It is strikingly easy to lose your federal firearm rights. There are a number of ways this can occur. The most common way to lose your gun rights is through a criminal conviction. Federal law dictates that if you are convicted of a felony where the possible penalty exceeds imprisonment of one year or a misdemeanor where the possible penalty exceeds imprisonment of two years. Stop. Notice the italicization in the previous sentence. The actual penalty that you were sentenced to is irrelevant, instead it is the maximum possible penalty that you could have possibly received.
The confusing part about the foregoing statement is not the felony provision. That is simple. If you are convicted of a felony, you lose your gun rights. Significantly more confusing is the misdemeanor provision. This is where it gets scary. If you get two DUIs, you may lose your federal firearm rights. The maximum punishment must, however, exceed two years. In Pennsylvania, those are crimes that are classified as a misdemeanor of the first degree or higher. Some second offense DUIs are misdemeanors of the first degree.
A misdemeanor of the second degree can also cost you your gun rights. This occurs when you are convicted of a crime of domestic violence or a crime of violence where you and the victim shared a domestic relationship. In PA, this often manifests itself as Simple Assault – Domestic Violence. This charge costs you your gun rights not because of the possible penalty but because of the domestic violence aspect of the charge.
Recently, Pittsburgh Criminal Attorney Robert E. Mielnicki has filed federal lawsuits seeking reinstatement of Second Amendment rights. The argument is that the mere potential punishment itself, particularly where one would not be punished as severely in another state, is not sufficient grounds to strip away Second Amendment rights.
Convictions are not the only way to lose your gun rights. If you have ever been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, you have lost your gun rights. In PA, this process is commonly referred to as “302’d.” If there is a warrant out for you – this appears to include a warrant for unpaid traffic citation fines, you are in violation of the law for being a fugitive from justice and have likely temporarily lost your gun rights. If you have been dishonorably discharged from the military, you have likely lost your gun rights. If you are a drug user or are addicted to using drugs, you have likely temporarily lost your gun rights. If someone takes out a Protection From Abuse order against you, you have likely temporarily lost your gun rights. In short, it is terribly easy to lose your gun rights. Protect yourself.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS WHEN IT COMES TO GUN POSSESSION
If you are facing criminal charges, and you are concerned that you may lose your gun rights, contact the Pittsburgh Criminal Law Group today. If you have already lost your gun rights, or if you are not sure if you have lost them, call the Pittsburgh Criminal Law Group. Our criminal law attorneys have helped countless individuals protect their gun rights. We know the law.