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What Happens If A Convicted Felon Is Caught With A Gun?

What Happens If A Convicted Felon Is Caught With A Gun

When a person gets convicted of a felony, they face some sort of restrictions in several aspects of life. There are some basic rules that they need to abide by as a result of their conviction. The first and foremost rule for the convicted felon to follow is to stay out of trouble. This is because, as convicted felons, they will already have a stigma attached to them.

Carrying a gun or firearm as a person convicted of a felony is a crime in itself. Henceforth, there could be implications if a convicted felon is caught with a firearm. They might face charges or imprisonment. However, the rules are again region-specific.

Firearm Restriction For A Convicted Felon

A felon loses some basic fundamental rights like:

  • Finding a decent job
  • Going on a vacation
  • Besides these, a convicted felon automatically loses the right to own a gun or a firearm. Especially if the felony is something violent, big, or is related to firearms. There could be several reasons for that.

State & Federal Guidelines

As already mentioned, a convicted person already will have a stigma attached to them. The government assumes that they might go back to committing crimes after release. This firearm law might be a way to prevent the convicted person from repeating his crime. Also, it ensures protection for others. Specific regions have specific rules regarding this.

what happens if convicted-felon is caught with gun

Some states have stricter laws against a convicted felon possessing a gun or firearm. Some others have less strict laws. There is also a difference between the state and the federal guidelines regarding the sentence of a convict who got caught with a gun.

Moreover, it also depends on the type of firearms that were in possession. Not all states consider all firearms as deadly weapons. The purpose of possessing the gun matters as well. Possessing a gun for a harmless reason doesn’t cause harsh punishment. Some states like Texas give permissions to possess guns to felons.

What Happens When A Convicted Person Is Caught With A Firearm?

If a convicted felon is caught with a gun or a firearm, there could be serious penalties against them.

1 The convicted person can be arrested if they are found possessing a gun or any firearm. This is irrespective of whether or not the firearm is licensed in their name or belongs to someone else.

2 The person may even go back to prison.

3 Depending on the kind of penalty, the person may face a prison sentence of two to three years.

what happens if convicted-felon is caught with a gun

4 The sentence can be extended even up to twenty-five years.

5 There could be criminal fines or other kinds of punishments.

6 Suppose the earlier conviction was within ten years of the current conviction and it was related to any type of firearms then the convicted felon can get even severe punishments. Especially if his former felony was something violent or big.

State Laws

1 In some states, the laws are pretty flexible. There, the convicted person won’t face issues or get a second conviction if they are caught with a firearm.

2 In other places, like, New York and New Jersey, the laws are pretty strict. In such states, possessing a firearm as a felon would cause automatic imprisonment.

3 In most cases, the convicted felon would have the chance to plea to reduce the charges against them.

4 They also get some years of probation. If the convicted felon was already on probation or parole while getting arrested, then the probation is most likely to get canceled.

5 The place and way of discovery of the firearm are also taken into consideration. If the firearm was being taken on the streets, then it would be taken more seriously.

6 No matter whether the arrest was warrantless or not.

Can A Convicted Felon Get Back His Right To Own A Firearm?

There are strict laws against the possession of a firearm for a convicted felon. But again, the right to possess firearms for a convicted felon can be restored. That depends on the state or the federal system. There are still chances for this right to be restored.

In some cases where the past conviction of the person got expunged, this right could be restored. Although it is not impossible to have this right back, there are some rules regarding this.

Rules & Regulations

  • The convicted felon may have to wait for several years after their conviction.
  • He should serve his sentence or probation promptly.
  • He also needs to stay out of trouble or maintain a clean record in the period of their waiting.
  • There are also differences in the state and the federal system about gun law.
  • A convicted felon might get their right back at the state level and not at the federal level, or vice versa. So, it is always advisable to do your research regarding the firearm law of the particular state.
  • The convicted person also has the right to appoint attorneys of their own. The attorneys can guide them regarding gun laws.
  • Also, they can help them restore the right to possess firearms.

Constructive Possession

The convicted felons generally retain the right to associate with people with firearms. That’s legal as long as the gun is not around. The authorities can however charge a felon for constructive possession. Constructive possession means a person is possessing a ‘controlled substance’ (for instance, firearms). The authorities accuse a person of ‘constructive possession’ if they are at the same location as the substance.

what happens if convicted-felon is caught with the gun

The authorities can also charge a felon if he has control over that location or the substance. In case of a ‘constructive control’ situation, investigations are carried out. The investigations determine if the person knew the existence of the firearm. Also, those investigations check if he had the full ability to use it.

Felons Lose Rights Over These Crimes

In white-collar crimes, i.e., corporate crimes, the convicted person does not lose the right to possess a gun.

These crimes include:

  • Antitrust violations
  • Fraud
  • Bribery
  • Labor racketeering
  • Cybercrime
  • Copyright infringement
  • Forgery
  • Money laundering

Intensity Of Crime

To conclude, the authorities do not imprison a felon if caught with a firearm. The imprisonment punishment depends on the intensity of your crime. It matters whether it was violent or just a white-collar conviction.

It also matters how long ago your first conviction was. This also depends on the state laws and the federal laws. The restrictions and rules and regulations are highly region-specific. Therefore, it is advisable to always do your research on your state.


a convicted felon has the right to appoint a lawyer for defending himself. Therefore, follow the legal path to get back your right to possess a firearm. You also have to listen to everything your attorney says. Abide by all the laws that your state has, and be patient. The authorities consider all this before deciding the fate of the felon. A thorough investigation follows the discovery of a firearm that the convict possesses.

This is why you need to be careful when possessing a firearm. Be aware of all state laws and how they affect you. Felons should also check which guns are illegal even with full rights. This helps felons lead a legal life and not worry about criminal implications or other charges.

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