RESTORING YOUR FIREARM RIGHTS IN NEW YORK
You Might Be Able to Get Your Firearm Rights Back
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, New York law provides two different processes that allow residents to get back their Second Amendment rights.
As you will see in the information below, it’s often not that difficult to qualify to get your firearm rights back. With that said, just because you qualify for a Certificate for Relief from Disabilities or a Certificate of Good Conduct does not mean that a judge will agree to restore your firearm rights.
In both processes, the judge is given much authority in deciding whether to grant the certificate, and, even if granted, whether to include restoration of firearm rights with the certificate. Our law firm has successfully restored firearm rights for many New York clients, but it is important to understand that it can be a difficult, time-consuming process.
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.
Can You Take Back Your Second Amendment Rights?
In New York, there are two different methods to restore your firearm rights.
You can either have a judge grant a Certificate for Relief from Disabilities that includes firearm rights restoration.
You can have a judge grant a Certificate of Good Conduct that specifically restores your firearm rights.
Of the two types of certificates, our law firm has typically found it easier to restore firearm rights with a Certificate for Relief from Disabilities. This likely has less to do with the type of Certificate, and more to do with the fact that those who qualify for a Certificate for Relief from Disabilities generally have less serious criminal histories. Regardless, both types of Certificates can restore your Second Amendment rights.
- Do You Qualify for a Certificate for Relief from Disabilitiesexpand_more
It is relatively easy to qualify for a Certificate for Relief from Disabilities under New York law (COR § 700) if you do not have more than one felony conviction. When counting how many convictions are on your record, there are two important rules to remember: (i) multiple felony counts on the same indictment count as one felony conviction; and (ii) separate felony indictments with separate charges made in the same court count as one conviction, as long as none of the indictments were resolved prior to the additional indictments being filed.When Can You File a Certificate for Relief from Disabilities
You may apply for a Certificate for Relief from Disabilities at any point starting at sentencing. Although you can request one while being sentenced, your chances to get a Certificate for Relief from Disabilities are typically much better with more time passing since completing your sentencing.
- Can You Apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct?expand_more
The requirements to apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct are simple, and they primarily relate to waiting the required amount of time since you have completed your sentence and displayed good conduct within your community.How Long Do You Need to Wait to Apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct?
If you have been convicted of a Class A or Class B Felony, you must wait five (5) years since completing your sentence and must have displayed good behavior in your conduct during that period.
If you have been convicted of a Class C, Class D, or Class D Felony, you must wait three (3) years since completing your sentence and must have displayed good behavior in your conduct during that period.
Unlike many states, New York residency is not required to restore your firearm rights. However, if you do live out of state, there’s one part of the process that can’t be done in certain states. If you live in any of the following states, it will be difficult to obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct:
If you live in New York or any other state, you shouldn’t encounter the same issues in attempting to obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct.
Restoring your Second Amendment rights in New York can be quite complex, and the process can be lengthy and difficult to navigate without a lawyer experienced in these matters. Our law firm is happy to help guide you through the process and has restored firearm rights for thousands of clients.
- Federal Firearm Lawsexpand_more
Even if your Certificate for Relief from Disabilities or Certificate of Good Conduct restores your firearm rights, you must also not be prohibited from firearm ownership under federal law. You will generally not be able to restore your firearm rights if you have been convicted of a federal felony, or any misdemeanor or felony domestic violence offense. There are many federal laws that will prevent you from firearm rights restoration, regardless of whether you received a Certificate from a New York judge specifically restoring these rights. The following list of circumstances will federally prohibit you from firearm possession.
The Gun Control Act (GCA), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), makes it unlawful for certain categories of persons to ship, transport, receive, or possess firearms or ammunition, and includes any person:
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 or
who is subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate partner.
Legal Effect of Restoring Your Firearm Rights
Sometimes. A Certificate for Relief from Disabilities can be granted and restore your firearm rights, but the judge can also grant it without restoring your firearm rights. In most cases, the decision to restore your firearm rights is up to the judge’s discretion. If you are banned from owning a firearm under federal law, the judge cannot restore your firearm rights with a Certificate for Relief from Disabilities, and judges are hesitant to restore firearm rights when you’ve been convicted of a Class A Felony or violent offense. If you’ve been convicted of a Class A Felony or a “Violent Offense,” a judge cannot restore your firearm rights through a Certificate of Good Conduct.
In our firm’s experience, it is more likely for a judge to restore firearm rights when the conviction was for a non-violent crime that happened a long time ago. Some counties are also more likely to restore firearm rights than others. Judges evaluate your behavior after being convicted and are typically more likely to restore your firearm rights when you’ve led a lawful life since conviction and have a legitimate need for a firearm.
- Which Offenses are Ineligible to Restore Second Amendment Rights?expand_moreViolent Offenses Barring Firearm Rights Restoration
New York law does not allow a Certificate of Good Conduct to restore your firearm rights if you have been convicted of any Class A Felony, or any of the “Violent Felonies” listed below. Convictions for these offenses do not prevent a court from issuing you a Certificate of Good Conduct, but it will not restore your firearm rights.Ineligible Violent Offenses (Class B Felonies)
2nd Degree Attempted Murder (PL § 110/125.25)
1st Degree Attempted Kidnapping (PL § 110/135.25)
1st Degree Attempted Arson (PL § 110/150.20)
1st Degree Manslaughter (PL § 125.20)
1st Degree Aggravated Manslaughter (PL § 125.22)
1st Degree Rape (PL § 130.35)
1st Degree Criminal Sexual Act (PL § 130.50)
1st Degree Aggravated Sexual Abuse (PL § 130.70)
1st Degree Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child (PL § 130.75)
1st Degree Assault (PL § 120.10)
1st Degree Kidnapping (PL § 135.20)
1st Degree Burglary (PL § 140.30)
2nd Degree Arson (PL § 150.15)
1st Degree Robbery (PL § 160.15)
An attempt to commit any of the Violent Class B Felony Offenses listed in PL § 70.02 (see above)
Aggravated Criminally Negligent Homicide (PL § 125.11)
2nd Degree Aggravated Manslaughter (PL § 125.21)
2nd Degree Aggravated Sexual Abuse (PL § 130.67)
Assault on a Peace Officer, Police Officer, Fireman or Emergency Medical Services Professional (PL § 120.08)
Assault on a Judge (PL § 120.09)
2nd Degree Gang Assault (PL § 120.06)
1st Degree Strangulation (PL § 121.13)
2nd Degree Burglary (PL § 140.25)
2nd Degree Robbery (PL § 160.10)
2nd Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon (PL § 265.03)
2nd Degree Criminal Use of a Firearm (PL § 265.08)
2nd Degree Criminal Sale of a Firearm (PL § 265.12)
Criminal Sale of a Firearm with the Aid of a Minor (PL § 265.14)
Aggravated Criminal Possession of a Weapon (PL § 265.19)
1st Degree Soliciting or Providing Support for an Act of Terrorism (PL § 490.15)
2nd Degree Hindering Prosecution of Terrorism (PL § 490.30)
3rd Degree Criminal Possession of a Chemical Weapon or Biological Weapon (PL § 490.37)
Conspiracy to commit any of the above offenses
An attempt to commit any of the Violent Class C Felony Offenses listed in PL § 70.02 (see above)
Reckless Assault of a Child (PL § 120.02)
2nd Degree Assault (PL § 120.05)
Menacing a Police Officer or Peace Officer (PL § 120.18)
1st Degree Stalking (PL § 120.60)
2nd Degree Strangulation (PL § 121.12)
2nd Degree Rape (PL § 130.30)
2nd Degree Criminal Sexual Act (PL § 130.45)
1st Degree Sexual Abuse (PL § 130.65)
2nd Degree Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child (PL § 130.80)
3rd Degree Aggravated Sexual Abuse (PL § 130.66)
Facilitating a Sex Offense with a Controlled Substance (PL § 130.90)
Labor Trafficking (PL § 135.35 (3)(a) & (b))
3rd Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon (only (5), (6), (7), (8), (9) or (10) of PL § 265.02)
3rd Degree Criminal Sale of a Firearm (PL § 265.11)
2nd Degree Intimidating a Victim or Witness (PL § 215.16)
2nd Degree Soliciting or Providing Support for an Act of Terrorism (PL § 490.10)
Making a Terroristic Threat (PL § 490.20)
1st Degree Falsely Reporting an Incident (PL § 240.60)
1st Degree Placing a False Bomb or Hazardous Substance (PL § 240.62)
Placing a False Bomb or Hazardous Substance in a Sports Stadium or Arena, Mass Transportation Facility or Enclosed Shopping Mall (PL § 240.63)
1st Degree Aggravated Unpermitted Use of Indoor Pyrotechnics (PL § 405.18)
Conspiracy to commit any of the above offenses
Attempted 3rd Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon (but only (5), (6), (7), (8) of PL § 265.02)
Persistent Sexual Abuse (PL § 130.53)
4th Degree Aggravated Sexual Abuse (PL § 130.65)
Falsely Reporting an Incident (PL § 240.55)
2nd Degree Placing a False Bomb or Hazardous Substance (PL § 40.61)
Conspiracy to commit any of the above offenses
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