RESTORING GUN RIGHTS AFTER AN EXPUNGEMENT:
On July 13, 2023, a Missouri Federal Court ruled that a Missouri Expungement, under RSMo. 610.140, fully restores a person’s right to buy and possess a firearm. Before this ruling, a person who received a Missouri expungement it was unclear whether the Federal Government would restore individuals’ constitutional gun rights. However, in the case of Daniels v. US Dept. of Justice, the FBI must now recognize a Missouri expungement as legally restoring that person’s gun rights. Now an individual after successfully going through the expungement process may go through the federal process of restoring their rights to carry and purchase a firearm.
So, what does this mean for the newly expunged person who is seeking to purchase a firearm through an authorized dealer? Unfortunately, this is not an automatic process. Since the FBI is not a party to the Missouri expungement, the FBI will not know if the criminal record has been expunged. This is why having an experienced expungement attorney can make all the difference in getting constitutional rights restored, including the right to possess and buy a firearm.
Getting an expungement in Missouri Courts is only the first step. After a Missouri expungement attempts to purchase a firearm from an authorized dealer may be futile because there may still be a criminal conviction listed in the Federal Record. This is because a criminal conviction, although expunged, still appears on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) that the FBI utilizes. This is why an attorney with expungement experience will challenge the FBI’s record of criminal conviction, so constitutional gun rights are restored.
Fortunately, the attorneys at Twibell Pierson Criminal Law have successfully navigated this federal process and have restored the gun rights of several expunged persons. There are two options in appealing the FBI’s decision to deny you from purchasing a firearm, both of which Twibell Pierson Criminal Law Attorneys are experienced in.
RESTORING YOUR GUN RIGHTS AFTER DENIAL OF A FIREARM PURCHASE
In this scenario, an individual may have attempted to purchase a firearm after your criminal expungement. However, the FBI still denies the individual since they have no record of receiving an expungement. It is up to the expungement attorney to challenge this decision and submit proof to the FBI of expungement. Missouri law states that the Missouri State Highway Patrol shall notify the FBI, however often this isn’t done in a manner that restores an individual’s gun rights.
After a denial, the FBI will assign you what is called an NICS Transaction Number. At Twibell Pierson Criminal Law an expungement attorney will challenge the FBI’s denial of purchase using this number. To do this, we will send the FBI a copy of the signed expungement order. Furthermore, we will also submit to the FBI a brief legal argument explaining the unique situation and how gun rights are now fully restored and recognized after a Missouri criminal record expungement. Once this is submitted, the FBI will review the challenge.
Assuming the challenge is successful, the FBI will issue you a Firearm-Related Challenge Certificate to certify that our client is eligible to purchase and possess a firearm. Clients will need to present this to the firearm dealer that they attempted to buy a firearm from within 30 days.
The FBI will send our expungement clients a Restoration Letter explaining the decision in full. Although an expungement client is cleared to now purchase a firearm, the process of preventing future denials is not over. To explain, the FBI destroys challenge decisions within 88 days. In other words, 88 days after your firearm challenge, the FBI will delete your Restoration Letter and future firearm purchases will be denied. To be wholly restored in purchasing firearms, an experienced expungement attorney will open a Voluntary Appeal File with the FBI, which leads us into the second step of this process.
RESTORING YOUR GUN RIGHTS THROUGH AN APPEAL
To fully restore a client’s gun rights and ensure they will not be denied again, one of our expungement attorneys will open a Voluntary Appeal File (VAF) with the FBI. This is very similar to the process that is undertaken during a challenge ban, as explained above. However, in this case, we will need to submit clients’ fingerprints to the FBI.
Once we have submitted our application to the FBI, it may take a month or longer for the FBI to receive the appeal, review the expungement of clients’ record, and restore our clients’ gun rights in full. Nonetheless, by hiring Twibell Pierson Criminal Law, our clients can rest assured knowing that we do all this work for our clients and that our expungement clients will never have to communicate with the FBI or submit any of these documents on their own.