Restoration of Firearm Rights
A person convicted of a felony automatically loses their firearm rights under state and federal law. If you have been convicted of a felony as described in VA Code §18.2-308.2, you may still be eligible to purchase a firearm if your rights have been restored under both state and federal law, as follows:
You have been granted a full pardon pursuant to Article V, Section 12 of the Constitution of Virginia, and the executive order does not place any conditions upon the reinstatement of your right to ship, transport, possess or receive firearms.
After having been convicted of a felony you had your civil rights restored (simple pardon) pursuant to Article V, Section 12 of the Constitution of Virginia and then been granted permission by the Circuit Court of the jurisdiction in which you reside or the court in which you were convicted to possess or carry a firearm (with no restrictions on the type or use of firearms).
You were convicted of a felony offense in a state other than Virginia, you have had your political rights restored by the Governor of the State in which you were convicted, or other legal authority of that state, and you have had your firearms rights restored (with no restrictions on the type or use of firearms) by a court or other legal authority in the State in which you were convicted.
You were convicted of a felony offense by a federal court and have had your firearm disabilities removed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
State restoration of all civil rights does not remove the disabilities imposed as a result of a federal conviction. The Supreme Court has held that persons convicted of federal felonies remain subject to the federal firearms disability until their rights are restored through a federal, not state, procedure. For more information concerning this process please contact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The removal of federal firearms disabilities imposed by a state felony conviction will automatically result where there has been a restoration of all civil rights; i.e., the right to vote, hold public office, be a juror, and an unrestricted restoration of a person’s rights under state law to receive and possess firearms. An example of a restricted permit is one that limits the purchase, possession or transportation of a firearm to rifles or shotguns, only, for the purpose of hunting.
If you have been granted restoration of your political rights from the Governor of Virginia, you may petition circuit court of the county or city in which you reside or of the county or city in which you were convicted, for a hearing to request restoration of your firearm rights. See Section 18.2-308.2 of the Code of Virginia. Please contact a court representative or visit the court’s website for further guidance in this matter.
It is your responsibility to furnish evidence of eligibility to the Department of State Police Firearms Transaction Center at Post Office Box 85608, Richmond, Virginia 23285-5608, fax (804) 674-2791, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For more information concerning the restoration of civil rights, please contact the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
- For more information concerning the Federal Gun Control Act, please contact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
- Virginia Code Section 18.2-308.2
- 18 United States Code Section 921(a)(20)
- 18 United States Code Section 922 (g)
- Beecham V. United States No. 93–445. Argued March 21, 1994—Decided May 16, 1994
- Caron V. United States No. 97–6270. Argued April 21, 1998—Decided June 22, 1998