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Five Years Crime Free for Firearms Restoration-But When Does that Time Apply?

Posted Thursday, September 14, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

A person with a criminal conviction can petition the Superior Court to restore firearm rights but one of the conditions is five crime-free years. But when do these five years without a new conviction actually apply?

This was the question posed to the State Supreme Court-Division One recently by Edgar Dennis III. Mr. Dennis lost his right to possess a firearm but then had no criminal convictions for 16 years. But in 2014, he was convicted of a misdemeanor. Two years later, he petitioned for restoration of his firearm rights, but the court denied the request, citing his 2014 conviction. He appealed and argued the statute is ambiguous. Mr. Dennis said the law actually means that any consecutive five year period without a criminal conviction is sufficient, even if he had one or more misdemeanor convictions within five years of filing the petition.

The Court declined this argument and held that the legislature’s intent was to require at least five consecutive conviction-free years immediately preceding a petition for restoration of gun rights. So the misdemeanor conviction two years makes him ineligible.

State v. Edgar Dennis III Division One-DIVISION ONE

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