Federal Firearm Prohibition For Domestic Violence Misdemeanor

Many people know that a convicted felon cannot possess or purchase a gun, but many people are not aware a that pleading guilty to a misdemeanor offense that is “domestic violence” can also invoke a Federal law that prohibits a person from possessing a firearm for life. The law, found at 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9), prohibits a person from possessing a firearm for a conviction of a “misdemeanor crime of violence,” which requires a chage that physical force was attempted, actually used, or a threat of use of a deadly weapon was made “by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.”

Pennsylvania Simple Assault Charge

In Pennsylvania, there is no criminal charge for “domestic violence.” Instead, a person is often charge with a misdemeanor offense of Simple Assault, but the fact that a particular Simple Assault charge is domestic violence related is noted in the records and would trigger the Federal law explained above, meaning a person that pleads guilty to Simple Assault for a domestic violence charge is prohibited for life from possessing a firearm. Regrettably, many defense lawyers do not inform clients that a gulity plea will impact gun rights. That is why it is extremely important that you hire a reputable defense attorney becuase the good ones explain collateral consequences, such as the loss of constitutional rights.

Some people think that Pennsylvania convictions are automatically expunged after so many years and gun rights are restored. That is not the case. In some situations, a conviction may be moved to “limited access” and thereby removed from the public records, but the conviction would remain on the the records and thereby still prohibit gun possession. Pennsylvania expungements and limited access do NOT restore gun rights.

Restoration of Firearm Privileges

The only way to restore gun rights is to get rid of the conviction completely, which requres a pardon. If the offense occurred in Pennsylvania and the conviction was basd upon state law, then the pardon must be submitted to the Pennsylvania Pardon Board and then signed by the governor. Attorney Jason Dunkle has successfully represented client since 2004, including the granting of pardon requests.

Call Us for Help Defending Your Second Amendment Rights

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, your Second Amendment rights are at risk. Call JD Law at (814) 689-9139 or email us to discuss your options with an experienced lawyer in a free initial consultation.