Can I own a gun as a H1B immigrant with a conviction?

I come from a NATO country and will be coming to the US next year as a highly skilled subject matter expert. I intend to eventually settle down in the US and become a citizen.

In the past, I was tried and convicted of possession of firearms accessories without a license. The sentence was a one year conditional discharge.

I understand it is not a crime of moral turpitude and obviously not a violent crime.

My question is whether this conviction would bar me from owning a firearm in the US. Does it matter which state I move to?

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Hello and welcome @Jay89
I would consult a US attorney in the state you will be resigning in after becoming a Citizen

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Gonna preface this with what @Karacal said and consult with a US attorney. That being said we had a case in Illinois where a judge ruled that illegal immigrants, so not H1B migrants, are allowed to own firearms under the 2nd Amendment. The judge did note that there was no prior conviction though and I’m also not sure if they take into account convictions outside of the US. My personal opinion is it shouldn’t matter but I wouldn’t mess around with facing a serious gun charge especially as a migrant.

USCCA did a video on the decision too. Worth watching imo.

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Thanks. I have some freedom in choosing which state I will be settling down in.

My company (4 employees, several sub-contractors) was doing R&D on small swarming drones in GPS denied spaces but my government contracts in my present country dried up after my conviction. Long story short I am winding down my business in my home country, and it left me with a pile of cash and liberty to choose which state I settle down in.

For commercial reasons, I would prefer a state with many aerospace and defense companies like Texas, as these would be my main customers.

For personal reasons, I would prefer a strong 2A state. As a good starting point are all states that allow open carry without a permit, more likely to allow me to have the RKBA if an attorney suggests that I need to appeal for the right in court?

I don’t want to settle down in a non-permissive state, invest time and energy with my own company established there and learn later I am not eligible even after I get a Green Card, to have the RKBA.

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Was your conviction overseas?

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@Jay89 Welcome to the community! As Karacal mentioned, consult with a US Attorney, and Texas would be a great State to settle in. If your conviction isn’t a Felony, you may have your record expunged, unless if it has no effect in the US since your problem occurred in another Country, a US Attorney will have those answers for you. Good Luck!

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Thank you all folks, and I’m excited to be moving to the US soon :slightly_smiling_face:

@Enzo_T Yes my conviction was overseas.

@Ronald150 I am not a lawyer but I don’t think a US court can expunge a record overseas, although they could declare it irrelevant. IOW they could probably declare that for my specific case this conviction shouldn’t prevent me from the RKBA.

The question for the lawyer is whether this needs to be even considered by a court, or because it was for a non-violent crime in a foreign country, it is not relevant.

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It sounds like you already have a pretty good idea of where to go then.

Texas would probably be pretty good. But I am going to throw in a suggestion that most wouldn’t. Alabama.

Alabama firearm laws are probably the most free in the Country. Plus Boeing has a huge presence near the Gulf, and Huntsville to the North with a huge aerospace program. Lots of defense contractors.

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For a start-up especially in my field, there is also the concern of the regulatory burden; which represents the resistance to be overcome in terms of getting permits/licenses to handle dangerous materials and materiel, upgrading security in the commercial premises, waste disposal, right down to paying the right taxes.

Naturally I intend to dot and cross all my i’s and t’s but as I have learnt, it is not the 99% of the laws that you obey that gets you, it is the 1% that you overlooked that can really throw a spanner in the works.

My American friends tell me to avoid California as the regulatory burden there for a start-up in my field would be onerous. Any other state recommendations in this regard? I’ll go take a look at Alabama as well.

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Larger than our Area 51? :grinning:

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As a non-citizen I probably wouldn’t have the security clearance to enter. Although as an alien, I might be invited in :sweat_smile:

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As an alien you won’t have no problems in Roswell, NM. :wink: :laughing: Town known for a UFO crash site nearby.

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Welcome, and if you are thinking Texas (very large Aerospace industry in several cities), here is a link to Texas DPS website on “License To Carry (LTC)”. Code 411, subsection H; should give you an understanding of the requirements and limitations, along with the aforementioned advice to contact an attorney. Cheers!

https://www.dps.texas.gov/section/handgun-licensing

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Prolly not. But you don’t have to be worried about being kidnapped by aliens and being probed.

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The issue with the law isn’t state, it’s federal. If the crime is considered a felony, then your RKBA is abbrograted. You definitely need to consult with an attorney on this. People have had past issues arise years, even decades, after they passed the background check(s) and obtained firearms, but a later background check, for a concealed carry permit/license or obtaining another firearm resulting in them then facing felony firearm possession charges.

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@Jay89 Welcome to the US from a fellow expat who’s repaid my adopted country’s kindness with gov’t service w/security clearance, etc. Best of luck and feel free to reach out if you have any expat related type questions.

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welcome @Jay89 something you might want to check out is Michigan Tech. in Houghton Mi they are big in R&D with the Federal gov. and they deal with a lot of internationals students so the whole ‘‘relocating’’ process has been ironed out . weather + summer temps mid 80s, winter snow [lots of it ]

mtu.edu

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Be careful about understanding the U.S. Federal law. It does not use the term felony. Rather, it describes the condition in 18 U.S. Code § 922 (g) as

(g) It shall be unlawful for any person—
(1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;

States vary on how they classify felony versus misdemeanor crimes, and this language avoids confusion on the intent of the federal law.
Further, note that the statute uses the phrase punishable by, not that the conviction resulted in a sentence of more than a year. If the court had the choice in law upon conviction to sentence, for example, to sentence for one to five years, and chose one year, then that sentence does not exceed one year, but the crime is punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year.

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Very true, thank you for the correction. I used the term felony because those crimes are punishable by one year or more in prison.

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Your one year assessment regarding the definition of felony is accurate. Many people are of the belief that a felony consists of sentences of a minimum of 5 years or more.

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