Can an expunged felon own a gun?

Asked on Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013

I know that people who have been charged with felonies cannot own a gun, but what about people who have had their felony expunged? About a year and a half ago, I was successful in getting my felony charge expunged and was looking to pick up a firearm for protection.

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Michael Kennedy

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Monday, Apr 01, 2013
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If the conviction is a California conviction, the thing that attorneys try to sell as expungement, 1203.4, etc., is not a true expungement, and by its own terms, it does not restore gun possession rights. There is no true expungement in California. [There is a movement afoot, however, to attack the ex-felon with gun statutes on 2d Amendment grounds, since convictions cannot eliminate the enjoyment of fundamental rights without at least strict scrutiny analysis, and the current statutes do not come close to such.]

Scott Campbell

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Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013
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It depends on how your expungement was worded. The law says "Any conviction which has been expunged, or set aside or for which a person has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored shall not be considered a conviction for purposes of this chapter, unless such pardon, expungement, or restoration of civil rights expressly provides that the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms." 18 USC 921 (a)(20). If it is a straight expungement, you can get a firearm. If the expungement specifically says you may not possess a firearm, then you may not.