I am a firearm rights restoration attorney in Michigan. In this article, I will discuss some of the reasons why I work so hard on these cases. There are some characteristics of a gun rights restoration case that are not immediately apparent to people filing a petition on their own or to attorneys who don’t regularly practice in this legal field.
Why is it important to thoroughly prepare a firearm restoration case?
Restoring firearm rights in Michigan can be tricky. First, the firearm rights restoration statute, MCL 28.424, does not require the presence of the local prosecutor. Nearly everything, all lawsuits, are adversary proceeding, which means two sides are fighting it out in court. Not so in firearm rights restoration. Most of the time there is just the judge and petitioner. Judges are used to two sides flushing out the necessary facts of each case. When there is just one party presenting evidence, the judge will get nervous. The Judge will think, “Am I getting the full story?” To ease the Judge’s mind, a petitioner must be thorough. A thoroughly prepared petition and presentation will convince the judge that he/she isn’t getting bamboozled. For example, one of the requirements of a firearm restoration case is the petition completed parole successfully. Sure, the petitioner may testify in court that he/she doesn’t remember any issues while on parole ten years ago. But is that convincing? Wouldn’t it be better to produce the petitioner’s parole discharge papers? This sort of extra step leaves no lingering doubt in the mind of the Judge. I tell all of my firearm restoration clients the same thing, “My goal with petition and brief is to prepare these pleading thoroughly so that anyone that reads the documents will not have any lingering doubts.” Although the statute doesn’t mandate a prosecutor enter an appearance, Michigan caselaw permits a prosecutor to challenge a Petition to Remove a Firearm Disability. My goal is to prepare the case to the point that if a prosecutor reads my petition and brief, he/she will not find something to argue in court and decide their time is better spent elsewhere. The Order to Restore Gun Rights in Michigan.
The order to restore firearm rights.
I have written on the dual nature of firearm rights, State rights vs Federal rights, several times. Visit my gun rights restoration blog. It would be easy for someone to restore their Michigan firearm rights and erroneously believe that their federal firearm disability has also been removed. This could lead to a federal arrest for a felon in possession of a firearm. No Judge wants to believe that they contributed to a person unwittingly committing a federal crime. Even the order is designed to make the Judge feel comfortable signing the order by prominently declaring that this Judge is not touching anything related to federal firearm rights. In other words, the order puts the Petitioner on notice that he/she may be prohibited from possessing a firearm by federal law. Call it a built-in “cover the Judge’s ass” clause in the order.