How Do I Restore My Gun Rights In Oklahoma?
The federal government passed the landmark Gun Control Act in 1968, which made it illegal for anyone convicted of a felony in the United States to own a gun. Yet this law comes as a surprise to many people who’ve been convicted of non-violent crimes — and leaves many wondering how they can restore their gun rights. Here’s what you need to know.
Gun Laws in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has some of the most lenient gun laws in the United States. You don’t need a permit or a license to purchase and use a gun, and since 2019, anyone 21 or older can legally carry a gun, either openly or concealed, without a license. The State is even considering a bill that would change the legal age for this “Constitutional Carry” policy from 21 to 18.
However, there are some restrictions on who can own a gun in Oklahoma, including:
- People who have been convicted of a felony
- People who have been convicted of domestic violence, even as a misdemeanor
- Anyone who has an active Victim Protective Order (VPO) against them
- People who are not legally authorized to live in the United States
More specifically, there are strict rules for people who have been convicted of a felony, even if their crime didn’t involve guns. Convicted felons cannot:
- Own a gun
- Live in a home with a gun
- Ride in a car with a gun
- Participate in gun-related activities, like hunting
- Be in possession of a gun at any time
Essentially, even being near a gun as a convicted felon is a violation of the law, and you could face up to 10 years in prison.
How to Restore Gun Rights in Oklahoma
The restrictions on felons’ gun rights are tough, and the punishment can be severe, so it’s common to wonder how to restore your gun rights in Oklahoma if you’ve lost them. The only way to do so is to get a pardon from the governor. A pardon is official forgiveness for the crime you committed. While it doesn’t clear your record, it does restore the rights that are taken away from felons, like the right to vote, run for office, and own a firearm. It’s different from an expungement, which clears your record but does not restore your gun rights. It’s smart for felons to get both types of relief if they can.
It’s also smart to hire a pardon lawyer who can help guide you through the process to restore your gun rights, which looks something like this:
1. Apply for a Pardon
If you’re eligible for a pardon, the first step is to do the paperwork. You’ll need to make sure you fill out the application accurately and completely, and there are a number of other items you’ll need to submit along with it. Even this early in the process, an attorney can be extremely helpful. Check out our article “How to Get a Pardon in Oklahoma” for all the details on eligibility and the pardon process.
2. Attend Your Hearing
If your application is accepted, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board will investigate you through the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). If you’re approved, they’ll schedule a hearing where you can make your case to the Board. You can also bring a representative, and having an attorney speak on your behalf at your hearing can help maximize the chances of your pardon being approved.
3. Wait for the Ruling and Approval
After the hearing, the Board will either approve or deny your pardon. If approved, they’ll pass it along to the governor for final sign-off. The governor almost always follows the recommendation of the Board—it’s rare that a pardon is approved by the Board and denied by the governor.
4. Pass a Background Check
Oklahoma follows federal gun laws, which require that federally licensed gun sellers perform background checks before making a sale. The seller will run your information through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Keep in mind that even if you’re pardoned, you can still fail a background check for other reasons, like if you have another qualifying crime on your record, you’re under indictment, or you have a VPO against you.
5. Enjoy Your Gun Rights
There’s no waiting period, permit, or license required to purchase a gun in Oklahoma. Whether you go through a federally licensed seller or a private party, you’re now a gun owner. Restoring your gun rights also means you can be near firearms and participate in activities like hunting—a popular pastime in the state with the sixth most registered hunters in the country.
How Much Does It Cost to Restore Gun Rights in Oklahoma?
There is no charge to file for a pardon in Oklahoma. However, you must have paid all of your fines, fees, court costs, and restitution in order to be eligible. You may be able to have court costs and restitution waived by the sentencing court, but ultimately, you must have no outstanding debts that you owe to the State or to a victim of the crime.
How Long Does It Take to Restore My Gun Rights?
Because you’ll need a pardon from the governor, the process can be time consuming. The pardon process moves slowly because:
- The State is given 70 days to investigate your application
- The governor is given up to 90 days to process pardons
- The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board only meets once per month
Once your pardon is signed by the governor, the Board will be notified and will send you a letter. At this point, you should be able to pass a background check. Background checks are typically fast. They can sometimes be processed in minutes, so you don’t even have to leave the store. However, if the results are uncertain, an examiner will need to look at your case individually, which can add a few days.
The Bottom Line
If you’ve been convicted of a felony and you’re wondering how to restore gun rights in Oklahoma, an experienced attorney is the best way to get information and help with your case. Contact the Tulsa Expugement Guy for a consultation with one of our experienced pardon attorneys and give yourself the best chance of regaining your gun rights.