Samuel Eastman, Partner

Samuel Eastman


Mr. Eastman serves as the firm’s managing partner, and is licensed to practice law in California, Oregon, and Texas.

Sam has helped thousands of clients expunge, seal, and set-aside records across the country, and has a passion for criminal justice reform. Previously, Mr. Eastman represented a number of corporate clients, focusing on tax law, mergers and acquisitions, and a variety of corporate transactions.

Mr. Eastman earned his JD and LLM from the University of San Diego School of Law, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon.


Learn How To Get Your Gun Rights Back in NC

Restoring your Second Amendment right to own a firearm can be a difficult, complex process. In some states, there is no method to restore firearm rights, while other states have several different approaches for restoration. Fortunately, North Carolina provides more than one method of restoring your right to purchase, own, and possess a firearm.

The first step in determining whether you can restore your firearm rights is to figure out why they were taken away. After figuring out why your Second Amendment rights are being restricted, the next step is to determine whether it’s possible to restore your rights under current law, and, if so, what the best method is to do so.

Being convicted of a felony is the most common reason that Americans lose their Second Amendment rights. A felony conviction takes away your firearm rights under both North Carolina law by G.S. 14-415.1(a) and the federal Gun Control Act of 1968.

Many states, including North Carolina, allow you to expunge felony convictions and restore your firearm rights by directly addressing the felony conviction. If there is no other reason that your firearm rights are being restricted, your rights should be restored at both the state and federal level. This is the preferred method, as it also expunges your conviction from criminal justice databases and will almost always allow you to pass a background check.

If you can’t expunge each of the felony convictions restricting your firearm rights, you may qualify to use North Carolina’s Restoration of Firearms process under G.S. 14-415.4. This process will restore your firearm rights, but it will not remove the convictions from your record like an expungement. North Carolina law calls this process “Restoration of Firearm Rights,” so we’re going to refer to this process using this term to avoid confusion with other methods we’ll discuss.

If you do not qualify to expunge all of your felony convictions or to use the Restoration of Firearms process, you may also restore your firearm rights by a Pardon from the Governor under G.S. 14-415.1(d). It is typically easy to qualify for a pardon, however, very few people are granted pardons in North Carolina.

Expunging convictions is covered in detail on our Expunging Convictions in North Carolina page, and Governor’s Pardons are infrequently granted, so we’re going to focus primarily on North Carolina’s Restoration of Firearm Rights. Our law firm has helped thousands of clients restore their firearm rights, so if you are interested in restoring your firearm rights, please keep reading to see if we can help you understand your rights.

This Information is for You

Since most people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people can follow along and get the information they need to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we want to be clear that some of this stuff can get pretty 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 Secure Eligibility Test that can be very helpful in figuring out what your options are. This tool is no replacement for a lawyer in restoring firearm rights, but our lawyers have invested a lot of time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.

You can get started now 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 North Carolina?

There are three ways to restore your firearm rights in North Carolina, which include:

Expunging a Felony Conviction

Expunging a felony conviction is typically the best way to restore your firearm rights, as it also expunges your criminal record from all relevant courts and criminal justice agencies. Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies to set their record aside. You can get more information about expunging felony convictions on our North Carolina Conviction Expungement page. If you do not qualify to expunge a felony conviction under GS 15A-145.5, you may qualify to restore your firearm rights under G.S. 14-415.4 instead.

Obtaining a Governor’s Pardon

If you do not qualify to expunge or use the Restoration of Firearm Rights process, your only option is to obtain a pardon from the Governor of North Carolina. The requirements to apply for a pardon are typically very easy to meet, but they are almost never granted. Only 16 pardons have been issued since 2001, and they were all for actual innocence. For more information about North Carolina’s Pardon process, please visit the Governor’s Clemency Office website.

Restoration of Firearm Rights

The rest of this page is going to focus on restoring your rights using the firearm rights restoration process authorized by G.S. 14-415.4. This method of restoring your firearm rights is useful in situations where you do not qualify for a felony expungement, but it can sometimes be of limited usefulness since it has many of the same requirements. With that said, the Restoration of Firearm Rights process allows for the expungement of higher-level felonies and has a few less requirements than a felony expungement.

Do You Qualify to Restore Your Firearm Rights?

The basic requirements for North Carolina’s Restoration of Firearm Rights under G.S. 14-415.4 include:

  • You cannot have any outstanding warrants or pending cases;
  • You may only have one felony conviction or prayer for judgement continued (PJC);
  • You cannot have been convicted of a felony that includes assault as an essential element of the offense;
  • You may not have been convicted of a Class A through B2 felony and certain Class C felonies listed below;
  • Since being convicted of the felony that took your firearm rights, you cannot have a conviction for one of the ineligible misdemeanors listed below;
  • You must have been a resident of North Carolina for at least one year; and
  • It has been at least 20 years since you completed the terms of your sentence.
  • 1. The Felony That Took Away Your Firearm Rights


    To qualify for North Carolina’s Restoration of Firearm Rights, you must have had your firearm rights taken away for one non-violent felony conviction. However, you can have more than one felony conviction if they arose out of the same event and were consolidated for sentencing.

    Your felony conviction must not have been for a Class A through B2 felony, or a Class C felony that was for any of the following types of crimes:

    • An offense that includes assault as an essential element of the offense.
    • An offense that includes the possession or use of a firearm or other deadly weapon as an essential or nonessential element of the offense, or the offender was in possession of a firearm or other deadly weapon at the time of the commission of the offense.
    • An offense for which the offender was armed with or used a firearm or other deadly weapon.
    • An offense for which the offender must register as a sex offender under Article 27A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes.
  • 2. Ineligible Misdemeanor Convictions


    You are ineligible to use North Carolina’s Restoration of Firearm Rights process if, since your conviction for the felony that took away your firearm rights, you have been convicted of any of the ineligible misdemeanors listed in G.S. 14-415(e)(6) below:

    • Harassment of and communication with jurors (G.S. 14-225.2)
    • Violating any restraining order or injunction (G.S. 14-226.1)
    • Communicating threats (G.S. 14-277.1)
    • Stalking (G.S. 14-277.3)
    • Possession of a weapon on a campus or educational property (G.S. 14-269.2)
    • Carrying weapons into assemblies and establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed (G.S. 14-269.3)
    • Carrying weapons on certain state property and in court houses (G.S. 14-269.4)
    • Possession and sale of spring-loaded projectile knives (G.S. 14-269.6)
    • Carrying a weapon at a parade (G.S. 14-277.2)
    • Impersonation of firemen or emergency medical services personnel (G.S. 14-276.1)
    • Impersonation of a law-enforcement or other public officer (G.S. 14-277)
    • Obstructing an emergency vehicle (G.S. 14-283)
    • Rioting or inciting a riot (G.S. 14-288.2)
    • Disorderly conduct inciting a fight or other violence (G.S. 14-288.4(a)(1))
    • Disorderly conduct using an utterance, gesture, display or abusive language intended to provoke violent retaliation (G.S. 14-288.4(a)(2))
    • Looting and trespass during an emergency (G.S. 14-288.6)
    • Assault on emergency personnel (G.S. 14-288.9)
    • Throwing, dropping, etc., objects at sporting events (G.S. 14-281.1)
    • Furnishing poison, controlled substances, deadly weapons, cartridges, ammunition or alcoholic beverages to inmates of charitable, mental or penal institutions or local confinement facilities; furnishing tobacco products including vapor products; or furnishing mobile phones to inmates or delinquent juveniles (G.S. 14-258.1)

Federal Firearm Laws

Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Convictions

After felony convictions, the next most common way to have your firearm rights taken away is to have a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, which is a federal ban also contained in the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban. North Carolina currently does not provide a way to restore your firearm rights if they were taken away due to a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction.

Federal & Out-of-State Felonies

North Carolina does not currently provide a way to restore your firearm rights if they were taken away due to a federal felony conviction. If you have a felony in a different state, you should evaluate addressing the felony conviction in the state you were convicted instead of in North Carolina.

The Gun Control Act

The Gun Control Act, 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;
  • 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.

Legal Effect of Restoring Your Firearm Rights

If your petition for relief under G.S. 14-415.4 is granted, your firearm rights should be restored under both North Carolina and federal law. There are many different ways to have your firearm rights restricted under federal or North Carolina law. Please note that the felony conviction that took away your firearm rights will still appear on your criminal history and background checks.

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) 947-3732Our 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.

Restoring your firearm rights can be a complex process, particularly if you have multiple convictions in different states. It involves both state law and federal law and can take a fair amount of work to complete the process from start to finish.

Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to help you figure out what your best available course of action is, and then put you in the best position to restore your firearm rights. The first step is to use our secure, confidential Eligibility Test to get an idea of your options.

We Are Here to Help

Eastman Meyler, PC is here to help you navigate the very specific part of North Carolina criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of a North Carolina criminal record.