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Will a Federal Felony Prohibit Me from Possessing a Firearm?

Posted by John Rogers | Mar 03, 2021

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that all persons shall have the right to bear arms. This right, however, has an exception for those with a criminal record. Indeed, any felony conviction, whether it be in state or federal court, will prohibit someone from owning or possessing a firearm for life. Accordingly, the penalties and collateral consequences following a felony conviction can be life-changing.

Because you are losing a constitutional right, ordinarily, federal prosecutors will inform a defendant in a plea agreement of this consequence. Additionally, it is not uncommon for the judge to also inform a defendant of their life-time prohibition from owning or possessing a firearm. Not only does a felony conviction preclude possessing a firearm, but it also extends to ammunition as well.

Someone who suffers from a prior felony conviction, and who possesses a firearm, may be indicted in federal court under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1) – felon in possession of a firearm. It does not matter that the firearm was inoperable or that the firearm was disassembled.

It's important to note that the crime does not punish “ownership,” but rather “possession.” Someone can be implicated criminally even if they never physically touched a firearm. If there is evidence that a defendant had a right to access the firearm – i.e., dominion and control over the firearm, then that may be sufficient to warrant charges.

Some state felony convictions may be reducible to misdemeanors. If you reduce your prior state felony conviction to a misdemeanor, then it may restore your ability to own or possess a firearm. Unfortunately, a federal felony conviction is life lasting. This means that there is no way to reduce a federal felony conviction to a misdemeanor.

Contrary to popular belief, the passage of time will not be removed a felony from your record. Additionally, lying in an application for a firearm is a federal offense.

For more information about losing your right to own or possess a firearm, contact your local N.R.A. office.

If you have been indicted in federal court for a firearm crime, then contact us today to schedule a free confidential consultation with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney.

About the Author

John Rogers

*State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Law *Top 40 Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers Association *Selected “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine *Federal Criminal Defense Representation Nationwide *Personalized Attention & 24/7 Accessibility


Orange County federal crimes lawyer John Rogers is committed to providing exceptional representation all throughout California federal courts.

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