Federal Prohibitions on Possessing Firearms

Are Federal Firearm Prohibitions Keeping You Disarmed?


The Federal Gun Control Act prohibits certain persons from possessing or receiving firearms and ammunition.  See U.S.C. § 922(g) and (n).  These prohibitions apply to individuals in every State and may not be avoided by moving from one state to another.  In addition to federal prohibitions, each State can apply further restrictions on the ownership of firearms and ammunition.  It is each person’s responsibility to understand both the federal and state laws and to know when they become  prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition.  A violation of these laws can result in both federal and state criminal charges.

Persons Prohibited from Possessing Firearms and Ammunition under Federal Law.

The following categories of persons are prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition:

  1. Any person who has been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
  2. A fugitive from justice;
  3. An unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act;
  4. A person who has been adjudicated as mentally defective or who has been committed to a mental institution;
  5. Any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States and is illegally or unlawfully in the United States, or who has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa;
  6. A person who has been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces;
  7. A person who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced citizenship;
  8. A person subject to a civil restraining order for protection from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person; or
  9. Any person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of Domestic Violence.

The above prohibitions can be quite complex.  For example, many States have legalized the medicinal use of marijuana. In fact, in the State of Florida, an individual can obtain both a medical marijuana card and a concealed weapons license.  However, under federal law, marijuana is listed as a controlled substance under Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act.  Hence, a person who uses marijuana, regardless of whether their state has passed legislation authorizing such use, is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition. Keep in mind that the most restrictive law will apply. See https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/open-letter/all-ffls-sept2011-open-letter-marijuana-medicinal-purposes/download

Restoring Your Firearm Rights

In some cases, individuals who are prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition may have a path to relief.  The type of relief needed to restore an individual’s firearm rights will depend on the underlying prohibition as well as the applicable state law.  For instance, in Florida, an individual convicted of a disqualifying criminal offense may be able to request clemency (although an extremely lengthy process) in order to regain their firearm rights.  However, an individual convicted of a disqualifying federal offense may find it much more difficult to do so since the ATF has not appropriated funding to act upon applications for relief from firearm disabilities for over 20 years.

In mental health cases, however, a petition may be filed with the court to request the judge restore an individual’s firearm rights, while a restraining order may require a motion to dissolve the issued order.  Each prohibiting factor may be addressed differently.  For this reason, it is advised that an individual looking to restore their firearm rights seek legal guidance in addressing such prohibitions.

Attorneys for Firearm Rights Restoration

At Katz & Phillips, P.A. our expert gun rights lawyers can advise you whether or not you are eligible to restore your gun rights.  Further, we can guide you down the proper path for your individual situation.  Our attorneys are always happy to speak with you, so call our office today and see how we can help you restore your right to bear arms.  We look forward to speaking with you.

Learn more about medical marijuana and firearm possession, click here.



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