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Gun Rights Restoration FAQs

  1. I am a Convicted Felon. Can I Get My Gun Rights Restored?
  2. What is a Certificate of Relief From Civil Disabilities in New York?
  3. What is a Certificate of Good Conduct?
  4. Can I Get a Certificate of Relief From Civil Disabilities or a Certificate of Good Conduct if I Was Convicted in Another State or in Federal Court?
  5. Can I Get My Conviction Expunged in New York?
  6. I Have Never Been Convicted of a Felony, but I Was Denied on a NICS Check, Why?

I am a Convicted Felon. Can I Get My Gun Rights Restored?

The answer is maybe. If you only have one felony and you did not go to prison then you qualify to have a Judge or Justice in the Court in which you were convicted issue a Certificate of relief from Civil Disabilities. Depending on a large number of factors the Judge may be willing to issue a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities which will have the effect of restoring a convicted felon’s gun rights. However, if you have two or more felony convictions or went to State prison you may need either a Certificate of Good Conduct issues by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) or a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities issued by DOCCS. In either case the Department of Corrections may issue the Certificate but is rarely if ever willing to restore a person’s gun rights.

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What is a Certificate of Relief From Civil Disabilities in New York?

A Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities is a Certificate issued by a Court or the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision which restores a person’s civil right following a conviction. It can also be used to restore a person’s firearms rights. A Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities creates a presumption of rehabilitation and so can be used to obtain a variety of professional licenses following a conviction.

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What is a Certificate of Good Conduct?

A certificate of Good Conduct may be issued to a convicted felon who does not qualify for a Certificate of relief from Civil Disabilities due to having been convicted of more than one felony. A Certificate of Good Conduct has the same effect as a Certificate of relief from Civil Disabilities and is issue by the New York State Department of Corrections except that the Department of Corrections may choose to limit the Certificate of Good Conduct. Usually, they will limit it to exclude the restoration of gun rights. In order to qualify for a Certificate of Good Conduct you must complete a period of good conduct that depends on the seriousness of the crime you were convicted of. This period can range from 5 years for the most serios felonies to 1 year for a misdemeanor.

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Can I Get a Certificate of Relief From Civil Disabilities or a Certificate of Good Conduct if I Was Convicted in Another State or in Federal Court?

Yes. You may qualify for a Certificate of Relief or a Certificate of Good Conduct if you now reside in New York State.

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Can I Get My Conviction Expunged in New York?

New York does not expunge convictions, but it does seal convictions even felony convictions under certain circumstances. Generally, up to 1 felony and up to two convictions can be sealed once they are more than 10 years old. However, many felonies, such as sex crimes and violent felonies do not qualify to be sealed. It is important to understand that sealing a conviction does not restore a person’s gun rights.

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I Have Never Been Convicted of a Felony, but I Was Denied on a NICS Check, Why?

New York lists a large number of “serious offenses” that are misdemeanors that will have the effect of prohibiting you from buying or possessing guns. In addition, under the SAFE Act certain people with psychiatric histories are prohibited from buying and possessing guns. Federal law prohibits not only convicted felons from possessing guns but also anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence or has an order of protection issued against them. New York greatly broadens the categories of prohibited people.

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