Once convicted of a felony, you are required to make many changes in your life. You do lose some of your rights and you have to focus on getting your life back together from scratch while accepting that this felony will be part of your life for a long time.
There are many things a felon may not be allowed to do and owning a firearm is one of them.
Are Felons Allowed To Keep A Firearm?
No, any individual convicted of a felony is not allowed to legally own a firearm. This puts felons in a precarious position and most of them look for alternative ways to obtain firearms. Firearms are required for various purposes including:
As a felon, it is important to understand the legalities involving a firearm especially if you plan on purchasing one.
You don’t have to give up all your rights but certain laws must be followed post a conviction and firearm restrictions happen to be one of them.
As soon as you are convicted, you are stripped of your firearm license. Any felon who has charges pressed against them is legally not allowed to own a firearm.
There are however certain exceptions in the law that allow a felon to possess firearms.
Felons often wonder if they have the right to get their gun back or purchase a new one once they get out of prison. While you are not allowed to purchase any weapon that falls under the firearm category, felons are legally allowed to own antique guns. This means an antique gun that uses black powder is considered legal to own.
If you have lost the right to own a firearm and you are not interested in an antique weapon then there are a few procedures to follow to get back your right to own a firearm. You must remember that this law varies from state to state.
At the end of the day, this decision is solely in the hands of the state concerning whether you can own a firearm.
Restoring Your Firearm Rights
There are a few ways you can restore your right to own a firearm, even as a convicted felon. You need to remember that only once you have the legal right to own a firearm should you purchase one. Some of the ways include:
1 The most popular way to be able to own a firearm is to wait it out. Most states have a recommended wait period of about 7-10 years. The charges are then removed from your background after which you can legally own a firearm.
2 If you cannot wait for that long, you can put in a request to the governor to reinstate your gun rights. For this to happen, you have to fill out a pardon form for the state you want to legally own the weapon in.
In certain states or certain convictions, a felon may never be able to legally own a firearm again. This is decided on a case to case basis. Some of the felonies include:
- If a felon was convicted for harm caused to property or life with the use of a firearm.
- Sexual offenses may also not be allowed to own a firearm ever in their life.
- Certain convictions will not allow you to use your firearm even after the waiting period is over. While this is rare, the state reserves the right to hold back your right to a firearm license.
In certain states, paying a fine, serving your time, and ensuring you complete all legal requirements including probation will help reinstate your gun license. If you were convicted for a misdemeanor and not a felony then getting back your firearm license shouldn’t be a problem.
Even states that ask you to pay a fine and undergo probation reserve the right to reserve your right to firearms.
Gun Rights For Felons (State Wise)
Every state has different gun rights for felons. You need to understand your rights in different states so you can own a firearm. If you are a felon, you also need to know the laws of the state you intend to travel to with a firearm.
1 New Jersey
Felons can have their rights to own a firearm reinstated in New Jersey after a certain time. This however depends on the kind of conviction you faced. The state reserves the right to reject your firearm request even after the waiting period is over.
Louisiana is a little stricter when it comes to firearm licenses for felons. You must wait at least 10 years before attempting to get your license. Even then you need to file a petition with the governor by filling out a pardon form.
Michigan is a little lenient when it comes to firearm licenses. A felon can apply for a license in 3-5 years depending on their behavior. If they were rejected the first time around, they can apply next year.
As soon as you finish serving time, you can file a petition to get back your gun rights. If the judge rejects the petition, you may have to wait 8 years and pay a fine of $1000 to get the license reinstated.
Indiana is strict with regards to felons and guns however they have a ‘second chance law’ where felons can choose to file a petition to get back their gun rights. This is solely based on their crime. If it was a serious crime, they will never get their license back.
Kentucky has the strictest gun law. Any felon convicted for a crime after 1975 cannot own a handgun. This includes antiques. Anyone convicted after 1994 cannot purchase a firearm.
Felons who have their record expunged can reapply for a gun license however Oregon has a liberal approach to gun ownership. Felons can choose to apply for a license since the state has lenient laws.
Texas is quite lenient when it comes to gun laws. Felons who have been released more than five years ago can get their license. If they want it quicker, they can apply with the governor.
If you plan on applying for a firearm license, you must remember to be responsible and careful with the gun. Getting back your license does not give you the right to misuse it in any way.