Can a Conviction Bar Me from Owning a Firearm?

By Jonathan Blecher on April 20, 2018

For many Americans, they take pride in their right to bear arms. Firearms can help people protect themselves and their loved ones from dangerous individuals, and this is a right they take very seriously. If you’re suddenly facing criminal charges in Florida, you may be worried that a conviction would bar you from possessing or owning firearms – this is a valid concern.

Firearm privileges are strictly regulated by state and federal law. It is up to the citizens to understand their rights and responsibilities under these laws. Section 790.23 of the Florida Statutes outlines who cannot possess a firearm under Florida law. Sometimes these individuals are called “prohibited possessors.”

Under Sec. 790.23 it is illegal for any of the following individuals to own or have within their care or control, any firearm, ammunition, or electrical device:

  • Individuals who have been convicted of a felony in Florida, including felony DUI.
  • Any delinquent act committed by someone under the age of 24, which is considered a felony if committed by an adult.
  • Anyone who has committed a felony crime against the United States.
  • Anyone who has committed a delinquent act in another state or country while under the age of 24, that would be a felony in Florida if committed by an adult.
  • Anyone who has been found guilty of a felony in another state or country that was punishable by over one year in prison.

It is also unlawful for someone with an active injunction for domestic violence (Florida restraining order) against them to own, control, or possess firearms.

Can Felons Ever Possess a Firearm Again?

Under Florida’s gun laws, it is possible for certain felons to restore their civil rights and firearm privileges. Under Sect. 790.23, states that the section does not apply to a person who is, “convicted of a felony whose civil rights and firearm authority have been restored.” The section also does not apply to people, “whose criminal history record has been expunged pursuant to s. 943.0515(1)(b).

Related: “What Are the Benefits of an Expungement?”

If you are facing felony charges, the best way to avoid a firearm restriction is to get your charges dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor. If you have been convicted of a felony but you want your firearm privileges restored, I encourage you to contact me for help.

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