Firearm Rights FAQs
The Process for a Petition for Restoration of Firearm Rights
When does someone need to file a petition for restoration of firearm rights?
A petition for restoration of firearm rights may be needed after a criminal conviction. Typically, a violent crime conviction will result in a lifelong ban of possessing firearms. You may be surprised at what Minnesota statutes consider a violent crime. For example, many possession crimes are considered violent crimes which could result in a ban of possessing firearms.
Where do I file my petition for restoration of firearm rights?
You’ll need to petition the same district court you were convicted of your crime in for the restoration of firearms in MN.
What statute is a petition for restoration of firearm rights filed under?
A restoration of firearms rights in MN is filed under Minnesota Statute 609.165. Under this statute, the Court may grant a petition for restoration of firearm rights if the person has a good cause. The person filing the petition must also not be in physical confinement.
What are the grounds a court evaluates in a petition for restoration of firearm rights?
In every petition case, it’s going to be entirely up to the Court. This is why you’ll need an attorney. As someone who has succeeded in what a court considered extraordinary relief, I understand what the court wants and needs to hear in order for you to stand a chance.
If you try to file a petition for restoration of firearms on your own and fail, you’ll have a waiting period before you can try again. Don’t think that all you have to do is ask. Presentation is everything if you want a shot at winning.
To give you an example, here is some of the language from a recent petition for restoration of firearm rights I filed that results in restoring my clients rights.
“Determining if the Petitioner has shown good cause is a mixed question of law and fact. Determining what facts the Petitioner has shown is a question of fact and determining if those facts amount to a good cause is a question of law. Under this standard, the Minnesota Court of Appeals defers to the district court’s factual findings unless clearly erroneous.”
Again, the decision is going to be up to the court. You will also not scare a judge with the threat of an appeal. I use the term ‘clearly erroneous’ because it’s another way of saying if the district court says there’s not enough good cause, the appellate court won’t get involved.
District court judges aren’t stupid. If they don’t wish to grant the motion, all they have to say is that good cause does not exist. Some rights the courts will evaluate in determining good cause are:
- Time since the conviction at issue in the petition for restoration of firearm rights
- Law-abiding behavior since the conviction at issue
- Successful completion of probation
- Lifestyle changes and other rehabilitation
- A need to possess firearms (i.e., employment or hunting)
The court will typically consider factors such as rehabilitation and time since the offense. They’ll also want to see character evidence from friends or coworkers showing that you’re as low-risk as possible. In the case I used as an example, the district court granted my client this “extraordinary relief”
If I have been convicted of another crime since the crime preventing me from possessing firearms, can it still be granted
Yes, absolutely. However, the impact of the new conviction will depend on the severity of the charge.
What happens if I lose?
As we already mentioned, if you lose there will be a waiting period until you can petition the court again. Keep in mind that if you’ve already lost once, the court may take the previous denial into consideration. They may do this on the record, or behind closed doors. Do not attempt a petition by yourself just to see. Hire an attorney to make sure it’s done correctly the first (and hopefully only) time.
Do I need an attorney?
Technically, no. As we’ve mentioned, however, doing it on your own will likely end in denial. There are many policies and procedures you need to follow. This includes serving and notifying the proper parties, as well as drafting the petition itself. Do yourself a favor and hire an attorney to petition for restoration of firearm rights.