the appropriate conditions are met. As experienced criminal defense attorneys in Cincinnati, Luftman, Heck & Associates have outlined how felony criminal convictions can result in forfeiting your second amendment civil rights and how someone can get their gun rights back in Ohio.
Ohio Felony Convictions Disabilities
The Gun Control Act of 1968 and other Ohio laws make it so that an individual convicted of a felony in federal or state court suffers consequences aside from physical time in custody. These collateral consequences are generally known as “civil disabilities.”
After such a conviction in Ohio, you lose the right to:
- Vote while incarcerated,
- Serve on a jury,
- Carry a firearm, and
- Access some state and federal benefits.
After a felony conviction, you may be ineligible to receive food stamps, temporary cash assistance, assisted housing, and student loans.
Ohio Post-Conviction Firearm Rights
Under Ohio Revised Code 2923.13, a person convicted of an offense punishable by more than one year is prohibited from knowingly acquiring, carrying, or using any firearm or ammunition.
Federal gun law also bans firearm possession by persons convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense.
Effectively, this makes it a crime to be in possession of a firearm under disability in Ohio. This charge would constitute a new third-degree felony offense, punishable by between one and up to five years in prison, in addition to fines of up to $10,000.
In addition, if you attempt to lawfully purchase a firearm while under civil disability, you can be charged with a crime for a mistake on the gun application. This frequently happens to people with long-forgotten convictions or offenses that are punishable by more than one year but rarely punished that way, like DUIs.
How to Legally Retore Gun Rights in Ohio
Living with a civil disability and losing your 2nd Amendment firearm rights can feel like you’re being punished long after you’ve served your punishment, especially if the offense was nonviolent. The Ohio criminal code allows you to petition to restore your Second Amendment rights.
Ohio Firearm Rights Restoration Process
Under the Ohio Revised Code section 2923.14, anyone prohibited from exercising their firearm rights after a conviction may apply to the court of common pleas for relief from this prohibition. With the help of an experienced attorney, you may be able to build a successful case to have your rights restored if certain circumstances apply:
- You completed your sentence, including being discharged from probation, parole, and not under court supervision,
- You are considered a “fit subject” for relief by leading a law-abiding life,
- You have NOT been convicted of a crime since the conviction that led to losing your gun rights.
Presently, the only practical way for a federal felon to restore their firearms rights is with a presidential pardon.
Your Ohio Application for Gun Rights Prohibition Relief
Generally, with help from your lawyer, you must submit a petition for relief and demonstrate to the court that you:
- Followed the law since your release
- Are likely to continue to be a law-abiding citizen
- Fully met the conditions of your criminal penalties
- Deserve relief
“Deserving” relief can sometimes be challenging to prove. This means that you are adversely affected by this revocation of your rights, and restoration of these rights will not unfavorably affect the community.
Factors the Court Considers to Restore Your Gun Rights
Ohio courts will look at various factors before granting a request to reinstate your gun rights. Some of what they look at are:
- How long ago the conviction occurred
- The gravity of the offense
- Your complete criminal record
- If restoring your gun rights is in the public’s interest
Speak to a Lawyer about Getting Your Gun Rights Back
It may be easier said than done, but the best way to ensure that you maintain your gun rights is by avoiding a criminal conviction in the first place. However, if you have been a model citizen since your past conviction, you should have a chance at a clean slate. Work with a defense lawyer to fight the charges.
Aside from restoring your constitutional right to bear arms, you may also be eligible for an expungement or to have your record sealed.
Contact Cincinnati criminal defense attorney Brad Groene at Luftman, Heck & Associates to see how he can help. Call (513) 338-1890 for a free initial consultation about your case.