When you lose your civil rights, including the right to own and bear arms, it is troubling to even think about. Many people hide the fact or deny it. Unfortunately, this is counter productive and does nothing to get your gun rights back. In most instances, time alone will not restore your rights. But, with a little work, there is much we can do to restore your firearm rights in South Carolina.
What we can do, and how we seek restoration of those rights is controlled by where and how you lost the rights to begin with. We do not treat a mental commitment the same as a felony charge. But I can help you seek restoration in either case, and with the proper planning and work, we have a good chance of succeeding.
Below is a short overview of how you can lose your firearm rights and ways we can help you seek restoration of those rights.
Many, but not all, criminal convictions cause you to lose your gun rights. However, convictions fall into two general types, and those types affect how we seek restoration of your rights.
If you have been found guilty of a felony, you lose your gun rights automatically. And no amount of time alone will restore those rights. Rather, you must seek restoration of those rights from the State where you were convicted. In South Carolina, this requires seeking a Pardon. (To better understand how pardons restore your firearm rights in SC see: Pardons and Pistols.)
I help clients move beyond their past in seeking a pardon. In most instances, with the right application and a compelling story, you can have your rights restored.
Most misdemeanors will not cause you to lose your gun rights. However, any misdemeanor with a possible jail sentence over two years does cause an automatic loss of firearm rights. As an example, this would include failure to stop for a blue light.
Additionally, any misdemeanor which includes an act of violence against a member of one’s household will cause you to lose your gun rights. This includes domestic violence, but an assault and battery can also qualify if the victim is a member of one’s household.
Here, rights restoration is much trickier. Not because it is more difficult, but because there are more options! In many instance, the best option is to seek a pardon. This is a surefire way, and it is available to all misdemeanants.
For some criminal domestic violence charges in SC, there is an automatic firearms rights renewal based upon a lapse of time. While this is a good option, I strongly advise ensuring you qualify by requesting SC SLED send an appropriate letter to the FBI to note that your firearm rights have been restored. I can help with such, and this is a relatively simple and fast means for restoring rights when you qualify.
For other criminal domestic violence charges, and additional misdemeanors, you can seek an expungement. This removes the charge from your public record and should restore your firearm rights. Unfortunately, Federal Agencies are split on whether or not to honor a SC expungement to restore firearm rights. Therefore, a pardon, though less thorough, may be safer. But sometimes the best bet is to seek both.
In a few instances, where jail time was served, it is possible that firearm rights are automatically restored upon release. This is a tricky subject, and not a means which I suggest relying upon. Here individual evaluation by an attorney is a must.
How to handle firearm rights restoration loss by a misdemeanor is a personalized decision and one that I can help you make. Once made, we can seek restoration based upon that decision. And sometimes, multiple routes are the best way to proceed.
In SC, committal proceedings are handled in the Probate Court. Here the judge will decide if a person should be forced to undergo treatment. If a person is forced to undergo treatment, then we have a mental commitment. This adjudication of mental deficiency causes a loss of firearm rights, and that loss is indefinite until cured.
Fortunately, you can petition the same court to restore your firearm rights after having successfully completed treatment. This requires showing that you are stable and not a threat to yourself or the public. The process is quick and private, but it does require a court appearance and preparing the proper petition and supporting documents.
Again, this is another area where I have helped clients restore their firearm rights.
There are a few other ways to lose your gun rights, but instances of such are rare. When these do occur, restoring firearm rights becomes much more complicated and each scenario must be evaluated on its own. These instances include fugitives from justice, persons dishonorably discharged, habitual drunkards, users of illegal drugs, and persons who have surrendered their passport to give up citizenship. Each one of these instances is unique and requires personalized care.
If you have lost your firearm rights in South Carolina, there is hope to have them restored. I help clients seek restoration, and in most instances the chances of success are good. If you have lost your rights and would like to have them restored, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. You may contact me here.