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Can I keep my guns after a felony charge?

On Behalf of | Oct 28, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

In Virginia, the issue of whether an individual can maintain possession of firearms following a felony charge is a topic of substantial concern.

Understanding the legal stance in such cases is important for those facing these situations.

Loss of firearm rights

Virginia law enforces a restriction on firearm possession for felons. If you have a felony conviction, you cannot own, purchase or possess firearms. This prohibition extends to both handguns and long guns, including rifles and shotguns. The intent behind this restriction is to enhance public safety by preventing those with felony records from possessing weapons.

Restoration of rights

While the loss of gun rights is a serious matter, there is a glimmer of hope for those seeking redemption. Virginia allows individuals with felony convictions to regain their firearm rights, but it is not an automatic process. You must first complete your sentence, including any probation or parole. You should also have paid all fines, restitution and court-ordered fees.

Waiting period

After fulfilling the requirements, you must wait for a specific period before applying for the restoration of your firearm rights. The waiting period is typically five years for non-violent felons and eight years for violent felons. This waiting period begins after the completion of your sentence.

Eligibility criteria

Once the waiting period is over, you can apply for the restoration of your firearm rights. To be eligible, you must demonstrate that you have fully integrated back into society and are no longer a threat to public safety.

Approximately 19 million Americans have a felony conviction. While having a conviction leads to the loss of different rights, the restoration of gun rights is a possibility but by no means a guarantee.