People make mistakes, but these mistakes shouldn’t define them for a lifetime. The concept of expungement offers a legal pathway to redemption, enabling individuals to move past their criminal records once they have either been cleared of their charges or served their sentences, meeting all necessary guidelines that follow.

We’ve talked in the past about getting your criminal record expunged in Indiana, but a common question that comes up following the expungement of a criminal record in Indiana is whether or not this restores the right to own a firearm. If someone has been convicted of a crime, such as domestic battery, which leads to the loss of gun rights in Indiana, will expungement help in reclaiming those rights?

Getting Your Gun Rights Back After Expungement

When convicted of a crime, both federal and state laws govern your gun rights and whether or not you retain them. Fortunately, at the federal level, an expunged crime is no longer considered a conviction in relation to the individual’s gun rights. This means there would be no federal barrier to owning a firearm after the relevant charge is expunged, so we would only need to consider the Indiana Code for further gun ownership rights.

For crimes not related to domestic violence, expungement effectively restores your gun rights within our state automatically. This restoration erases both federal and state barriers to gun ownership, allowing individuals to own and carry firearms legally, provided they adhere to existing gun laws.

However, the path is more complex for those with domestic violence convictions in Indiana.

Getting Your Gun Rights Back After a Domestic Violence-Related Expungement

For individuals seeking to restore gun rights after a domestic violence-related conviction, Indiana Code 35-38-9-6 (f) specifies:

“Expungement of a crime of domestic violence under section 2 of this chapter does not restore a person’s right to possess a firearm. The right of a person convicted of a crime of domestic violence to possess a firearm may be restored only in accordance with IC 35-47-4-7.”

Indiana Code 35-47-4-7 outlines a distinct procedure for applying for the restoration of gun rights, necessitating a waiting period of at least five years post-conviction. The court evaluates various factors in these cases, making it clear that restoration of gun rights in domestic violence cases involves additional steps beyond expungement. Those factors include:

  • Whether the person has been subject to a protective order, no-contact order, workplace violence restraining order, or any other court order that prohibits the person from possessing a firearm
  • Whether the person has successfully completed a substance abuse program, if applicable
  • Whether the person has successfully completed a parenting class, if applicable
  • Whether the person still presents a threat to the victim of the crime.
  • Whether there is any other reason why the person should not possess a firearm

If the court considers these conditions and rules in your favor, your gun rights are restored. However, if the court rejects your application then you are barred from applying again until at least one full year after your previous application.

Looking to Have Your Gun Rights Restored? Contact Blankenship Law

Navigating the legal pathways to restoring gun rights after expungement, especially following a domestic violence conviction, requires thorough legal understanding and strategy. Blankenship Law takes pride in guiding clients through these challenges, ensuring they are able to reclaim their rights and move forward. If you’re looking to get your record expunged and restore your rights to gun ownership in Indiana, contact Blankenship Law today.