New Jersey is already one of the most restrictive states for gun rights in the U.S. In order to obtain a gun legally in NJ, a person must first apply for a Firearm Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC). After getting an FPIC, one must then apply for a firearms permit. However, a person who has been convicted of certain crimes may have one or both applications rejected.
A criminal conviction does not have to limit a person’s ability to exercise their constitutional rights. New Jersey allows individuals convicted of certain crimes to expunge their criminal record if they meet the necessary criteria. In many cases, this can restore one’s right to own a firearm in New Jersey.
Crimes That Can Restrict Firearm Ownership in New Jersey
There are three main types of crimes that can result in a person being denied an FPIC or permit in New Jersey. This includes:
- Any indictable (felony) offense.
- A disorderly persons (misdemeanor) offense involving domestic violence.
- A weapons possession or use crime that results in a person being adjudicated a delinquent.
In addition, any person convicted of a felony or domestic violence act can be denied a firearm under federal law as well. Keep in mind that many crimes that are not considered domestic violence in New Jersey may be classified as such under federal law.
Lastly, even without any convictions on record, a person can be denied a firearm if he/she has been hit with a restraining order.
How Expungement Can Restore One’s Rights
When a person has his/her criminal record expunged, it isolates the conviction from the public and limits who can see it. Once a crime has been expunged, it will not show up in background checks and most law enforcement databases. In addition, with a few exceptions, a person can legally deny ever having been convicted of the crime in the first place. This includes on applications for jobs, housing, and firearms permits.
Thus, after an expungement has been granted, a person can now legally answer “no” when asked if one has been convicted of a crime, including on a FPIC application.
Keep in mind that if the offense triggers a federal restriction on firearm ownership, expunging the record DOES eliminate that restriction.
Are All Crimes Eligible for Expungement?
No. Not every crime that limits one’s rights to own a firearm in New Jersey can be expunged. Certain serious offenses, such as robbery, kidnapping, murder, perjury, and aggravated sexual assault, are not eligible to be removed from one’s record.
Moreover, it is possible for an individual to not be eligible for expungement at all. This can happen if the person has been convicted of too many offenses. For example, even if any single offense alone is eligible for expungement, a person can still be denied if he/she has been convicted of:
- Two or more felonies (stemming from separate incidents)
- One felony and four or more misdemeanors
- No felonies but five or more misdemeanors
Can an Expungement Help with My Restraining Order
No. These two things are unrelated. A person who is being denied a firearm due to a restraining order must aim to have the order removed in order to restore the right to own a gun.
How Can I Find Out if An Expungement Will Restore My Firearm Rights?
In order to determine if expungement of one’s criminal record will enable one to purchase a firearm in New Jersey, one must first:
- Learn what is on the criminal record.
- Understand which, if any, crimes will restrict the right to own a gun.
- Determine if one is eligible for an expungement.
While a person can do all of that on their own, it is much easier (and faster) when done with the help of an experienced attorney. A professional expungement attorney can walk a person through the process, quickly determine eligibility, and even handle all of the necessary paperwork. If a hearing with a judge is needed then the attorney can appear in court to make arguments on the client’s behalf.
If you or someone you love is concerned about the impact a criminal record is having on your life, consult with an attorney right away. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law are skilled criminal defense and expungement attorneys with experience helping people defend their rights. Email the Rosenblum Law or call 888-815-3649 today for a free consultation about your case.