Can I Buy a Gun in Louisiana if I have a DWI?
In Louisiana, an individual with less than two DWIs has a misdemeanor, which doesn’t prevent you from gun ownership. The only misdemeanor that prevents you from owning a gun is a domestic violence charge.
More than two DWIs, however, is a felony in Louisiana – and, as a felon, you’ll have your gun ownership rights suspended. If you are found in possession of a firearm while having been convicted of a felony will likely result in prison time and/or a heavy fine.
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What Charges will Prevent me from Owning a Gun in Louisiana?
Gun owners in Louisiana have to be at least 18 years old and must be at least 21 to apply for a conceal and carry permit.
According to Louisiana law, the following individuals are barred from gun ownership:
- Those with a domestic violence conviction
- While a domestic violence conviction is a misdemeanor in Louisiana, it is the only misdemeanor that prevents an individual from owning a gun
- Those with felony convictions
Can I Apply for a Conceal and Carry Permit in Louisiana with a DWI Conviction?
While Louisiana is an open carry state, meaning an individual can carry a gun that’s visible in many public places, a permit is required to conceal and carry.
Conceal and carry permits in Louisiana are much stricter than the laws governing general gun ownership. Individuals seeking a conceal and carry permit are required to take a basic training course, and those renewing their permit have to take a refresher course before being granted their renewal.
In order to be granted a conceal and carry permit in Louisiana, the following must be true for the individuals applying:
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- No DWI convictions within 5 years of applying
- No more than two DWI convictions total (otherwise the individual will have a felony)
- No felony convictions, including more than two DWIs
- A felony conviction bans an individual for life from being granted a conceal and carry permit
- A misdemeanor violent crime disqualifies the individual for 5 years from being granted a conceal and carry permit
- A dishonorable discharge means a lifetime ban
- Must be a resident of Louisiana
Make sure at least 5 years have passed since your most recent conviction if you are seeking a conceal and carry permit if you have two or fewer DWI convictions on your record. If less than 5 years have passed, your permit will be denied.
If your conceal and carry permit is denied for any reason (other than for a lifetime ban), then you’ll have to wait a year until you can re-apply. Processing of your permit usually takes between 90 – 120 days.
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What are the Penalties for Owning a Gun as a Convicted Felon in Louisiana?
If you’re caught with possession of a gun in Louisiana as a convicted felon before a minimum of 10 years has passed, you can face between 5 – 20 years in prison and a fine of between $1,000 – 5,000.
Since felony DWI isn’t considered a violent crime, the penalties usually fall on the lower end of the spectrum, but can still severely impact your ability to restore gun ownership in the future.
Can I Have my Gun Ownership Rights Restored after Being Convicted of a Felony?
If you are convicted of a felony, including having three or more DWIs, you can restore your rights to gun ownership. You cannot, however, ever be granted a conceal and carry permit, since a felony conviction permanently bars you from conceal and carrying. After your gun ownership is restored, you can still open carry.
The process to regain your gun ownership rights after being convicted of a felony in Louisiana if:
- The felony was not a violent crime
- 10 years have passed since sentencing
- The felony conviction has been expunged
Those who are convicted of a violent felony are ineligible for restoring their gun ownership. Since DWIs are not considered a violent crime, those who have been convicted of felony DWIs are eligible to restore their rights to gun ownership if the above conditions have been satisfied.
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Conclusion: Can I Buy a Gun in Louisiana if I have a DWI?
In most cases, a DWI doesn’t bar you from buying and owning a gun in the state of Louisiana. As long as you have fewer than two total DWI convictions and no felonies on your record, you can buy and own a gun – though you have to wait at least 5 years after your most recent DWI conviction if you want to apply for a conceal and carry permit.
Even if you have three or more DWIs and are now considered a felon under Louisiana law, you can restore your gun ownership rights as long as you wait 10 years and have the record officially expunged. For further information on the subject, explore the article Can I Buy a Gun in Louisiana if I have a DWI?