Eric David is a native Hoosier and with a broad range of professional experience in the US and China. He is a trained social worker and a licensed attorney in Indiana and New York.
Since finishing his undergraduate studies at Purdue University, he has worked for non-profits, government agencies, private firms, and international institutions.
In all his work, he is passionate about helping his clients solve problems and be the best they can be. Mr. David resides in Indianapolis with his partner and their two greyhounds.
RESTORING YOUR FIREARM RIGHTS IN INDIANA
Restoring your Second Amendment right to own a firearm can be a difficult, complex process. Many states do not allow you to restore your firearm rights, or they restore them so infrequently that it doesn’t really matter. Fortunately, Indiana provides three different ways to restore firearm rights, and they restore them often.
The preferred method of restoring Second Amendment rights in Indiana is having a felony conviction expunged. Expunging your conviction typically restores your firearm rights, while also removing your criminal record from public view and most background checks. If you can’t expunge all the convictions restricting your firearm rights, you may be eligible to reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor, or, as a last resort, you can seek a pardon from the Governor of Indiana.
Pardons are granted infrequently in Indiana, so we’re not going to cover that process here. Setting aside convictions is covered in detail on our Expunging Convictions in Indiana page, and felony reductions are reviewed in detail on our Indiana Felony Reduction page, so please visit those pages for in-depth information on each of those methods to restore your firearm rights.
This Information is for You
Since the majority of people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people may follow along and get the information needed to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we should be clear that some of this information can get complicated, and, in many cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
To help you understand your rights, our lawyers have developed a tool that can be helpful in figuring out your options. This tool can’t be perfectly accurate in every situation, but our lawyers have invested substantial time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.
You can get started by using our Secure Eligibility Test, or you can give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to see if our legal staff is available for a free consultation. Be aware that our staff is often busy with current clients and a high volume of calls and appointments. If you’re serious about getting rid of your record, your best bet is to take our Secure Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.
How Do You Restore Your Second Amendment Rights in Indiana?
There are three ways to restore your firearm rights in Indiana:
- Expunging a Felony Conviction;
- Reducing a Felony Conviction; and
- Obtaining a pardon from the Governor of Indiana.
Setting aside a felony conviction is generally the best way to restore your firearm rights, as it also seals your criminal record and helps in passing background checks. Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies to set their record aside. You can get more information about setting aside felony convictions on our Conviction Set Aside page.
The next best option for restoration would be to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor, using Indiana’s felony reduction process under IC 35-50-2-7. This method does not expunge your felony conviction, but it does reduce your record to a misdemeanor. If that felony was the only reason that your firearm rights were restricted, this should restore your Second Amendment rights. For more information on whether this is an option for you, please visit our Felony Reduction page.
Applying for a full pardon to the Indiana Parole Board is another route you can take to restore your firearm rights if you cannot expunge or reduce your felony conviction. If the Parole Board recommends your pardon and the Governor grants your pardon, your firearm rights will be restored if it has been at least 15 years since your conviction. However, please note that these pardons are very rarely granted.
Sex and Violent Offenses Prohibiting Firearm Ownership
You will not qualify to expunge your felony conviction or felony reduction if you’ve been convicted of a crime that would characterize you as a sex or violent offender as defined in IC 11-8-8-5. These prohibited offenses will almost always prevent you from restoring your firearm rights:
- Rape (IC 35-42-4-1)
- Criminal deviate conduct (IC 35-42-4-2) (before its repeal)
- Murder (IC 35-42-1-1)
- Voluntary manslaughter (IC 35-42-1-3)
- Kidnapping (IC 35-42-3-2), if the victim is less than eighteen (18) years of age, and the person who kidnapped the victim is not the victim's parent or guardian
- Criminal confinement (IC 35-42-3-3), if the victim is less than eighteen (18) years of age, and the person who confined or removed the victim is not the victim's parent or guardian
- Promotion of human trafficking under IC 35-42-3.5-1(a)(2)
- Human trafficking under IC 35-42-3.5-1(d)(3) if the victim is less than eighteen (18) years of age
- Child molesting (IC 35-42-4-3)
- Child exploitation (IC 35-42-4-4(b) or IC 35-42-4-4(c))
- Vicarious sexual gratification (including performing sexual conduct in the presence of a minor) (IC 35-42-4-5)
- Child solicitation (IC 35-42-4-6)
- Child seduction (IC 35-42-4-7)
- Incest (IC 35-46-1-3)
- Sexual battery (IC 35-42-4-8)
- Possession of child pornography (IC 35-42-4-4(d) or IC 35-42-4-4(e))
- Promoting prostitution (IC 35-45-4-4) as a Class B felony (for a crime committed before July 1, 2014) or a Level 4 felony (for a crime committed after June 30, 2014)
- Promotion of human trafficking of a minor under IC 35-42-3.5-1(b)(1)(B) or IC 35-42-3.5-1(b)(2) Sexual trafficking of a minor (IC 35-42-3.5-1(c))
- Sexual misconduct by a service provider with a detained or supervised child (IC 35-44.1-3-10(c))
- An attempt or conspiracy to commit a crime listed in this subsection
- A crime under the laws of another jurisdiction, including a military court, that is substantially equivalent to any of the offenses listed in this subsection
- Sexual misconduct with a minor (IC 35-42-4-9 ) as a Class A, Class B, or Class C felony (for a crime committed before July 1, 2014) or a Level 1, Level 2, Level 4, or Level 5 felony (for a crime committed after June 30, 2014), unless the person is convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor as a Class C felony (for a crime committed before July 1, 2014) or a Level 5 felony (for a crime committed after June 30, 2014), or the person is not more than four (4) years older than the victim if the offense was committed after June 30, 2007, or five (5) years older than the victim if the offense was committed before July 1, 2007; and the sentencing court finds that the person should not be required to register as a sex offender
Do “Serious Violent Felonies” Permanently Prohibit Firearm Ownership?
The Indiana Attorney General recently issued Attorney General Opinion 2019-6, making it clear that an Indiana expungement or felony reduction will restore your firearm rights if there is not another reason that your firearm rights have been taken away. However, a footnote in the Attorney General’s Opinion did bring some uncertainty. In footnote 4 of Attorney General Opinion 2019-6, the Attorney General makes mention of “serious violent felonies” and whether expungement of these offenses would restore firearm rights.
The Attorney General’s opinion says that “Indiana courts have not determined whether a person convicted of a serious violent felony, see Ind. Code Section 35-47-4-5, has civil rights fully restored by an expunction.” Since the definition of a “serious violent felony” includes many crimes that we do not view as violent, this is an important issue that is currently undecided. For example, dealing a controlled substance is listed as a serious violent felony under Indiana law. It is our law firm’s stance that the expungement or reduction of a serious violent felony does restore firearm rights, but it should be noted that this issue has not been decided by the Indiana courts.
Federal Firearm Laws
The federal Gun Control Act contains an exception whereby a person whose civil rights have been fully restored, without any firearm restrictions, meets the federal exception. In other words, if the State of Indiana restores your firearm rights and other civil rights, your federal firearm rights should effectively be restored as well. Most states automatically restore other civil rights such as the right to vote, serve on a jury, or hold public office, upon completion of sentence.
- who is a fugitive from justice;
- who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 802);
- who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;
- who is an illegal alien;
- who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
- who has renounced his or her United States citizenship;
- who is subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate partner;
- who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
The Gun Control Act also prohibits anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence from owning or purchasing a firearm. For your rights to be restored, Indiana must first take away your rights for this type of conviction (or any other). These scenarios can be complicated, especially for those that live in another state but have an Indiana criminal record. However, courts have uniformly looked to the law of the State where the conviction occurred to see whether the person’s civil rights have been fully restored. For more information on these topics, it’s best to consult the advice of experienced professionals.
Legal Effect of Restoring Your Firearm Rights
As long as you do not have any other reason for your firearm rights to be restricted, expunging or reducing your felony conviction should restore your firearm rights under both Indiana and federal law. There are different ways to have your firearm rights restricted under federal or Indiana law, and it is very important to understand why your rights were taken away before beginning this process. It should be noted that you can almost never restore firearm rights based on federal convictions.
Restoring firearm rights involves both state and federal law that should be handled by an experienced lawyer. The lawyers in our firm regularly handle complex firearm rights restoration issues, so a good first step in exploring whether you can restore your firearm rights would be to take our Secure Eligibility Test. Then, if appropriate, set up a time to speak with our legal staff about how to proceed.
What You Need to Do to Restore Your Firearm Rights
If you are tired of not having your firearm rights, reach out to us by taking our Secure Eligibility Test or by giving us a call at (844) 947-3732. Our law firm has helped thousands of people with criminal records move on in life, leaving many of the negative effects of a criminal record behind. Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to help you figure out what criminal record clearing services best fit your needs, and then help you accomplish your goals. Using our secure, confidential Eligibility Test is the best way to get the process started.
We Are Here to Help
Eastman Meyler, PC is here to help you navigate the very specific part of Indiana criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of an Indiana criminal record.
You can trust that you will get exceptional service from our law firm, as we have an A Rating from the Better Business Bureau, and prestigious attorney rating services such as Thompson Reuters and Avvo list our attorneys are listed as Super Lawyers and Superb Attorneys. Our law firm has attorneys licensed to practice law in all Indiana state courts, provides low price guarantees, and is here to fight for you and put your criminal record behind you!