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Ex-prisoners' Petition for Restoration of Firearm Rights Denial Reversed

On September 14, 2012, Supreme Court of Virginia considered two separately granted and briefed appeals as one because they represented the same question of law.

Scott A. Gallagher and George Junior Vanover had both received orders from the governor's office restoring their political rights, but excluding the right to ship, transport, possess or receive firearms. They petitioned the circuit court for restoration of that right, but their petitions were denied because the governor's order had excluded their firearms rights.

Gallagher and Vanover appealed to the Supreme Court. Combining both appeals as one, the Supreme Court stated the governors correctly exercised their constitutional authority by removing the political disabilities while denying the restoration of firearm rights because the circuit court and not the governor possessed the power to restore that right. Gallagher and Vanover correctly petitioned their respective circuit courts for restoration of their firearm rights. The Supreme Court concluded that the circuit courts erred in denying the petitions because the governors had not fully pardoned Gallagher and Vanover. The Supreme Court reversed both circuit court judgments and remanded the cases to the respective circuit courts for further proceedings. See: Gallagher v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 284 Va. 444, 732 S.E.2d 22 (Va. 2012).

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Related legal case

Gallagher v. Commonwealth of Virginia