Restoring the right to bear firearms for clients with a past mental health commitment
Her world was crumbling. This marked the worst moment of her life. She was a professional woman with a marriage and a family. But a bitter divorce and a bruising custody battle had turned her once-perfect world upside down.
Then, at her lowest moment, her estranged husband had her committed involuntarily to a mental hospital facility. She was out within 72 hours, but the societal stigma threatened to last a lifetime.
All this misfortune was happened more than a decade ago. The woman had even gone to court to get the records of her brief, ill-advised commitment expunged. She thought she had put the ugly episode behind her.
She was wrong.
An unexpected denial of firearms rights
Recently, the woman attempted to purchase a firearm. She filled out the background check form, expecting it to be a mere formality. Instead, her application was denied. The Pennsylvania State Police still had the record of her mental health commitment in its records. It turned out that the state police were never made a party to the original court case to expunge the records.
Enter attorney Marc A. Scaringi.
The Scaringi Law principal has been gaining a sterling reputation as a fierce defender of Second Amendment rights for his clients. So Scaringi took the woman's case and quickly saw a less-traveled legal route toward getting her firearms rights restored.
As Scaringi tells it, he could have pressed to have the state police honor the earlier ruling to expunge the mental health commitment fr om the woman's record. But there was another, even more direct way to solve the problem and secure the woman's Second Amendment rights.
A less-traveled legal path to restoring firearms rights
Under Pennsylvania law, citizens with a mental health commitment in their past can petition a judge to restore their firearms rights, so long as they can prove they are no longer a threat to themselves or others.
"That is the tactic we took, and we were successful," Scaringi says of the case and the resulting affirmative decision about two months ago. "The judge restored my client's right to firearms."
It is called a firearms rights restoration hearing, and it is allowed for under Pennsylvania's Uniform Firearms Act. The process affords a judicial remedy for Pennsylvania citizens with a prior mental health commitment to receive a second chance at exercising their Second Amendment rights.
Legal relief for citizens with a past mental health commitment
"This is a form of relief," Scaringi notes. "You go into a court and prove to a judge that you no longer pose a risk to yourself and others, and you can have your firearms rights restored. I imagine not a lot of people know this."
In the case of Scaringi's involuntarily-committed female client, he had a psychological evaluation performed showing that the client did not pose a risk of harm, thus meeting the legal threshold for the judge's order to restore her firearms rights.
"The judge issues the order, and now my client -- who is perfectly healthy both mentally and physically -- now she can hunt and target shoot and what have you,'' he says. "It was a nice victory for us and my client."
It can be a victory for others as well.
Spreading the word in support of the Second Amendment
"Pennsylvanians need to know what their rights are and that they do have this particular right of redress. I know it and use it. But it is not well-known,'' Scaringi said.
"Instead of expending time and resources on an administrative appeal, we went directly into court and sought judicial relief, directly and immediately," Scaringi says of his lesser traveled legal route.
If you or someone you know has a prior mental health commitment and has been denied the right to purchase firearms, with the state police citing the commitment as the reason, there is hope and there is help.
Attorney Marc Scaringi, Second Amendment champion, can assist you in fighting to get your firearms rights restored.
To learn more about how Marc Scaringi can help you, email him at email@example.com