Did you know that if you are involuntarily (or voluntarily) committed for any mental health reason, you may be denied a firearm permit? In North Carolina, an in-patient commitment due to mental health causes may result in the revocation of your 2nd amendment rights. Under our state law, mental health commitment(s) such as these may prohibit you from purchasing a firearm, unless your rights are restored
Legally Obtaining a Firearm After Commitment In a Mental Health Institution
Once a person is committed into a mental health facility, there is a civil “disability” placed on their record, which prevents such persons under this disability to obtain a permit to purchase a firearm. However, one can petition to have this civil disability removed.
How to Petition to Restore Gun Rights After Mental Health Commitment
Petitioning for the restoration of gun rights involves formal documentation and hearing. This process begin with filing a petition in the county where the person resides or where the latest commitment took place. Before the petition is filed, it is important to seek a copy of the commitment documents in order to obtain the necessary information necessary for the petition, such as the date(s) and location(s) of commitment, and sufficiently prepare for the next step: The hearing.
Step 1: Petitioning for Restoration of Rights
Commitment files are not public record, and such files may only be released per court order. An experienced attorney can prove helpful in this process. Upon filing a petition, notice is sent to the district attorney and to every facility and/or treatment center relating to the commitment.
Step 2: Preparation for the Hearing
A hearing is then scheduled before a District Court Judge. The petitioner carries the burden of proving that the civil disability should be removed. This is done by showing that the petitioner will not likely act in a manner dangerous to public safety and that granting relief would not be contrary to public policy.
What If I Was Never Actually Committed? (Mistaken Identity)
Note that in rare cases of mistaken identity, one may discover that they have a commitment record, but have never actually been committed, neither voluntarily or involuntarily. There is still somewhat of a rebuttable presumption in a situation like this that the petitioner was in fact the one linked to such record, but the petitioner can rebut that presumption by evidence to the contrary – often by affidavits of health care physicians and witness testimony. In such a situation, the process can be long and difficult – but not impossible!
Kirk, Kirk, Howell, Cutler & Thomas understands the hardship such a record can cause and the frustration of it being linked to their person by mistake. We have experience in assisting clients in mistaken identity situations and are seasoned in dealing with cases that require clearing such an impactful discrepancy.
Bottom Line: Regaining Your 2nd Amendment Right to Bear Arms After Mental Health Commitment
It is important to prepare for these hearings, regardless of the situation, and be ready to present favorable evidence. That is why having a gun rights restoration attorney assist you at the hearing can be quite beneficial. Our civil and Constitutional law attorneys are knowledgeable about the process and what evidence is most advantageous.
Contact an Attorney to Help Restore Your Gun Rights
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