Can felons legally own a muzzleloader? It is one of the most asked questions worldwide.
To be honest, ordinary citizens are free to use any gun if allowed by the law of the country. If you are a felon and want to use traditional firearms for hunting, think again.
When you commit a crime, the government starts seeing you from a different viewpoint. You are not the same in the eyes of the government as the other citizens of your country.
Thus, it is clear that you will face certain restrictions. And those include your gun ownership right as well. So what should you do now? Should you stop hunting altogether?
That doesn’t sound like the best bet if you are genuinely passionate about going on hunts. That’s why you got to look for alternate ways. Now, is a muzzleloader a good option for you? Let’s discuss this.
What is a firearm? Well, the legal definition of firearms slightly varies from country to country.
- A firearm is a special type of weapon that can fire projectiles using gunpowder or an explosive charge.
- The laws of all lands make it illegal for individuals convicted of a crime to carry a firearm.
Regardless of the definitional difference between different jurisdictions, one thing is common. They all ban felons from using firearms.
In the US, the 1968 Gun Control Act prevents all felons from possessing firearms, no matter of which kind. If any individual dares to violate this statute, they will have to face a Class 6 felony charge. That means, once your name reaches the list of criminals, you lose your gun ownership right.
The Muzzleloader – Is It A Decent Alternative?
Now that you know about firearm restrictions around the world, you might be wondering whether to carry muzzleloaders or not. Can it serve as a legal alternative to firearms while going hunting, or will it land you in jail? The answer to this query is in the fact of whether we can call a muzzleloader a firearm or not.
Let us look at the primary difference between a traditional firearm and a muzzleloader. What is a muzzleloader anyway? A muzzleloader is a weapon that loads by pushing a powder charge through its muzzle. Thus, it is a type of firearm, as well. So, what is the difference?
Well, the essential difference between a muzzleloader and a traditional firearm lies in its loading method.
1 Muzzleloaders utilize a different method of loading ammunition.
2 It propels the projectile a bit differently from conventional firearms like pistols and rifles.
3 It uses black powder to fire shots.
This primary difference is the key. It makes it a reasonable alternative to traditional firearms. There are other things however to consider.
Can A Muzzleloader Be Called An Antique Firearm?
If we look toward history, muzzleloader was manufactured before 1898. This special type of gun contains a flintlock, a matchlock, and even a percussion cap. Muzzleloaders were very common during the 19th century.
In general, any gun that was manufactured before 1898 can be called an antique gun. Federal laws like the 1968 Gun Control Act don’t restrict felons from possessing or using an antique firearm.
Even if a firearm is a replica of an antique gun and manufactured more recently, there is no restriction. You must however note one thing. If such a replica is used for traditional centerfire ammunition, that could invite legal problems.
What Is Black Powder?
As we mentioned earlier, a muzzleloader makes use of black powder to fire shots. But what is this black powder? In case you didn’t know, black powder is a special substance that helps muzzle-loading guns shoot projectiles. Any firearm that uses black powder and not fixed ammunition is an antique gun.
These antique firearms are not the same as those we commonly know as firearms today. Suppose a muzzleloader uses a firearm frame or can fire fixed ammo by replacing a part, then no. It no longer remains an antique firearm. Thus, if your muzzleloader is among those, don’t use it. You could find yourself in legal trouble. If your muzzleloader is an antique firearm, there will be no ban on it.
Since felons cannot use regular guns all over the world, they can use regular ammunition as well. That’s why muzzle-loading guns are a great alternative.
1 They don’t use regular bullets or cartridges.
2 They only utilize a black powder.
There is however a certain limit to how much black powder you can carry at once. As long as you have less than 50 lbs of black powder, you are good to go. You must also use your muzzleloader for sporting, cultural, or occasional entertainment purposes. Any other form of usage will have legal consequences.
Criteria To Possess A Muzzleloader
As you may already know, muzzleloaders are not like typical firearms. That’s why the criteria to own a muzzleloader are also different. In almost all jurisdictions, you would need a valid permit to carry a gun.
You would however not need such a permit if you want to carry a muzzle-loading firearm. Since the muzzleloader is an antique firearm, it is not illegal to carry it, even for felons.
That is true for any muzzle-loading gun as long as it cannot use fixed fire ammo. So you can freely use a muzzleloader for hunting purposes even if you have a felony record. Plus, as it is not a conventional firearm, most laws don’t require you to be an adult to buy it.
Before purchasing such a gun, however, check your state’s particular laws. Also, keep one thing in mind. Just because muzzleloaders don’t require permits, that doesn’t mean that hunting also won’t. In most states, you still need a hunting license to go on a hunt.
Here are a few things you should know about a muzzleloader:
- Need no permit to carry a muzzleloader
- Is not illegal to carry a muzzleloader
To conclude, muzzleloaders in themselves are not illegal to own for a felon. It has a firearm frame, or you can modify it to fire fixed ammunition, it becomes problematic. Don’t do anything that violates the law, and you can freely own a muzzleloader.