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Understanding The Limitations On “The Right To Bear Arms”

By Eric N. Allen August 2016

While the “right to bear arms” is guaranteed by the United States Constitution, that right is not unlimited. The combined effect of both Federal and Indiana state laws result in a significant number of persons within the State of Indiana who are ineligible to possess firearms. Those prohibited persons or classes of prohibited persons include the following:

The Gun Control Act of 1968 1 establishes that it is unlawful for any of the following persons or classes of persons to possess firearms or ammunition:

1. A person who is under indictment or having been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

2. A person who is a fugitive from justice.

3. A person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance.

4. A person who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution.

5. A person who is an alien and is illegally or unlawfully in the United States.

6. A person who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions.

7. A person who having been a citizen of the United States has renounced his citizenship.

8. A person who is subject to a court order that restrains him from harassing, stalking or threatening another person (also referred to as a “Protective Order”).

9. A person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

Additionally, the State of Indiana lists the following classes of people as “prohibited possessors” of firearms, some of which duplicate Federal prohibitions:

· Serious violent felons (IC 35-47-4-5(b))

· Persons convicted of domestic battery (IC 35-42-2-1.3)

· Persons convicted of a “crime of domestic violence” (IC 35-41-1-6.3)

There are a few methods by which an Indiana citizen can regain the right to possess a firearm. A Level 6 or Class D Felony can sometimes be reduced to a misdemeanor. Indiana has an expungement statute that may, depending upon the nature of the crime involved, provide relief to those persons who find themselves ineligible to possess firearms. Additionally, those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence can petition a court to have their right to possess a firearm restored after five (5) years.

To learn more about Federal and State firearm law, and to ensure you are compliant with both, contact the attorneys at Allen Wellman Harvey Keyes Cooley, LLP at 317-468-2355.

1 18 U.S.C. § 922