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April 21, 2022

Firearm Rights Restored in Tennessee for “Non-Violent Felony” Offender

“Can I get my firearm rights restored?” This is one of the most common questions we get asked. A recent case has expanded people who are eligible for their Second Amendment rights to be restored.

In short, you may be eligible to get your firearm rights restored if you have a felony conviction that does not involve drugs, a deadly weapon, or the use or threat of violence (unfortunately, “burglary” is considered a violent offense under Tennessee law).

In the case of State of Tennessee v. Jason Kevin Dedreux, the person had a conviction for Felony DUI (4th Offense). He received a “restoration of rights” from a trial court judge under Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-29-101, but the judge thought under current law, the person could not receive their firearm rights back (but could be restored of all other civil rights).

The Court of Appeals held that he was eligible for his firearm rights to be restored, because his felony conviction was not one specifically excluded from restoration of firearm rights by 39-17-1307(b)(1), which include: (1) “a felony crime of violence, an attempt to commit a felony crime of violence, or a felony involving use of a deadly weapon” and (2) “a felony drug offense.” Also, he was not convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, which is also ineligible for restoration of firearm rights.

If you have an eligible felony conviction, you may also be eligible to get your firearm rights back if you successfully receive a “restoration of rights” from a court. Common offenses which might be eligible include felony theft and vandalism, because those do not involve drugs, violence, or deadly weapons.

The recent case involved a Tennessee conviction, but you may be eligible for the same relief if you have an eligible conviction from another state.

Note that a “restoration of rights” does not actually expunge the conviction from your record, but you may be eligible for that through other means such as a pardon.

If you think you might be eligible to get your firearm rights restored and your conviction was in Davidson County, or you reside in Davidson County, contact the attorneys at Raybin & Weissman by calling 615-256-6666.