The Second Amendment isn’t the final word on gun rights, but it’s a good place to start. While the U.S. Constitution guarantees our right to bear arms, Hoosiers are also subject to plenty of other rules and regulations.
The most obvious of these are the requirements associated with Indiana’s firearms license application. Indiana law dictates that only a proper person can be licensed to carry a handgun. Someone with a felony conviction is not a proper person. Neither is someone with a conviction for a crime of domestic violence.
The Lautenberg Amendment
The Gun Control Act of 1968 made it a federal crime for convicted felons to possess firearms or ammunition. In 1996, Congress took this a step further with the Lautenberg Amendment—also known as the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban—which extended this standard to anyone with even a misdemeanor conviction for a crime of domestic violence.
It’s important to understand that crime of domestic violence encompasses more than just domestic battery. Indiana law provides that a crime of domestic violence is an offense or the attempt to commit an offense that includes either the use of physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon against:
- your current or former spouse, parent or guardian;
- a person with whom you share or shared a child in common;
- a person who was or had been cohabitating with you as a spouse, parent or guardian; or
- a person who was or had been similarly situated to your spouse, parent or guardian.
Lifetime Ban on Firearm Possession
Just to be clear, the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Lautenberg Amendment are federal laws that call for lifetime bans on gun possession. Violating these laws could very easily lead to federal criminal charges. In the past year, Indianapolis had more gun cases go federal than ever before.
It’s also worth noting that firearm restrictions are more difficult for some citizens than for others, depending on how they earn a living. If you’re in law enforcement or the U.S. Armed Forces, for example, a gun possession ban will certainly make your life more difficult. It may even lead to dismissal.
Restoring Your Rights
The good news is that a lifetime ban doesn’t have to last the rest of your life. State law provides an avenue for you to have your firearm rights restored, and this process is independent of any criminal expungement proceedings.
That is to say, restoring your right to possess a firearm won’t expunge your conviction, and expunging your conviction won’t restore your right to possess a firearm. If you want to accomplish both, it’s helpful to restore your gun rights before pursuing an expungement.
Making the Right Call
Federal charges mean you’re facing federal prison time. No one should ever walk into a criminal court—much less a federal one—without first retaining experienced legal representation. If you’ve been arrested for a crime of domestic violence or unlawful possession of a firearm, you need an attorney who understands the obstacles you’re facing.
The attorneys at the Marc Lopez Law Firm are here to help. Give us a call at 317-632-3642, and remember—always plead the 5th!