Can a Felon Own a Gun?

The second that you are convicted of a felony crime, you are no longer able to keep or bear arms. This is the common misconception many Americans have when it comes to felony gun rights. The average American believes that a felon, regardless of the crime, is no longer able to vote or posses  guns legally.

In the real world, however, the U.S. Constitution preserves the right of all citizens to bear guns, but there are certain exceptions that will disqualify somebody from being legally allowable to do so.

One of those exceptions is being an ex felony.  However, an ex felon may be able to have their application for guns legally processed and accepted, under certain situations. Just because an individual is an ex felon, that does not mean it is impossible to go through legal routes to own a firearm again. It is far more difficult for somebody who committed a violent crime to be legally allowed to own a gun, but even then it is still not impossible. In order to get there right to keep and bear arms reinstated, they will need to go through a long and bureaucratic process.

Felons and guns.

firearmWhen a person thinks about an ex felon, the idea of them being given the ability to legally own a firearm again can send chills down their legss, especially if they were victims of a violent crime .

Well it is simple to assume somebody that is an ex felony is going to go out and get a gun illegally if he wants one, there are many people who served their time and were arrested of lower-level crimes, such as class D or even class E felonies (drugs, white collar, etc) who are not a physical threat to anyone else but can no longer legally obtain a gun without going through this lengthy process.

The first step that needs to take in this process is to figure out whether you were charged by the state or the federal government. You will go through a process called adjudication that will involve contacting the Department of Justice, either at the federal level or within the state in which you were convicted of a crime.

Most states or federal agencies have a form that ex felons would need to fill out to have their civil rights restored, including the right to own guns.

Is it that simple?

Nope. The ex felon would need to be able to show that they have changed their life and they are reformed from the behaviors that caused them to be charged with a felony.  One of the best ways is to establish a strong and steady job and ties to the community. This can take a while to establish.

Ex felons often have a difficult time finding ideal employment. Some employers are simply unwilling to even consider employing anybody who was an ex felon.

On top of that, it can be difficult to reestablish one’s life in their old community or a new one. People will view you differently, will keep you at a distance, and judge you suspiciously, regardless of how much time you served and how your life may have changed during the process.

This requires patience and persistence on the part of the convicted felon. If you have established a job, have been working at it for a considerable length of time, volunteer in the community, have built strong ties in that community, and appear to be an upstanding citizen once again, filling out this form could begin opening doors that will allow you to once again legally own a firearm.

So, when it comes to the question ‘can felons own guns’ the answer is yes, but it is a long and complicated process to achieve that.

Some things to consider.

One of the most significant things any person should consider is if there felony conviction occurred at the federal level, it is going to be much more difficult to have their civil rights restored than if the conviction was received at the state level. If you were convicted at the federal level, then you will need to file your application with the US Attorney General’s office or through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). These agencies are notorious for not even reviewing documents, much less considering them.

If all else fails, your last resort may be a presidential pardon. This will require the assistance of a lawyer and if you receive that pardon, all of your civil rights will be restored, including your right to own guns, hold public office, and vote.

When it comes to ex felon firearm rights, it’s best to never assume anything, such as you’ll never be permitted to legally own a gun again. That is patently untrue, even though the process is wrought with limitations and challenges.

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