Many individuals who have been convicted of a felony crime in Oregon no longer have the right to possess a firearm.
Often, the conviction was many years ago, yet its effects continue.
Luckily, many of these individuals may be able to get their firearm rights restored through the firearm rights restoration process in Oregon — even if they were previously convicted of a felony crime.
Individuals Convicted Of Certain Crimes May Not Be Eligible
Not every felony conviction leaves a person eligible to petition for the restoration of their firearm rights.
Those convicted of a Measure 11 Offense — an offense with a mandatory minimum sentence in Oregon — usually cannot have their rights restored. Examples of these crimes include murder, first-degree manslaughter, first-degree robbery and other offenses.
Additionally, an individual may not be eligible if they were convicted of a person crime involving a firearm, such as assault with a firearm or deadly weapon.
Many people enjoy hunting but can no longer do it legally because of firearm restrictions. Many of these individuals were convicted years or even decades ago, yet they still have to miss annual hunting trips with friends and family. They could lose out on the opportunity to teach their children how to hunt and use a firearm.
Fortunately, through the firearm rights restoration process, many of these individuals may be able to go back to enjoying the activities they were a part of prior to their conviction.
The Petition Process For Firearm Rights Restoration
Petitioners must file a petition in the circuit court of the county where they live. The petition is served on the sheriff or chief of police, who reviews the contents as well as the individual’s record to determine whether they believe the person poses any threat to public safety. Often, these petitions go through without opposition. There is frequently a hearing in front of a judge even if the petition is not opposed.
If there is a contested hearing, meaning there is opposition to the petition, it is necessary to present clear and convincing evidence the petitioner poses no threat to the safety of the community or themselves. Having good character witnesses can be an essential part of a contested hearing, showing community support and a strong personal support system.
A successful petition will restore an individual’s Oregon firearm rights. In many cases, an individual’s federal firearm rights are also restored through this process. Other times, only state firearm rights are restored. It is important to discuss this distinction and its legal implications with a knowledgeable attorney.
There Are Several Options
In all, there are several different paths to restoring firearm rights. An attorney experienced in this process can help you determine if you qualify for expungement, set aside, or felony reduction. Any of these processes may on their own restore firearm rights or may be a part of the petition process. They can also determine which level of rights restoration you are able to achieve.
Petitioning for firearm rights restoration is an especially useful tool for those who have been convicted of Class A and B felonies that cannot be reduced or set aside.
Talking with an attorney about options can help an individual find the right path back to lawful possession of firearms. A brief consultation can usually help you understand your individual situation and what options exist. Whether it’s for hunting, target practice, or personal protection, the right to possess firearms in Oregon is meaningful for many individuals who are eligible to seek relief. In a brief consultation, eligibility and costs can usually be determined.
How Soon After a Denial Can You Petition Again to Restore Your Firearm Rights?
According to ORS 166.274, you can petition for the restoration of your firearm rights once per calendar year. Theoretically this means as little time as a few days could pass between attempts if one petition was filed in December and denied. You could lawfully file a new petition in January of the following year. As a practical matter this would be unwise and likely annoy the court.
How soon to file a second petition after one is denied depends on several important factors. Before submitting a new petition, you should do your best to address whatever led to the denial. This may require some record clean up, new witnesses, or just more time without criminal trouble. Every situation is unique, so it is best to review your individual situation with an attorney experienced in rights restoration law.