Q: Are there any alternatives for relief from firearms disabilities?
A person is not considered convicted for Gun Control Act purposes if he has been pardoned, had his civil rights restored, or the conviction was expunged or set aside, unless the pardon, expungement, or restoration expressly provides the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms.
Persons convicted of a Federal offense may apply for a Presidential pardon. 28 CFR 1.1-1.10 specify the rules governing petitions for obtaining Presidential pardons. You may contact the Pardon Attorney’s Office at the U.S. Department of Justice, 500 First Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20530, to inquire about the procedures for obtaining a Presidential pardon.
Persons convicted of a State offense may contact the State Attorney General’s Office within the State in which they reside and the State of their conviction for information concerning any alternatives that may be available, such as pardons and civil rights restoration.
[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(20) and (a)(33)]
That's not exactly comforting news for the people of Pascagoula, Mississippi tonight.
In 1989, Michael Graham beat his attorney, threatened a judge, and subsequently blew his ex-wife's head off with a shotgun in Downtown Pascagoula. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He made news again in July of 2008 when Haley Barbour indefinitely suspended Graham's sentence, letting him out of jail. There was no explanation given by Barbour, other than that Graham was "quiet" as he worked as a trusty at the Governor's Mansion. While he was then free to go, Graham was still a convicted murderer. Well, guess what? Haley Barbour issued Graham a full, complete, and unconditional pardon today, which means the conviction is legally "no more."
Why does that matter? There are two major differences between Graham's legal status before the pardon and after.
First, Graham is now eligible to vote.
Second, Michael Graham can now buy another shotgun.