Possession of A Firearm by Felon

Simple modern black metal gun isolated on white background, view from above concept

It is illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm in North Carolina. If you have a prior felony conviction and violate this law, you could be charged with another felony for unlawful possession of a firearm.

Felony Firearms Act Makes Possession of a Firearm by a Felon Illegal in NC

The Felony Firearms Act makes it illegal for anyone convicted of a felony to possess a gun or “any weapon of mass death and destruction” in North Carolina. The statute defines firearms as weapons, including starter guns, which are designed to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive. It also includes firearms with a muffler or silencer. Certain antique guns and weapons that cannot use fixed ammunition are not considered firearms under the statute.

Under the statute, you are prohibited from possessing a firearm in North Carolina if you have ever been convicted of a felony anywhere in the US.

Felony Firearms Act Updated to Include Complete Prohibition on Possession of Firearms by a Felon

Before 1995, it was only illegal for a felon to possess a firearm within five years after conviction or completion of their sentence, whichever was later. But in 1995, the North Carolina legislature amended the statute to apply to any felony conviction, no matter what state it was in or how long ago it occurred. The Felony Firearms Act makes an exception for people convicted of white-collar crimes for unfair trade practices, antitrust violations, or restraints of trade.

Penalties for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon

Felony possession of a firearm is a Class G felony, punishable by up to 47 months in prison. If there are aggravating factors in your case, you could face additional prison time.

You could also be charged in federal court under the Armed Career Criminal Act, which imposes a minimum of 15 years in prison for someone with three underlying state or federal convictions for drug offenses or violent felonies.

Defenses to Charges of Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Defending against charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm is difficult. But with assistance from an experienced criminal defense lawyer, it is possible.

Strategies for defending against charges of possession of a firearm by a felon include

  1. You were unaware of the presence of the weapon.
  2. The weapon was not yours.
  3. The weapon was found through an illegal search and seizure.

If you are facing charges for possession of a firearm by a felon, you need assistance from an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney. The Stowe Law Firm, PLLC, can help you navigate these charges and work to achieve a favorable outcome.

Seeking Restoration of Your Right to Possess a Firearm

If you have a felony conviction and want to have your firearm rights restored, you will first need to have your felony conviction expunged. An expungement (also referred to as an expunction) deletes your criminal record, making it as if the incident never happened.

While receiving an expungement in North Carolina is difficult, Senate Bill 445, which went into effect on December 1, 2017, makes it easier for people to seek expungement of their criminal record. Under the law, certain nonviolent felonies can be expunged, which can be a first step towards a petition to have your firearm rights restored.

To be eligible to seek restoration of your firearm rights, you can petition to have your firearm rights restored if you only have a single felony conviction that was not a Class A, B1, B2, or lower-level violent felony. In addition, you must have been a resident of North Carolina for at least a year and cannot have been convicted of certain misdemeanors since the felony conviction. You must also submit your fingerprints to the county sheriff for a criminal background check.

The Stowe Law Firm: Serious Representation for Serious Crimes

If you have been charged with possession of a firearm by a felon or need assistance seeking restoration of your gun rights, the Stowe Law Firm can help. Criminal defense attorney Ryan Stowe has earned a reputation as a fierce advocate and defender of his clients’ rights. He has extensive experience defending people accused of committing a crime and will answer your questions and aggressively protect your rights while providing the highest levels of professionalism and service.

The Stowe Law Firm is based in Salisbury, North Carolina, and proudly represents people in Cabarrus, Davidson, Rowan, Davie, and Stanly counties.

Learn more about the cases we handle, then contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.