Disqualified From Possessing a Firearm at the Federal Level

On Behalf of Thooft Law LLC

An individual can be prohibited from owning a firearm at both the state and federal level. At the state level the most likely reason is that the person was convicted of a “crime of violence” although there are other disqualifications as well. The remainder of this article will be focused on federal prohibitions on the right to possess a firearm and how individuals can challenge those prohibitions.

Who Is Prohibited from Possessing Firearms at The Federal Level?

The following persons cannot legally possess a firearm based on Federal Statute 18 USC 922 section G and N:

1) Persons convicted of a crime punishable by more than 1 year. This would include any felony convictions. Please note that even if a person pleads to a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor the prohibition can still go into effect if the charge was originally for a felony level offense which could have been punishable with over a year of incarceration.

2) A person who is a fugitive from justice.

3) A person who has been found to be an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.

4) A person who has been found to be a mental defective or has been committed to an institution.

5) Persons who are illegally in the United States or who have renounced their citizenship to the United States.

6) A person who has been discharged from the armed services under dishonorable conditions.

8) A person who is subject to a court order restraining them from committing domestic violence. This is also known as an Order for Protection.

9) A person convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, however, the crime must have an element of use or attempted use of physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon.

10) A person who is under indictment for a crime punishable by more than one year.

As you can see there are numerous overlaps between the federal and the state disqualifications. Please refer to the blog on Minnesota’s prohibition on an individuals right to possess firearms for more information.

How to Restore Your Right to Possess a Firearm Under Federal Law

There are generally three ways to restore ones right to possess a firearm at the federal level. The first is to directly petition the Attorney General or ATF for relief from the federal prohibition on firearm possession. The second is through an expungement if the person has been convicted of a felony offense at the state level. Under federal law the person is not considered convicted of the crime for purposes of a firearm possession prohibition if the conviction has been sealed or set aside through an expungement or pardon. And finally, the third way is to petition the court directly to restore ones right to possess firearms by showing the court “good cause” to grant relief. Any of these options can be complicated and it is recommended to have an experienced attorney guide you through the process.


In conclusion, an individual can lose their right to possess a firearm at both the state and federal level. With that said there are multiple overlaps and it is safe to assume that if you are prohibited from owning a firearm at either level you are likely prohibited at both levels (all though this is not always the case). Thankfully there are several ways to challenge this prohibition and attempt to reinstate ones right to possess and transport firearms.

The attorneys of Thooft Law have experience restoring these rights at both the federal and state level. Feel free to contact Derek Thooft by email at ThooftLaw@gmail.com or by phone for a free consultation and a chance to discuss your chances of restoring your rights.

About the Author: Derek Thooft is an avid hunter, outdoors man, and shooting sport enthusiast. As such the subject of firearm rights is personal to him and he continues to zealously advocate for his clients throughout Minnesota.