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Q: Restoration of US Citizenship rights following foreign felony conviction ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Restoration of US Citizenship rights following foreign felony conviction
Category: Relationships and Society
Asked by: astroguy-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 20 Sep 2002 17:02 PDT
Expires: 20 Oct 2002 17:02 PDT
Question ID: 67443
I am a US citizen prohibited from possessing firearms as I have a
conviction from another country for fraud for which I served a 2 year
prison sentence. Is there any way for my "citizenship rights including
the right to be able to possess firearms" to be restored in the US? I
have never been arrested or convicted of any offense in the US.

The Federal route via the BATF is blocked as the BATF do not consider
such applications because they say that there is no money in their
budget to do so. The only other route is of course the Presidential
Pardon and the chance of securing one of those is not worth the
enormous effort in making the application.

I therefore am investigating the State route. Does any State Governor
have the power to restore a person's citizenship rights (INCLUDING the
right to possess firearms) following their conviction in a foreign

The country in which I was convicted has no mechanism for restoring
such rights following a conviction, you are automatically banned for
life from owning a firearm in that country.

I am offering the fee to anyone who provides me with positive
information on the State(s) that I could accomplish my full
citizenship rights restoration through. Please include detailed
information on the procedure including contact information and full
procedural information.

Request for Question Clarification by weisstho-ga on 21 Sep 2002 11:40 PDT
A couple of questions, please:
1.  What was the date of your conviction?
2.  On what date did you finally comply with all conditions of your
sentence (parole, fines/costspaid, community service completed, etc)?
3.  Was "fraud" the actual crime you were convicted of - or was the
crime something more specific?
4.  In what state do you currently reside?  
5.  An analysis of all 50 states would be too huge an undertaking -
can you list, please, 3 or 4 states that you prefer?


Clarification of Question by astroguy-ga on 21 Sep 2002 12:59 PDT
Thanks for your response. The answers to your questions are as

1/ The date of my conviction was 10th March 1998.

2/ My sentence was one of 4 years and in the UK you serve 50% of one's
sentence before receiving parole so I served 2 years. I was released
from prison in March 2000 and completed Parole in March 2002. At that
time all conditions of my sentence were completed apart from that
country's lifetime firearms ban on all persons sentenced to more than
2.5 years of imprisonment.

3/ I was convicted of 8 offences, all of a fraudulent nature. The
exact names of the charges were "obtaining goods and services by
deception", "Obtaining money by deception", "conspiracy to commit
theft" and "theft".

4/ I currently reside in California.

5/ I would be willing to apply from any State in order to have my
rights restored and could establish and maintain a residence there
while the process was being completed. California, Florida and New
York would probably be the best states to apply from but if there was
a particular state that would be particularly easy to  complete this
process from I would strongly consider it.

Please note: I know of several states where the governor has the power
to restore citizenship rights in respect of out of state or foreign
convictions but without restoring the right to possess firearms. The
whole purpose of this question is to find a State where the governor
has the power to restore FULL citizenship rights.
Subject: Re: Restoration of US Citizenship rights following foreign felony conviction
Answered By: weisstho-ga on 21 Sep 2002 23:50 PDT

Thanks for your question. I must say that it posed a research
challenge, but I believe that I have gathered the correct resources to
nail down what you’re looking for. The short answer to your question
appears to be that residents of the following states, who have felony
records, can vote and possess firearms: Indiana, Minnesota, Rhode
Island, South Carolina, South Dakota. Utah, Vermont, and West

From the text of your question, you clearly have researched this well.
Your analysis of the federal law is spot on, but see my comments
concerning this below.

I am taking a different tack to your question though, than that posed
by you. I hope you don’t mind. You enquired about the “restoration” of
rights by executive (gubernatorial) action. During my legal career I
have been involved in these types of actions a couple of times, and I
must say that they are extremely (!!) difficult to accomplish,
particularly for non- or new residents of a state.

My approach was to find states where there are NOT the restrictions
that you are concerned about, which is to say, “where could a
convicted felon live and NOT be concerned about any restrictions to
his/her right to vote or possess a firearm?”  In these states, of
course, no executive action would be required.

The two rights that seem to be most in play for those with felony
convictions are the rights to vote and possess firearms. Most, but not
all states, now permit those with felony records to vote – 38 states
plus the District of Columbia, permit voting rights, though there are
initiatives in a few states to further curtail this franchise.

The right to own and possess firearms is much more restricted.  It
appears from my research that only 8 states permit the possession of
firearms by those with felony records. Another 6 states have qualified
rights, which may, or may not, apply to you.

The following states permit convicted felons to vote and to possess

Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

The following states permit convicted felons to vote and MAY permit
the possession of firearms:

New Jersey
North Dakota

Information on voting rights can be found here:

Information on “felons in possession” of firearms is contained in the
following list, by state:

Of all of the states listed above, Vermont would seem to be the state
with the fewest restrictions:
VERMONT:  Gun Laws in Vermont 
Background Checks 

Background Checks for all Gun Sales at Gun Shows: No state law exists
requiring background checks for all firearm sales at gun shows.

Access to Mental Health Records: Although the state maintains a
database of individuals “criminally or civilly committed” and thereby
prohibited from purchasing a firearm, Vermont statute prohibits the
database from being made available to the National Instant Criminal
Check System (NICS). Therefore, an individual who has been
involuntarily committed in Vermont can move to another state and
purchase a firearm.

Access to Domestic Violence Restraining Order Records: Although the
sate maintains a database of domestic violence restraining orders, and
those records are available to the National Instant Criminal
Background Check System (NICS), the Vermont Crime Information Center
advises that local jurisdictions sometimes fail to provide all the
necessary information for the timely input of the order into the state

Access to Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Records: Vermont law
enforcement and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System
(NICS) have access to domestic violence misdemeanor records for the
purpose of completing a background check.

Increased Penalties- Other Firearm Crimes 

Felon in Possession: State law does not specifically address the
prohibition of felons in possession of a firearm.

Straw Purchase Law: State law does not specifically address the straw
purchase of firearms.

Increased Penalties for Obliterated Serial Numbers: State law does not
specifically address the obliteration of serial numbers on firearms.
IN NEW JERSEY - NJ ST 2C:39-7 prohibits any person who has been
convicted in this state or elsewhere of the crime of aggravated
assault, arson, burglary, escape, extortion, homicide, kidnapping,
robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, bias intimidation,
endangering the welfare of a child, various drug convictions as well
as firearm offenses from purchasing, owning, possessing or controlling
a firearm. Violation of this section is a crime of the second degree
and upon conviction the person shall be sentenced to a term of
imprisonment of not less than five years during which time the
defendant shall be ineligible for parole.

18 USC 922(g)(1) prescribes:  “It shall be unlawful for any person who
has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment
for a term exceeding one year to ship or transport in interstate or
foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or
ammunition or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been
shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.”
The United States Supreme Court is considering a case this Fall, that
should be very interesting to you.
Thomas Lamar Bean, a federally licensed firearms dealer, was arrested
by Mexican border police in 1998 after crossing into Mexico with one
case of approximately 200 shotgun shells in his vehicle. Bean and
three associates had attended a gun show in Laredo, Texas, earlier in
the day and, according to court records, the group decided to go into
Mexico for dinner that night. Testimony by Bean's companions indicated
that he had instructed them to remove all firearms and ammunition from
the vehicle prior to departing, but the shotgun shells were
overlooked. Bean was convicted of a felony in a foreign country and
desired to have his ATF rights restored when he returned to the USA.
Bean was found guilty of 'unlawfully importing ammunition' under
Mexican law, a felony at the time. When he was returned to the U.S.
six months later, and after spending a month in a U.S. facility, Bean
applied to ATF under the "Relief from Disability" program to have his
Second Amendment rights restored.  As you have noted, ATF does not
have any funds to process such requests. Bean therefore applied to the
federal courts for relief.  A federal district court and the United
States Circuit Court of Appeals (5th Circuit) found in Bean’s favor.
The government appealed to the Supreme Court, who agreed to hear the
case this October.
Bean’s brief is a fascinating read on this entire question. You can
find the brief here:
ASTROGUY, I hope that this gives you the guidance that you were
seeking. If you would like any clarification at all, please click back
in and ask. I will be happy to provide it.

Search Strategy:
“felony possession of firearms”
right to vote
“Thomas lamar bean”
“right to bear arms” and “felon”
Subject: Re: Restoration of US Citizenship rights following foreign felony conviction
From: alanrosenberg-ga on 17 Sep 2004 22:12 PDT
actually, this is a question.... I was conviced of a felony,,
cultivation of 4 marijuana plants in 1980, served 3 years probation. 
in 1993, I reveived an order of termination and dismissal,,, I believe
section 1203.1.... this was  a long time ago and I try to (do) live an
honoable life.  I would like my rights restored includin being able to
own a firearm.

the incident ahpened in california ,,, I now live in washington state.

any comments?
Subject: Re: Restoration of US Citizenship rights following foreign felony conviction
From: weisstho-ga on 19 Sep 2004 20:07 PDT
You may want to consider posting a question to obtain specific answers
to your circumstances . . .

You indicate the word "dismissal" - Were the actual charges dismissed
after successful completion of probation, etc. as part of a deferred
sentencing arrangement?  This would be critical to answering the
question for you.


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