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Can a Felon Own a Gun?
What You Need to know

In most states, a conviction for any felony offense will result in a lifetime ban on your ability to possess or own a gun. However, in certain cases there a steps you can take to have your gun rights restored.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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How Can Felons Get Their Gun Rights Restored?

There are 2 basic options to have your gun rights restored after a felony conviction. They include having your case reduced to a misdemeanor and receiving a pardon from the governor of the state in which you reside.

However, it should be noted that while the expungement of your crime to a misdemeanor may provide gun rights relief under state law, federal law does not recognize the effects of either post-conviction reductions of the level of offense or expungements pursuant to Penal Code Section 1203.4.

As nearly every gun purchase occurs through a federally-licensed firearms dealer ("FFL"), the reality is that a federal ban on ownership will prohibit any ownership, even if gun rights are restored under state law. Only a pardon from a state governor will effectively restore your pardon under federal law, as a pardon renders the conviction null.

Can Felons Be Around Gun Owners?

Generally speaking, felons may still associate with and be around a person who owns a gun. However, this can be complicated if the gun itself is around, or if the person who owns the gun lives with the convicted felon. There are some cases in which a convicted felon may be found guilty of “constructive possession” of a firearm, which occurs when the felon knows that the firearm was in the home or residence, and they had the ability to maintain control of the gun.

Which Weapons Can Felons Own?

While convicted felons generally cannot own a firearm, they may sometimes be able to own other types of weapons. This is because they still have a right to protect themselves and their homes using certain weapons, which vary state by state. Examples include (but may not be limited to):

  • Knives with blades under a specified length
  • Crossbows
  • Bows and arrows
  • Pellet guns

It is important to note that convicted felons must still obey all laws or restrictions associated with these types of weapons.

Also Read: Nevada Felon: Can You Own a Crossbow?

Is it Legal for a Felon to Possess Ammunition?

Just as it is against the law for a convicted felon to own or possess a firearm, it is also illegal for a convicted felon to possess any ammunition. It is a crime to own, possess, or have custody of any ammunition if you are prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm, including handguns, revolvers, and assault weapons.

Related Article: How Long Does a Felony Stay On Your Record?

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