Mental Health Gun Rights in North Carolina
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 illnesses 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 the ability to possess firearms, unless your rights are restored.
The civil law attorneys at Kirk, Kirk, Howell, Cutler & Thomas are experienced in this area and, in many cases, can help you regain your firearm rights in North Carolina.
A Brief Overview Of Mental Health and Gun Rights Restoration in North Carolina
The issue of mental health and gun rights is a complex and controversial one in North Carolina, as it is in many other states. On one hand, advocates of gun rights argue that mental health issues should not automatically disqualify someone from owning a firearm, as it is a constitutional right protected by the Second Amendment. On the other hand, those concerned with public safety and gun violence argue that individuals who are mentally ill or suffer from certain psychiatric disabilities may pose a risk to themselves or others if they have access to guns.
Overall, the issue of mental health and gun rights restoration in North Carolina requires careful consideration of the rights of gun owners and the need to prevent gun violence. With the help of a qualified lawyer and the superior court system, individuals may be able to have their gun rights restored if they can demonstrate that their mental incompetence is no longer a danger to themselves or others.
Gun Restoration and Its Requirements
The process for restoring gun rights due to mental health issues can be complicated and involves filing a petition with the court. Federal regulations define that an individual must demonstrate that they are no longer a danger to themselves or others. Additionally, the pursuant must take steps to address any mental incapacity that contributed to the criminal case where they lost their firearm ownership rights and were found incompetent in the first place.
In order to be considered for gun restoration through the North Carolina court system, you must:
- Hire a qualified lawyer who is experienced in gun rights restoration.
- File a petition with the court.
- Demonstrate to the court that you are no longer a danger to yourself or others.
- Present evidence of steps taken to address any mental health issues, such as outpatient treatment, therapy, etc.
- Provide documentation of any relevant court or treatment records.
- Attend any required court hearings and answer any questions posed by the judge to show reasonable cause to restore your gun rights.
Legally Obtaining a Firearm After Commitment In a Mental Health Facility
In North Carolina, individuals who have been committed to a mental health facility within the past three years may be prohibited from owning or possessing firearms. However, if the individual’s gun rights have been restored through the legal process, they may be able to obtain a firearm. In order to prove mental responsibility, individuals must demonstrate evidence of undergoing mental health treatment and that their mental capacity is sound. Only then can the restored pursuant have the lawful authority to purchase a firearm.
The process to restore your right to own a firearm includes the following steps:
- Verify eligibility: There is evidence that shows the pursuant is no longer of an unsound mind nor do they suffer from a mental condition that would put themselves or others at risk if they possess a firearm.
- Pass a background check: Background checks are designed to prevent individuals with certain criminal convictions or mental health histories from purchasing firearms.
- Purchase the firearm: Once the individual has passed the background check, they may purchase the firearm from a licensed dealer in North Carolina. The dealer will provide the necessary paperwork and documentation of the purchase.
Mental Health Facilities and Gun Rights Restoration
If an individual experienced involuntary admission or a voluntary admission to a mental health facility in the past, the court will likely require documentation and evidence from the facility regarding the individual’s mental health history and treatment. This documentation may include medical records, treatment plans, rehabilitation for drug use and substance abuse, and evaluations conducted by mental health professionals on behalf of the mental responsibility pursuant.
How to Petition to Restore Gun Rights After Mental Health Commitment
Petitioning for the restoration of gun rights involves formal commitment documentation and a hearing. This process begins by filing a petition in the county where the person adjudicated as a mental health risk 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 information necessary for the petition, such as the date(s) and location(s) of the commitment, and to sufficiently prepare for the hearing.
Step 1: Petitioning for Restoration of Rights
Commitment files are not part of the public record, therefore, such files may only be released per court order. An experienced attorney can prove helpful in this process. Upon filing a petition, a 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 nor 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 a record. However, the petitioner can rebut that presumption by evidence to the contrary– often in the form of affidavits of health care physicians as well as witness testimony. In such a situation, the process can be long and difficult– but certainly not impossible.
Mental Health Gun Rights Restoration FAQs
Can you buy a gun if you had depression?
In the United States, having a history of depression does not automatically disqualify someone from purchasing a gun. However, if an individual has been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, they may be prohibited from owning or possessing firearms under federal and state law.
Can you own a gun if you’ve been admitted to a mental hospital?
Under North Carolina law, individuals who have been committed to a mental health facility may be prohibited from owning or possessing firearms. Specifically, the law prohibits individuals who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility or substance abuse treatment center within the past three years from possessing a firearm.
What is the difference between buying and owning a gun if you’ve been to a mental hospital?
When purchasing a firearm in North Carolina, individuals are required to undergo a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). If an individual has been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility or has a history of mental health issues, they may be flagged during the background check process and potentially be deemed ineligible to purchase a firearm.
In terms of owning a gun, if an individual has been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, they may be prohibited from owning or possessing firearms for a period of up to three years following their release.
Can you buy a gun if you voluntarily go to a mental hospital?
The prohibition applies to individuals who have been involuntarily committed under a court order, as well as those who have voluntarily committed themselves but were later found to pose a danger to themselves or others.
Does being admitted to a mental institution by force impact your ability to own or buy a gun?
Yes, being admitted to a mental institution by force (also known as involuntary commitment) can impact an individual’s ability to own or buy a gun under both federal and state laws in the United States.
Can you get your gun rights restored if you have a history of mental illness or institutionalization?
Federal regulations state that individuals who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution or have been deemed mentally incompetent by a court may be prohibited from owning or possessing firearms. This prohibition is outlined in the Gun Control Act of 1968, which aims to prevent individuals who may be a danger to themselves or others due to mental illness or instability from having access to firearms.
In some states like North Carolina, individuals who have been committed to a mental institution may be prohibited from owning or possessing firearms for a period of time following their release. However, some states may provide a process for restoring gun rights for these individuals.
Bottom Line: Regaining Your 2nd Amendment Right to Bear Arms After Mental Health Commitment
Regaining the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms after a mental health commitment can be a complex legal process. In North Carolina, individuals who have been involuntarily or voluntarily committed to a mental health facility within the past three years may be prohibited from owning or possessing firearms.
Because of the various obstacles to restoring gun rights, It is important to prepare for gun rights restoration 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
If you have lost your gun rights due to mental health issues and are interested in restoring those rights, it is recommended that you consult with a qualified lawyer who can advise you on the best course of action based on your individual circumstances.
At Kirk, Kirk Law, our gun rights restoration lawyers have helped Raleigh-area residents have their right to bear arms restored following a commitment to a mental health facility. While it can be an overwhelming and daunting process, having a dedicated and knowledgeable civil rights attorney on your side can make all the difference in your petition to the court.
Contact us today by calling (919) 615-2473 to schedule a consultation about your case or get started by filling out the contact form below.
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