Having a criminal conviction on your record or pending domestic violence charges against you can impact your life on multiple levels. One way in which it can is limiting your ability to possess a firearm.
The 1968 Gun Control Act codified at 18 U.S.C. § 921 et seq permanently bars many individuals with criminal records from lawfully possessing a firearm within U.S. borders. Many states like Colorado have similar laws on the books that also prohibit felons from owning firearms. You may face criminal prosecution for violating this law.
Who do these laws prohibit from possessing a firearm?
The above-referenced law prohibits any felon from possessing a firearm. It doesn’t matter whether a defendant’s crime was a violent or non-violent offense so long as the offense was punishable by a year or more of incarceration.
This same federal law prohibits anyone subject to domestic violence protective order from possessing a firearm as well. The law also forbids anyone convicted of misdemeanors such as domestic violence, battery and assault from possessing a gun.
You should also know that this law applies retroactively, meaning that it prohibits those with convictions before its enactment from possessing a firearm as well, although it may not apply to someone who has received a pardon, expungement or restoration of their civil rights via another avenue.
How should you proceed if you’re facing weapons charges?
You shouldn’t assume that your life is over simply because you’re facing a weapons charge. Your freedom may indeed be on the line unless you put up a strong defense in your case, though. You’ll want to have an attorney that’s a strong advocate defending your rights when your life is in the balance.