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Restoring my Civil Rights

Peoria, IL |
Filed under: Civil rights

18 years ago I took a plea bargain of Aggravated Battery in Illinois after a bar fight. I successfully completed 30 months probation and that was it. No trouble before or since. Now, how do I get my 2nd Amendment rights back?

The BATF Form 4473 says
"under the law where the conviction occurred, the person has been pardoned, the conviction
has been expunged or set aside, or the person has had civil rights (the right to
vote, sit on a jury, and hold public office) restored AND (2) the person is not
prohibited by the law where the conviction occurred from receiving or possessing

Where do I start, what forms do I fill out, who do I talk to? Thanks!!!!

Mr. Brinkmeier. I know that ex-felons in many states, including the state I live in (AZ), have had their rights restored and legally own firearms. I have found similar sites all over the web. So, my question wasn't "can" it be done. It was "how". Summarily dismissing a persons question out of hand doesn't really serve the nature of this web site and discourages others from participating. 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(20) provides: "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 [or implicitly as a matter of state law] provides that the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms." Can anyone else help me out in Illinois. Thanks!

Attorney Answers 4


Mr. Brinkmeier's statement that the "ban on possessing a gun is permanent" and is "not negotiable" is absolutely wrong.

Federal courts have repeatedly held that, in the case of state convictions, if the state grants a person a full restoration of civil rights, complete certificate of rehabilitation, or complete expungement, etc., that person is not prohibited from possessing firearms. This question is answered by looking to the law of the State of Illinois, not federal law.

I would suggest contacting one of the Illinois criminal defense lawyers listed on Avvo to determine if Illinois has such a procedure.

Curt Crowley
Jackson, MS Criminal Defense Lawyer

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18 USC § 1922 sets forth the federal restrictions on the ownership or possession of firearms. These include anyone who, such as you, has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year.

The ban on possessing a gun is permanent. This is federal law. It is not negotiable. You cannot lawfully receive, possess, ship, or transport a firearm.

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I have no idea why this MS lawyer is weighing in on this question.

First, federal law trumps state law on all Second Amendment claims. Any first year law student learns that.

Second, Illinois courts have - over the last 70 years - always held that the federal ban on felons possessing guns take precendence over any Illinois state court opinion.

Third, if you hire this misguided MS lawyer he will take your fee, certainly, and then will have to inform you that indeed under Illinois law the federal ban of felons possessing any gun is permanent.

CAUTION There are many lawyers out there that will take your fee up front and then magically refuse to refund your money when they find out that they cannot restore your gun rights. Beware of such attorneys as this one from MS that answered your question.

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1 comment



i just recently purchased my first hand gun LEGALLY, after 20 years of having a felony. I passed illinois and federal back ground check. i had my civil rights restored, this happens when the state you got your felony in removes the felony from your record.


Oh, and by the way, Illinois law is clear, you felony cannot be expunged. There is no HOW to restore your gun rights. It is illegal to do so.

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