Can a Felon go to a Gun Range?

Can a Felon go to a Gun Range?

can a felon go to a gun range

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?

15 responses to “Can a Felon go to a Gun Range?”

  1. Kathy Cook says:

    People make mistake Iam a felon and all I want to do is work in a store that sells guns not own one and I can not to me that is wrong you can walk in Wal-Mart and they sell guns but I can not work where they sell guns does not make since to me ..

  2. Robin Mcisaac says:

    No it’s not right!! They are disarming us slowly but surely. My husband has a felony concerning drugs not in any way violent. But now we can’t even go to gun range together. We have been clean for 7 years we don’t do drugs at all anymore and don’t hang with anyone who does. We live a slow quiet life and were just looking for a hobby. We used to go shooting and were just looking to go back. We are stable,own our home and vehicles. Have a lil business that pays the bills and the lil extras.

  3. April says:

    No, it is not fair. Gun rights are just that – RIGHTS. A blanket condemnation of a group of people is erroneous, as not all felons are violent or dangerous. It is ludicrous to assume such a thing. This country is very backward in its administration of “justice”. Those who authored the legislation to prohibit all felons from owning and carrying firearms should know what it is like to have those RIGHTS taken away. ALL individuals in this country should have their RIGHT to keep and bear arms left alone, unless they are convicted of a violent crime, such as assault resulting in bodily harm, rape, and murder. Short of that, gun RIGHTS should be left alone.

  4. mike ramirez says:

    i am a convicted felon my wife has guns at my father house 45 miles away from my house in a safe i do not have access to aney of these my wife has them locked up in a safe got into a argument with sister she called police said because she lives with a felon she can get them back californial law she must call dept of justice thir all regestard to her can this be done

  5. John Q. Public says:

    You can always go to a year or so of Machinist Training par-time at your local community college and learn to build your own guns. Study “Fighting In The Streets” , “The Hitman’s Handbook” and related material also. Get together with a group who can’t possess and form your own “Militia”. The Second Amendment ends with a period, not a comma. Start collecting complete kits, minus the receiver. receiver purchases aren’t scrutinized to the level of complete weapons, so straw purchases would probably be way at the bottom of the pile.

  6. Hubbard Hill says:

    Hi! I’m a convicted felon. I have been wanting to get my gun rights back for awhile. Partly because my family likes to have get-togethers where they all shoot various types of firearms for target practice and just being good ol’ gun enthusiast. Legally, I cannot be near the action or in a vehicle containing such weapons. But more importantly to me, is my ability to defend my home and family against an intruder. My situation is practically impossible to overcome, though, since I have a violent crime. I was 18 years old at the time of the charge and I am 35 now. I completed my sentence nearly 9 years ago. Since my state’s laws say I can possess a firearm in my residence only(for self defense) after 5 years, that’s all I really want. But with federal law forbidding you to possess a firearm for the rest of your life, it’s almost hopeless. My argument with current laws is that people can be rehabilitated, and young people often make mistakes that they recover from. I consider myself to be an example of that. Besides, I was sentenced and I completed my sentence. It was not a life sentence, so I feel that prohibiting me from owning a firearm past the last day of my sentence, it is unfair on the basis of cruel and unusual punishment. Also, I, and therefore my family, are denied the most important right anyone possesses since we cannot lawfully, and effectively defend our home. I do agree that some people who have shown a habit of violence toward others can be judged as a continued threat to society so I would say that it should be reviewed on a case by case basis.

  7. Victor says:

    So wrong. A felon can hunt in Montana. Both with bow or any longarm. Even while on bail.(bow only). w/a 18″ barrel 12″ stock. NO PISTOLS. Montana Deerlodge prison no longer gives a horse, gun and gold peice but does restore ALL rights excluding violent offenders.

  8. Victor says:

    That is not to say you can’t be arrested (you have to submit to arrest for spitting or cursing). As long as you avoid arrest, committing crimes like cursing and spitting . I was once correctly/arguably told I needed a hunting license even w/o gun. Driving game ? Go get a hunting license is all a state trooper needs to see. I used to take mine to the stock.

  9. Jimmy says:

    I just turned 60, @ age of 30 I started trying cocaine because i was a drinker and was told it kept you from getting drunk..I never did it sober,I was a drinker a US government worker who liked to party,and I got caught DWI and have enough cocaine to get me that low end felony,I always got probation never did time…. With that being said I live in Texas, under Texas laws a felon may possess a firearms in his/her home for protection 5 years after completing probation…My wife has a Permit to Carry Im not suppose to ride with her other sights say.But lawyer said if she has it holstered and her car is in fact in her name there shouldnt be a problem…2 shooting ranges of open nature allow high powered pcp air gun rifles which are legal to own by a felon and you cannot practice @ home not everyone lives in the country where theyd have no problem practicing.So as to say while on probation a felon can not be around guns, bars, etc… BUT even with the allowed muzzle loader a person must practice, sho an open range should not put a felon in any problems if he or she has a pellet rifle or muzzle loader and my wife practices two booths away from me and we arrive in seperate vehicles, she takes her guns in her car I take my PCP rifles in mine…Fair no its not fair,If i could come up with @2,250.00 dollars a lawyer can file to have that felony set aside, and if approved I can buy a gun, fire a gun @ a range …BUT I can never get a PERMIT to CARRY LICENSE,which i really dont care about,Im more a rifle person not a hand gun fan..But laws do need to change seperating violent criminals from non violent ones when it comes to gun rights,Oh I got the right to vote,WOW but i cant serve on a jury..Many of us are people who made some mistakes we wish we could got back and change,but the fact is,there are law authoritys out their who have committed felonies just never got caught,thats the key thers bad people out there with guns because they dont have a record,they were either lucky or given a break… But the Militias in Texas wont allow you to join with a felony…some dont.Hopefully some day this law will change, the tongue is mightier than the sword,the 1 st amendment freedom of speech has caused more violent actions than guns..

  10. Bobby says:

    I think there’s a lot of grey area here and that people should be contacting the proper offices and asking questions. I’m a “felon”/ex-felon. I’ve voted the last dozen or so times the polls were open, I received a summons for Jury Duty last year, and I’ve had my hunting license for several years. I have NOT, however, purchased a gun. I saw so many conflicting laws that I just decided to see what would happen. It’s not a crime to apply, and all they can do is say no. So far, I’ve gotten nothing but yeses.

  11. Roger Wyatt jr says:

    No personally I think if a convicted felon stays out of trouble for 10 years no misdemeanor no violence or anything within 10 years he or she should have at least their hunting rights back and the right to protect your home go to the gun range within so many miles from your house just so you can cite your weapons in unfortunately that still impossible so basically were stripped of everything

  12. john says:

    I am an ex felon and went to a gun range. Can my probation officer find out?

  13. David says:

    Hell yes your PO could find out. There have been situations where people have had gun shot residue on the skin and been sent back to prison. Your best bet is to stay away and even if a state law says you can do one thing, just remember the courts are biased and love money. They will sell you up the river always because at the end of the day the federal law trumps state. So if there is any gray are, it just became cut and dry.

  14. Joe Hill says:

    The law is the law?
    So you commit a crime you forfeit the god given right to decend yourself, your home and your family even if it was no one was hurt by your crime.
    The law also concicted a 14 year old child of murdering 2 girls amd gave that kid the electric chair then 70 YEARS later decided he was innocent. The law doesnt know anything about anything and if it comes between defending those i love from danger or respecting an oppressive system of bias, classist, racist fantasy rules you can guess which one id side with. Felons are not less than human
    Felons do not lose their unalienable rights
    This should be obvious.

  15. It’s good to know that felons can’t visit gun ranges. My brother would like to take me to a gun range soon. I’ll share this information with him so that he can avoid committing any crimes before we go.

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