If you enjoy your 2nd Amendment rights and own firearms, then you better be careful about getting a DUI or DWI. In many states across America, your right to own and bear arms could be revoked if you have one or more convictions on your driving record.
DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” DWI however, stands for “driving while impaired” or “driving while intoxicated.” The difference in meaning and severity of charges are different in every state.
Regardless, both are a serious offense with pretty steep consequences because it not only endangers your safety but also that of others in your car or other vehicles around you. It is important to note that these offenses do not only apply to alcohol and illegal drugs but also taking prescription medication and then driving.
Some U.S. states use one acronym to refer to an alcohol offense and another when it applies to drugs. In some cases, other abbreviations are used such as OUI (operating under the influence), used by Rhode Island, Maine, and Massachusetts, and OWI (operating while intoxicated).
State Laws Regarding Gun Ownership and DUI/DWI Convictions
Not only do you risk loss of your driver’s license, fines and even jail time with a DUI or DWI conviction but you can also lose your right to own firearms.
Although federal law protects your 2nd Amendment, each state has the right to limit further the rights of those convicted of specific crimes. DUIs and DWIs affect the rights of gun owners differently per state. Federal law does state that anyone convicted of a felony cannot legally own firearms. The federal law also prohibits drug users and abusers from owning guns, and a DWI usually indicates a drug problem for the offender.
Alabama revokes your 2nd Amendment rights if you are convicted of a felony DUI charge.
Arizona will limit your ability to own firearms if you are a repeat offender or if your DUI was aggravated or extreme. If you only earned a misdemeanor that wasn’t too serious, you should be ok.
In California, a felony DUI is grounds for losing your rights to own firearms for life. If you only get a misdemeanor DUI, then you can still purchase guns.
Colorado deems you “chronically and habitually use alcoholic beverages to the extent that the applicant’s normal faculties are impaired” if you have two or more DUIs or DWAIs in a ten year period and you will not be able to obtain a permit to carry or own weapons.
In Florida, you can still buy guns and ammunition with a misdemeanor DUI but if you are on probation from a DUI offense, you cannot.
In Illinois, if you have two or more DUIs, you cannot obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. If you are convicted of a felony, you cannot own guns or ammunition.
Unless your DUI is a felony offense in Louisiana, you will have no trouble purchasing and owning firearms.
For residents of Massachusetts, the question is more complicated. Even a misdemeanor OUI can suspend your 2nd Amendment rights in certain circumstances depending on the severity of the crime, if anyone was hurt and if it is your 3rd or 4th offense.
New Hampshire does not revoke your 2nd Amendment rights unless your DUI is a felony offense.
New York has an added stipulation to their gun control laws that to purchase you must be “of good moral character.” That means if you have too many driving infractions or a DUI on your record, you will not be able to purchase firearms.
North Carolina stipulates that anyone convicted of a DWI Aggravated Level One (a year or more in prison) cannot legally own firearms or ammunition.
In Pennsylvania the law is a bit more lenient and only if you have 3 DUI offenses in a 5-year period do you lose your right to own firearms. The only exception would be your 2nd offense and the severity. If your BAL (blood alcohol level) is .16% or higher, then you could risk losing your ability to own guns.
Tennessee residents should be aware that a DUI carries strict penalties one of them being you lose your right to obtain a permit to carry a handgun for five years.
Texas has very strict DWI and DUI laws and prohibits anyone with Class A/Class B misdemeanor offenses to own or purchase guns.
In Washington State, if you are convicted of a felony DUI, then you will lose your 2nd Amendment rights. Otherwise, you should be safe.
These are just some of the laws in states throughout the U.S. that penalize citizens for getting a DUI or DWI. If you value your 2nd Amendment rights, do not drink or drug and then drive.