Domestic Violence and Gun Permits

Most people know that convicted felons can’t own guns. This is based on state and federal laws that make it illegal for an ex-felon to possess firearms. New Jersey regulates the possession and use of concealed weapons, including guns and explosives; however, the gun permit application in New Jersey does not mention dismissed charges.

In the News

A New Jersey appeals court has ruled that a person who has been accused of domestic violence but has never been found guilty can still be denied permission to purchase a gun and keep it in his or her home. The New Jersey Gun Control Law (N.J.S.A. 2C:58-39(c)(5)), allows for firearms purchaser identification cards and purchase permits to be denied if there is a possible danger to “public health, safety and welfare.” A recent applicant was denied even though he had been acquitted of the 1998 domestic violence charge.
Some people might think that after 17 years, the domestic violence conviction “drops off” a person’s record. This is simply not true. Whether 7 years, 17 years or 70 years pass, a domestic violence conviction does not just magically disappear after any period of time.


The Law: Convicted Felons

New Jersey law (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-7) states that it is a crime for a person to possess a weapon if he or she has been convicted of any of the following:
domestic violence
• aggravated assault
• arson
• burglary
• escape
• extortion
• homicide
• kidnapping
• robbery
• sexual assault
• bias intimidation
• child endangerment
• certain weapons violations, and
• most drug crimes

What Now?

After reading all this, you’re probably wondering how a New Jersey criminal defense attorney can prevent you from losing your gun rights or restore your gun rights if you’ve lost them already. Obviously, it’s best to never lose your rights in the first place. Avoiding any conviction (especially those listed above) should be your top priority. So what if you’ve already been convicted…perhaps 17 years ago?

Expunged Records

The federal definition of domestic violence includes any use or attempted use of force, and any use or threatened use of a deadly weapon. However, there is an exception in New Jersey that restores firearm rights to those who have had their records expunged. Expungement of a record is the removal of a detention, arrest, trial or disposition from a person’s criminal record. This is also loosely referred to as “sealing of a record”. Expunged records include complaints, warrants, arrests, processing records, fingerprints, photographs, index cards, “rap sheets” and judicial docket records.

Obtain Legal Assistance

Gun ownership is a serious matter that carries significant responsibilities and keep in mind that record sealing is not automatic. Contact the experienced attorneys at Villani & DeLuca P.C. today at 888-389-9533 for your complimentary initial consultation.