There are certain individuals who, under federal law, are not allowed to own a gun. This includes convicts and those with restraining orders against them. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at who may not own a gun under federal law.
You May Not Own a Gun If You Have Been Convicted of a Felony
Purchasing a firearm is a privilege for law abiding citizens in the United States, but if an individual has been convicted of a felony—at either the federal or state level—their right to purchase and own a gun is revoked. This ban on firearm ownership due to criminal convictions is mandated by law federally and may be further regulated by state governments, so it's important to understand your local restrictions. The law applies even if the conviction occurred before federal or state laws went into effect that forbid felons from owning firearms; individuals should be aware of this policy, as well as their rights concerning prohibited possession and use of guns within their jurisdiction.
You May Not Own a Gun If You Are Subject to a Domestic Violence Restraining Order
Keeping firearms out of the hands of potentially dangerous individuals is a priority under the law. Anyone subject to a domestic violence restraining order may not legally possess a gun, at least until the claims against them have been disproven.
You May Not Own a Gun If You Have Been Involuntarily Committed to a Mental Institution
18 U.S.C. § 9229(d) makes it unlawful to own, possess, or sell a firearm or ammunition if you have been committed to a mental institution. In Massachusetts, Ch. 140 Section 1301 expands on this to state that persons who meet any of the following criteria will not be permitted to possess a firearm:
- has been committed to a hospital or institution for mental illness and/or substance / alcohol abuse in the past 5 years;
- has been committed to a hospital or institution for mental illness by court order;
- has been named by the probate court as an incapacitated person lacking mental capacity and appointed a guardian or conservator.
You May Not Own a Gun If You Are an Illegal Immigrant
Illegal immigrants living in the United States are prohibited from owning firearms. This restriction originates from federal and state firearm laws, which have been established to help protect citizens of the United States. Illegal immigrants are not legally permitted to buy, own, or use any firearms because they do not have permission to be present within the boundaries of the United States. Owning a gun as an illegal immigrant in the U.S. can carry significant consequences, including fines, criminal charges, and deportation.
In addition, any person who purchases or attempts to purchase a firearm on behalf of an illegal immigrant could face criminal prosecution as well.
You May Not Own a Gun If You Are Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol
Any individual with an addiction to drugs or alcohol—whether it be prescription painkillers, or illicitly obtained substances—is ineligible for gun ownership. If an individual is known to struggle with drug addiction or alcoholism, the U.S. government has determined that their ability to responsibly own and operate a firearm is significantly diminished by their substance abuse problem.
You May Not Own a Gun If You Have Renounced Your U.S. Citizenship
It is important to note that giving up your U.S. citizenship could have civil implications regarding firearm ownership. An individual whose U.S. citizenship has been renounced is subject to the same rules and regulations regarding firearm ownership as a non-U.S. citizen, which often involves different legal requirements than those imposed on citizens of the United States. In most cases, non-citizens are forbidden from possessing firearms in the United States, regardless of whether they have legally entered the country or not; therefore, it is critical that an individual considers all potential ramifications before surrendering their U.S. citizenship if they wish to exercise gun ownership at any point in their future life paths.
Protect Your Right to Bear Arms: Contact Brad Bailey Law
While the right to bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment, there are a number of restrictions on who may own firearms. The above list summarizes some of these restrictions, but it is not exhaustive. If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to own a gun, please contact an attorney at Braid Bailey Law today: (617) 500-0252.