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First offender felon in Georgia, Am I able to purchase/own a firearm legally?

Atlanta, GA |

First offender felon in Georgia, sentence and probation was completed a few years ago. Am I able to purchase/own a firearm legally? If so, am I able to have a carry permit? If not, what do i do to become elligible for firearm ownership?

Attorney Answers 4


No. There is a federal statute that strictly forbids any felon from possession a firearm or even ammunition (even one round can be charged as a crime). It doesn't matter what the law is in Georgia, Virginia, or any other state. The federal law preempts those laws.

I am licensed to practice law in VA, not your state. As such, I may be unaware of certain state laws; therefore, my response may be wrong or irrelevant. Please use my response for informational purposes only and contact a local attorney for legal advice.

Good luck.

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Benjamin David Goldberg

Benjamin David Goldberg


Under GA law, if someone successfully completes a sentence under what is called the First Offender Act, even a felony sentence, they come out of the case without a conviction. Thus, they can own firearms after their sentence expires.

James Donald Garrett

James Donald Garrett


Nice to know. Thank you for the correction; I didn't understand that he would not suffer a conviction. This is why I include my "ignorant lawyer" disclaimer and tell people to seek local counsel.


So long as you successfully completed the first offender probation, you don't otherwise have any felony convictions and you don't have any domestic violence convictions, yes, you can legally purchase and possess firearms.

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Yes you can.

18 USC 921 reads "What constitutes a conviction of such a crime shall be determined in accordance with the law of the jurisdiction in which the proceedings were held. 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."

In other words, the Feds defer to the States to determine who is and isn't a "felon" for purposes of 18 USC 922. So if your First Offender plea was completed without adjudication, Georgia doesn't consider you a felon and therefore the US government doesn't either (for purposes of 18 USC 922, at least).

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The answer to your question is generally "yes." However, there are some offenses, example family violence that precludes purchase of a firearm even if completed under first offender act.

The information contained on this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from this site, clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the state of Georgia. Carl S. Cansino

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