Can Firearm Rights Be Reinstated in Iowa?

Being convicted of a felony offense can have several consequences, one of which is losing your right to possess, purchase, receive, or transport a firearm. If you are subject to this disqualification and are caught with a gun, you could face a class D felony charge, which carries with it a prison term of up to 5 years and/or a fine of up to $7,500.

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If you were found guilty of a felony and sentenced, your firearm rights are not automatically restored after you've completed your sentence. You must proceed through specific legal avenues to seek relief from the firearm prohibition.

Seeking a Pardon or Restoration of Citizenship

Two of the ways you can attempt to have your firearm ban lifted are through a pardon or restoration of citizenship. If granted, a full and unconditional pardon will allow you to possess or purchase a gun once again. You are not eligible for this relief until 10 years have passed since you completed your sentence. It's important to note that a pardon will restore your rights, but it won't the offense from your criminal record.

The other legal vehicle for seeking to have the firearm prohibition removed is a special restoration of citizenship. You must wait 5 years after the completion of your sentence before you can apply.

To seek either a pardon or restoration of citizenship, you must submit an application to the Governor's office. When you apply, you must include letters of reference from people who can attest to your character and rehabilitation. You must also ensure that you have paid all fines, fees, and costs associated with the underlying offense.

The Governor will review your request to determine whether or not to restore your firearm rights. The entire process can be lengthy and requires strict attention to detail as well as an understanding of your rights and the law.

Eligibility for Gun Rights Restoration

Unfortunately, obtaining relief from firearm restrictions is not available to every person convicted of a felony.

Individuals ineligible for a pardon or restoration of citizenship include those convicted of:

  • Forcible felonies, such as:
    • Felonious child endangerment
    • Assault
    • Murder
    • Sexual abuse
    • Kidnapping
    • Robbery
    • First-degree arson
    • First-degree burglary
  • Offenses involving firearms
  • Federal crimes
  • Offenses that occurred and were tried out of state

Additionally, a pardon won't be granted if the judgment was deferred. However, in felony cases involving deferred judgments, firearm rights are automatically restored after completion of the sentence.

One of the most effective ways to avoid having to go through the arduous process of restoring your firearm rights is to aggressively fight your charge and seek a favorable outcome, such as getting the charges dropped or reduced. At Keegan, Tindal & Jaeger, we will provide the skilled defense you need in Iowa City. Contact us at (319) 499-5524 today.