After you have been convicted of a felony, you often find that some of the rights you took for granted before your incarceration are more difficult to enjoy.
For example, if you had been used to visiting a gun range in the past and honing you’re your firing skills, you won’t be able to do so anymore. You also are wise to stay away from any facility that features guns or ammo. Also, do not participate in sports, like hunting, where guns are regularly used. This post will answer the question, “can a felon go to a gun range” with the following points;
- Possession of Modern Firearms is Not Permitted
- The 1968 Gun Control Act
- Why Any Kind of Gun Possession Must be Avoided
- The Definition of Possession
- One Firearm You May Be Able to Possess – A Narrow Exception to the Possession Rule
Possession of Modern Firearms is Not Permitted
Being in possession of a firearm can land you in prison, at least, another 10 years or, at most, a lifetime. A felon has to acquire possession of a firearm or gun in order to use it. Therefore, possession is defined as the means to exercise instant control of a gun or firearm, whether the weapon is on or around someone or they hold it.
Even if a gun is sitting on a table next to you, you could be arrested and sent to prison for possession. Therefore, you should stay away from a gun range entirely.
Even if you know some buddies who like to go hunting, make arrangements to spend time with your friends doing another non-gun-related activity.
The 1968 Gun Control Act
The 1968 Gun Control Act is a United State Federal statute that prohibits a convicted felon from possessing any kind of firearm. Some convicted felons have tried to assert their right to bear arms for sporting reasons and self-defense; however, the law remains unchanged.
The Law is the Law
Other people think that this type of blanket prohibition on owning guns is not reasonable. Some felons have not been convicted of violent or gun-related offenses. However, the law is the law and if you don’t want to add any more jail time to your record, you need to completely stay away from any facility or activity that involves the use of guns or rifles.
One Case in Point
One case in point was reported in a Florida on April 8, 2008. A convicted felon visited a gun range on Marco Island in Florida and earned a 10-year pass back into the penitentiary.
The convicted felon, aged 16 at the time, had previously held up a jewelry store with a BB gun and stole thousands of dollars in gold jewelry. After the heist, the youth was sentenced to three years in state prison. He was released in August 2006 to serve probation and the remainder of the sentence under house arrest.
By October, the youth had been charged with violating his probation by visiting a shooting range. While he was at the facility, he rented a gun and did some target shooting. The activity was caught on surveillance tape.
Because of his visit, the youth was sentenced to another 10 years in prison. However, that sizable term was far better than the term he faced for possession – which could mean a lifetime prison sentence.
Given this example, the law makes it clear that possession of a firearm is possession.
It does not matter if a felon does a little target practice in what is considered a safe and enclosed firing range. It does not matter if the felon owns the gun either.
Convicted felons simply cannot possess any kind of firearm.
The youth who committed the above-mentioned crime even used his driver’s license to rent the gun and practice his shooting skills.
Possession is a Serious Offense: Know the Definition
Law officials are serious about gun possession. Knowing how the law defines possession is a big clue-in that any kind of “gun play” can easily land you back in jail.
Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with gun laws in your state and on the federal level.
In the interim, make sure you stay away from any firearm activity or any acquaintances that own or use guns. It is not worth the trouble that it can cause for you, especially if you want to settle in a job and want to care for a family.
You Don’t Have to Commit a Felony to Lose Your Right to Bear Arms
Some individuals convicted of domestic violence or misdemeanor crimes are also prohibited from possessing, purchasing or carrying firearms.
Federal or state laws do not differentiate between long guns or handguns either – a distinction that applies to people who hold a license. Numerous other categories also exist that prohibit people from possessing guns. Individuals who have been diagnosed as having a mental defect or who have been dishonorably discharged from the armed services also cannot possess a gun.
One Possible Exception
As with many things, there is one possible exception in the “possession” rule for anyone convicted of a felony (post prison release, probation and parole).
Although state laws can differ on the subject and the U.S. exception is extremely complex, a felon might be able to buy, possess and carry certain firearms that are muzzle-loading. However, these firearms are antique in nature and, in most instances, manufactured before 1898. They are loaded from the open end of the barrel or the muzzle.
The ammunition for these kinds of firearms is not set off by a firing pin igniting a primer. Instead they are triggered by either a flint stone that creates a spark or a percussion cap.
Therefore, the ammunition makes these kinds of firearms different in nature than current guns and rifles. If any part of the firearm though is made from components featured in current guns, then they are excluded from what is defined as an antique or permitted firearm.
Very careful research must be conducted to possess the above-described weapon – all which must be gleaned from the highly technical distinction of this kind of possession – found in the federal and state laws and statutes.
One Final Note
When you review your rights to bear arms, you indeed are very limited – even the exceptions can be questioned and put you back in jail if you are not careful. It’s in your best interest to stay away from guns in their entirety and just focused on rehabilitating yourself and your career.
Question: Do you feel it’s fair for people to not be able to bear arms with a felony? Do you think that as a felon, they have given up that right?