Earlier this week, Governor Dave Freudenthal (D) signed two important pro-gun bills into law.
House Bill 106, sponsored by State Representative Thomas Lubnau (R-31), was signed by the Governor on Thursday, February 26. This bill states that any individual deserving of an expungement is required to file a request no sooner than five (5) years after conviction. The judge would exercise discretion on a case-by-case basis. HB106 will be in compliance with the ruling of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and interpretations by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). Under BATFE’s current view, expungements cannot be issued solely for the return of firearms rights; only a full expungement will work to restore gun ownership rights. There have been cases where individuals have pled guilty and permanently lost their gun rights simply because they did not know the law. With the passage of HB106 individuals will receive their penalty, but after five years could petition to possibly regain their Second Amendment rights.
Governor Freudenthal signed Senate File 70 into law on Tuesday, February 24. Introduced by State Senator Cale Case (R-25), SF70 will require courts to inform citizens that a guilty plea on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge will result in the loss of their constitutional right to bear arms. In the past, people have lost their gun rights simply due to lack of understanding of the law. SF70 will give citizens “full disclosure,” requiring the court to notify anyone on trial for a misdemeanor domestic abuse charge of the full consequences of a guilty plea, namely the loss of their firearms rights. Every citizen that has the possibility of losing Second Amendment rights should be given “full disclosure” about the possible effects of a conviction.