AG opinion: Indiana gun rights restored after expungements

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Indiana residents who’ve had felony convictions expunged from their criminal records are eligible, in most circumstances, to again buy and obtain a license to carry guns, according to an opinion from the state attorney general’s office.

The opinion issued this month says neither state nor federal law limits gun ownership or possession by former felons who have their civil rights restored through expungement. The opinion responded to a question from an Indiana State Police lawyer about the gun rights of people who’ve had criminal charges removed from their records by a judge several years after those convictions, The Times of Northwest Indiana reported.

The question arose because one section of Indiana law declares a license to carry a handgun “shall not” be issued to any person who has been convicted of a felony, even though another Indiana Code section expressly classifies someone with an expunged felony conviction as a “proper person” eligible for a license to carry a handgun in public.

The Indiana Legislature sought through expungement to give residents convicted of certain crimes a second chance by fully restoring their civil rights, including those to own a gun and hold public office, said the opinion from Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill’s office.

Likewise, the opinion said corresponding federal gun ownership restrictions on felons, except for domestic violence convictions, are lifted after expungement because Indiana law does not impose any additional firearm restrictions once a person’s criminal record is wiped clean.

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