This article continues our series on firearms rights in Oklahoma. In this series of articles, we look at how your criminal record can restrict your gun rights. And what you can do about that to protect your freedom, your civil liberties, and your American right to own, possess, and carry a firearm.
In this article, we want to discuss whether you can buy a gun if you expunged your criminal record.
Whether you can buy a gun depends on what type of record was expunged
In Oklahoma, having a misdemeanor will not prevent you from owning or possessing a firearm. Even if you are convicted of a domestic violence charge, your Oklahoma gun rights are not affected, even if your rights under federal law are. But in general, misdemeanors do not prevent you from possessing a firearm.
However, persons convicted of felony crimes cannot possess firearms in Oklahoma. A person convicted of a felony, whether violent or non-violent, loses their rights to own, purchase, and possess firearms.
Persons that have non-violent felonies are generally eligible to have those non-violent felonies expunged. But does that restore their gun rights?
An Expungement does not restore gun rights, but a Pardon does restore gun rights
An expungement seals your record from public view. It is a court order that directs the records department to lock up the file and not allow access to it without court intervention. An expungement also gives you the right to deny it ever happened. But it does not restore rights lost, such as the loss of gun rights from a conviction.
However, Oklahoma law does allow for a convicted felon to have his gun rights restored by obtaining a pardon. Title 21 Okla. Stat. § 1283. Therefore, if you want to have your gun rights restored, you must obtain a pardon.
Hiring a lawyer to Obtain a Pardon for you in Oklahoma, so you can have your gun rights restored
You do not technically need a lawyer to handle your pardon application. You can do it yourself, and the forms are online.
However, you may certainly have a lawyer perform this service for you, and we would advise this as the better decision. The pardon process can take over a year or more. And an application can be denied for minor errors in the forms.
What if you are still denied a firearm purchase by the gun dealer after getting a pardon?
While this would not be proper, it is not unhead of. In fact, many people every year and every day in Oklahoma are denied by gun dealers from legal purchases.
Why? Because gun shops are concerned about their own liability and fear of federal prosecution. And they often take an overly cautious approach before selling firearms. Which means sometimes the gun shop will refuse to sell you a gun even if you are legally qualified to purchase one.
Do you still need an expungement to protect your gun rights?
You technically do not need an expungement to restore your gun rights lost due to felony conviction. But it never hurts to have a clean record.
As an example, every time you go to purchase a firearm, they will see your record. Even if you have a Certificate of Pardon, the seller may be hesitant to perform the transaction for fear of federal prosecution or loss of their FFL Class 3 license.
While not technically correct, this happens every day. Citizens are denied their right to lawfully purchase because of errors made in interpreting information on the background check.
The sure fire way to prevent this from happening is to take matters into your own hands. Prevent the situation from happening in the first place by erasing your criminal record.
Hiring an Oklahoma lawyer for both an expungement and a pardon
You can hire a lawyer to perform both the expungement and the pardon. Or just the expungement or just the pardon. It does not matter which one you do first. You can do one or the other, or both.
Need more information? Call or text 405-724-8112
If you would like more information about the pardon process or about getting an expungement in Oklahoma, please call or text our office at 405-724-8112. You may also complete this form online and we will contact you to answer your questions or get started with the process.