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Felons in Possession of Firearms

If you’ve been charged with a felony, severe restrictions will apply to your Second Amendment right to bear arms. In many states and under Federal law, convicted felons are barred from owning firearms for life. But in Michigan, felons may be able to regain their right to bear arms when they meet certain conditions. In such cases, you will have a better chance of having your Second Amendment rights restored with the help of a Michigan weapons attorney.

How Does Michigan Law Restrict a Felon’s Gun Ownership Rights?

Michigan Penal Code section 750.224(f) sets out different gun ownership restrictions depending on the type of felony for which you were convicted. Note that none of the following conditions apply if your felony conviction has been pardoned or expunged–unless those orders specifically state that you are not allowed to own or possess firearms.

If you were convicted of a felony involving one or more of the following elements:

  • The use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against a person or property
  • The unlawful manufacture, possession, or distribution of a controlled substance
  • The unlawful possession or distribution of a firearm
  • The unlawful use of an explosive
  • Arson, a burglary, or breaking and entering into an occupied dwelling

You cannot possess, use, transport, sell, or purchase a firearm or ammunition in Michigan until 5 years after you have done all of the following:

  • You paid all of your fines
  • You served your imprisonment terms
  • You successfully completed your parole or probation
  • A Michigan circuit court has restored your Second Amendment rights under section 4 of 1927 PA 372, MCL 28.424

If you were convicted of any other kind of felony (or any crime punishable by 4 years or more in prison), you cannot possess, use, transport, sell, or purchase a firearm or ammunition in Michigan until 3 years after you have met all of the conditions below:

  • You paid all of your criminal fines
  • You served your prison term
  • You successfully completed all of your parole or probation requirements

A violation of these regulations is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and fines reaching $5,000. Regardless of the quantity of weapons or ammunition involved, each time you violate this section Michigan law treats it as a separate offense. So if you go deer hunting twice in violation of this section, you could face up to 10 years in jail and $10,000 in fines.

How Can I Apply for the Reinstatement of my Firearm Rights?

When you are seeking the reinstatement of your right to own a firearm after a specified felony conviction, you will need to send an application to a Michigan superior court. The judge may grant your request if you provide clear and convincing evidence of the following:

  • Five years have passed since you met all of the conditions of your sentence
  • You are not likely to put others in danger if you regain the right to possess firearms
  • Your application was properly filled out

If the judge rejects your application, you will have to wait a full year before applying again. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have a legal professional to help you fill out the application and to gather evidence of your good character.

You Cannot Reinstate Your Firearm Rights under Federal Law

If you’re a convicted felon, you can never again own or possess firearms legally under federal law–regardless of whether a Michigan court has reinstated your gun rights. This means that federal law enforcement–like border patrol, the DEA, or even national park rangers–can arrest you, and a federal prosecutor can then charge you with felon in possession of a firearm. So if you get your firearm ownership rights back under Michigan law, be careful never to exercise those rights near borders or on federal land.

Consult a Detroit Weapons Lawyer for Help

If you obtain a pardon or the expungement of your felony conviction, you can legally own firearms under Michigan and federal law because it’s as if your conviction never occurred in the first place. Pardons are extremely rare, and expungements are difficult to obtain.

If you’re a convicted felon and want to know more about how to legally possess firearms, an experienced Detroit criminal defense attorney from Davis Law Group may be able to help. For more specifics, call attorney Maurice Davis today at (313) 818-3238 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.