Firearm Rights Restoration in Michigan

firearm rights, felony, firearm rights restoration, Michigan
12/7/2018

You automatically lose your right to possess, use, transport, sell, purchase, carry, or distribute a firearm, including ammunnition, when convicted of a felony in Michigan. The restoration of firearm rights depends on whether the felony conviction was for a specified or non-specified felony. Your firearm rights may be automatically restored after conviction for a non-specified felony, but a petition for firearm rights restoration must be filed when you’re convicted of a specified felony. See MCL 750.224f  and MCL 28.424.  

Specified vs. Non-specified Felony

For the purposes of this statute, felony means a violation of a law of this state, or of another state, or of the United States that is punishable by imprisonment for 4 years or more, or an attempt to violate such a law.

A specified felony means a felony in which one or more of the following exist:

  • An element of that felony is the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or that by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.
  • An element of that felony is the unlawful manufacture, possession, importation, exportation, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance.
  • An element of that felony is the unlawful possession or distribution of a firearm.
  • An element of that felony is the unlawful use of an explosive.
  • The felony is burglary of an occupied dwelling, or breaking and entering an occupied dwelling, or arson.

A non-specified felony means any other felony that is not specified.

Restoration After a Non-specified Felony Conviction

If convicted of a non-specified felony, your firearm rights are automatically restored 3 years after all the following circumstances exist:

  • The person has paid all fines imposed for the violation.
  • The person has served all terms of imprisonment imposed for the violation.
  • The person has successfully completed all conditions of probation or parole imposed for the violation.

MCL 750.224f(1)

Restoration After a Specified Felony Conviction

If convicted of a specified felony, your firearm rights are not automatically restored, and you must petition the circuit court under MCL 28.424 in the county where you reside. You can only petition the court after certain criteria has been met.

You can only petition the court 5 years after all the following circumstances exist:

  • The person has paid all fines imposed for the violation.
  • The person has served all terms of imprisonment imposed for the violation.
  • The person has successfully completed all conditions of probation or parole imposed for the violation.

Once the 5 years have elapsed the petition can be filed under MCL 28.424. There is a nominal filing fee that must be paid at the time of filing. Once filed the court will schedule a hearing, and you will have to meet certain standards as set forth in the restoration statute.

Before the court will issue an order of restoration, you have to prove the following by clear and convincing evidence:

  • The individual properly submitted a petition for restoration of those rights as provided under this section.
  • The expiration of 5 years after all of the following circumstances:
  • The individual has paid all fines imposed for the violation resulting in the prohibition.
  • The individual has served all terms of imprisonment imposed for the violation resulting in the prohibition.
  • The individual has successfully completed all conditions of probation or parole imposed for the violation resulting in the prohibition.
  • The individual's record and reputation are such that the individual is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to the safety of other individuals.

MCL 28.424

Federal Firearm Rights

There is currently no avenue to restore your firearm rights at the federal level. This means you will still be in violation of federal law even after your rights have been restored at the state level. This is true regardless of whether you were convicted of a specified or non-specified felony. You could be charged under 18 USC 922(g) for violation of a federal felony. The local authorities can detain someone for violated the federal statute and alert the federal authorities, so it is a risk even after your rights have been restored at the state level. While this only applies to "modern firearms and ammunition/cartridges," almost everything falls within that category. There is legislation being introduced at the federal level to correct this, but it hasn’t been enacted yet.

Expungement

The best option is to have your felony expunged. An expungement will prevent violation of the federal law because the conviction will no longer be on your record. There are limitations on expungements, so it is best to speak with an attorney about all of your options.

Tags: felony, firearm rights attorney, firearm rights restoration

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