9) What should I look out for when considering a gun rights attorney?
Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of gun rights restoration cases. As a result, I have noticed an increasing number of attorneys who, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, “handle gun rights cases.” While I am encouraged by the increase in gun rights restorations, I am troubled by attorneys who do not fully understand the ins-and-outs of firearm laws. Many times, these attorneys do not even understand the mistakes they are making. It is most unfortunate.
Consider the following when choosing your attorney:
Reviews. Reviews. Reviews.
Like almost any other profession, satisfied clients leave positive reviews. I consider myself incredibly blessed to have a multitude of positive reviews from prior clients on AVVO, Google, and Facebook.
Is the attorney passionate about gun rights? Does it sound like they are familiar with firearms and the modern gun rights movement?
For example, if an attorney uses the word “clip” instead of “magazine,” I doubt they are very familiar with firearms. If they do not know the difference between an FFL transfer and a private transfer, I would be very concerned about their understanding of firearm laws in general. If the NRA is the only gun rights organization they are aware of, I would question their familiarity with the modern gun rights movement. They might be a decent attorney, but it should give you an idea about whether they are truly passionate about gun rights.
The big, bright red flags:
- Guarantees: If an attorney gives you a guarantee, he or she is lying to you. Their confidence in your case may be 99% or higher, but they cannot give you a guarantee. In addition to the dishonesty, they are violating the rules of professional responsibility that govern attorney conduct and ethics
- Partial Restorations: This one is huge. If an attorney suggests that you might be able to get “some” of your gun rights restored, but not all of them, run—do not walk—run away! If an attorney suggests that it might be best to restore your rights to possess a rifle and shotgun (but not handguns), that attorney is a fool. Quite simply, they are wrong. They are incompetent to handle gun rights restoration cases. They should know better. You must find a different attorney. A partial restoration is a worthless piece of paper.
- Convictions from other states: If an attorney suggests that a Virginia court can restore gun rights after a felony conviction in another state, that attorney is completely and utterly wrong. Virginia courts can only restore gun rights for Virginia convictions.
- Confusing CHP reciprocity with honoring restoration orders: State-to-state reciprocity for concealed handgun permits is a commonly understood topic for most people. Reciprocity is completely different from the question of whether a state will honor a gun rights restoration from another state. If an attorney confuses the two, you should be very concerned.