Should Felons Be Allowed to Own Guns?

By Jason Hanson, former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author.

Like you, I’m a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment. I carry a gun daily — as I’m writing this, I’ve got a Sig Sauer P238 in my pocket and a Springfield 1911 on my desk.

However, I also believe in responsible gun ownership and keeping guns out of “bad guys'” hands. Now, most people would probably agree that convicted felons are bad guys, right? So ask yourself this: Should a convicted felon be allowed to own a gun?

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson spent spent nearly a decade in the CIA, where he won The Exceptional Performance Award twice before leaving the Agency to start a family and found Spy Escape & Evasion.


Before you answer, let’s take a look at what happened to Arizona state trooper Edward Andersson.

Last month, Andersson was ambushed while responding to an emergency call on Interstate 10, west of Phoenix. After setting up road flares, Andersson was shot in the shoulder with a 9mm pistol by Leonard Pennelas-Escobar, who then charged the trooper and began slamming his head into the ground.

As the pair struggled, a passing motorist witnessed the attack and stopped to help. This good Samaritan removed his own 9mm handgun from the center console and approached Andersson and Pennelas-Escobar, giving verbal commands for the suspect to stop beating the officer.

The suspect ignored him, so the Samaritan fired at least two shots, temporarily incapacitating Pennelas-Escobar. While the good Samaritan attempted to render aid to Andersson, the suspect attempted to assault the officer again. The good Samaritan fired one more shot, resulting in a fatal head wound. The trooper was then airlifted to a local hospital, where he spent the weekend recovering.

Now, here’s where the story gets really interesting. The good Samaritan was later identified as Thomas Yoxall, a convicted felon.

In 2000, Yoxall stole electronics from a group home where he worked, resulting in a charge of felony theft. Under federal law, a convicted felon is ineligible to own a firearm. This ban includes nonviolent felonies, with the exception of antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, restraints of trade or other similar offenses relating to the regulation of business practices.

That being said, felony charges can be expunged or reduced, which would result in certain civil rights being restored. So in 2003, Yoxall petitioned the court to restore his right to bear arms. In October of that year, a Superior Court judge vacated Yoxall’s guilty judgment, granting him the privilege of once again owning a gun.

It’s clear from the story above that a man’s life was saved because a convicted felon was given another opportunity to own a gun. Does that change your answer?

Statistically, 75% of felons are rearrested within five years of release, more than half within the first year. Obviously, these data don’t support the argument that criminals should be able to own firearms, but keep in mind that a large majority of criminals don’t obtain their firearms legally.

What if a person was convicted of a nonviolent felony years—perhaps decades—ago, served their time and has continued to be a productive member of society ever since? Should that person be automatically prohibited from owning a gun ever again?

On the other hand, if someone has been convicted of violating the law to the extent of obtaining a felony charge, should society trust them with a deadly weapon? Anti-gun groups would say absolutely not, because they want to keep guns away from as many people as possible. But many of the strongest Second Amendment supporters tend to agree with these groups that convicted felons, at least, should not be allowed to own firearms.

Personally, I think applicants ought to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis just as they are now. Because while we don’t want a convicted ax murderer buying a gun, a kid who made a stupid choice and stole some electronics 16 years ago should be able to earn a second chance.

There’s no easy answer, but it’s certainly worth the discussion.

Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author. After graduating from Radford University, Hanson joined the Arlington County Police Force. Not long thereafter, Jason set his sights on the Central Intelligence Agency. Once he was accepted into the CIA, he made a name for himself and recieved the CIA’s Expetional Performance Award twice; once in 2005 and again in 2008. After over six years with the CIA, Hanson left to start a family and founded Spy Escape & Evasion with the goal of teaching men and women how to be safe using secrets and methods honed from years with the intelligence community. Then in 2014, Jason won a deal on the ABC hit show Shark Tank. Jason then authored his first New York Time Bestseller, Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life, and began expanding his spy instructing company by opening the 320-acre Spy Ranch. To get a free copy of his book or learn more about his training programs, visit www.SpyEscape.com.

Do you agree with Hanson’s views? Tell us your opinions below in the comments!

72 Comments On This Article

  1. I do not think a convicted felon should be able to own a gun…..period. I don’t care if his felony was expunged or pardoned or anything if he is a felon that is the end of the story….no gun

    • Disagree. It should be on a case by case base.. perfect example is a good friend of mine that was wrongfully convicted of workman’s comp fraud and charged with a felony. First off the man had a broken back and has the scars and metal rods in his back to prove it. But he was still wrongfully accused. Now to this day he can’t afford to go through the process to get it expunged from his record. That’s the only reason I say it should be on a case by case base.

    • I know 4 people who were convicted of a crime that had a felony classification, of these four none were violent crimes nor were these violent persons yet they were all prohibited from owning a firearm. One of these was a vehicle accident, one was an theft ( I know for a fact he was innocent ) but because courts and lawyers are not always honest he was convicted. one was because he tried to help a friend and one was drugs. All of these people have not had any other law violations and they go back as much as 30+ years. In my humble opinion none of these people should have lost their Constitutional rights. If a person is convicted of a violent crime then they should lose their gun rights, but not just because of felony class offense PS they have all had their rights restored

    • when the law was made, only about two thousand crimes were considered felonies, now it’s over 50 thousand. should a man that was 18 at conviction because he had sex with his long term girlfriend when she was 17 years 362 days old (3 days from being 18) loose his rights FOREVER to defend his family? Give me a break ONLY VIOLENT FELONS SHOULD LOOSE THEIR RIGHT TO OWN A FIREARM , NON VIOLENT FELONS DON’T LOOSE THEIR OTHER RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH DO THEY?
      AGAIN ONLY VIOLENT FELONS SHOULD LOOSE THEIR 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHTS

      • Well stated and I agree. Each case is adjudicated individually, and each expungement should be as well. If a person was convicted of violent crimes like rape, aggravated assault, murder, etc. Then no, they should never be allowed to legally own a gun again. But someone busted for a case like you cite, or some other relatively minor felony should be able to file for an expungement and have their day in court..

        • The problem with putting it in the judges hands – too many judges are anti-gun and will bend over backward to make sure the person doesn’t regain their rights. We need to pass laws that make heinous crimes a felony and not make mistakes or childhood lack of judgement into a class of crime that should be reserved for those who really deserve it!

    • TELL THAT TO OFFICER WHOSE LIFE WAS SAVED THANKS TO THIS “FELON” THAT YOU SELF-RIGHTEOUS HYPOCRITES HAVE DEEMED UNFIT TO CARRY A FIREARM! TELL HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN THAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER THAT GUN RIGHTS FOR ANY FELON SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN RESTORED! I GUESS IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER FOR THE OFFICER TO HAVE LOST HIS LIFE RATHER THAN HIS LIFE BEEN PROTECTED BY A CONVICTED FELON. SMH

    • I will throw a wrench into your gear so to speck. Until 1968 there was nothing that restrained a convict from owning a gun. After the Gun Control Act of 1968 was enacted, magically a convict could no longer own a gun. Other than a new law was put in placed, what was different. Where can you find in our founding documents that a convicted person could no longer own a gun? Does anyone know how many of our founders were convicted people? I will say one more thing to our 2nd Amendment people that believe convicted felons should no longer be able own a gun? Just what does “shall not infringe” mean? What will you do if the democrats get back in power and pass a law that says you can not own a gun? And by the way, as liberal as the federal courts are after Obama was done, and even if the Supreme Court is overly conservative, you will either be a criminal for not turning in your gun or you will be disarmed, because it takes years for the Supreme Court to hear a case, and by then there will be illegal guns or destroyed guns. Do you not see what the anti-gunners have done? YOU and me have allowed them to set the tone and we have, because we think they won’t take our guns, IF we only compromise the Constitution just a little. WE ARE ONE LAW FROM BEING ABLE TO OWN A GUN LEGALLY, BECAUSE WE HAVE LET THEM CHIP AWAY AT THE 2ND AMENDMENT BECAUSE WE HAVE COMPROMISED THE CONSTITUTION. PERIOD! Tell me I am wrong, and I don’t care which pro-gun organization you belong to. that brings up a thought. How stupid is it when we put one pro-gun organization for an other? A house divided is a house that WILL fall.

      • Larry

        You are so right people are willing to tell other they should not own a gun, but they forget that if you let them pass laws to take them from others. Just give it time they will pass laws for your guns next, ” the non felons” people don’t give the anti-gunners an inch. “Shall not be infringed”

  2. No felons don’t need guns.If you are going to give them that privilege it should be after a five or ten year waiting period after their conviction or incarceration period is finished.

    • From your answer, you are agreeing they should have the opportunity to have their right to possess weapons after a determined time.

    • TELL THAT TO OFFICER WHOSE LIFE WAS SAVED THANKS TO THIS “FELON” THAT YOU SELF-RIGHTEOUS HYPOCRITES HAVE DEEMED UNFIT TO CARRY A FIREARM! TELL HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN THAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER THAT GUN RIGHTS FOR ANY FELON SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN RESTORED! I GUESS IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER FOR THE OFFICER TO HAVE LOST HIS LIFE RATHER THAN HIS LIFE BEEN PROTECTED BY A CONVICTED FELON. SMH

  3. if someone has been convicted of violating the law to the extent of obtaining a felony charge, should society trust them with a deadly weapon? Well then should they be able to drive a vehicle ? Its been proven that they can be used as a weapon ! Or even kitchen knives ? Or how about amputating their hands ? More people are killed barehanded than any other way ! I say if its a non violent offense give them their rights !!

  4. Good article. Considering the ease with which the bad guys get guns, in spite of the law, I think Jason has a good point, that many people with a bad past, who are now choosing the right course, should be allowed the option of owning a gun.

  5. Convicted felons should be able to carry firearms. This story does not make a case for them or anybody in my mind. Our judicial system and punishments for crimes are a joke frankly. If somebody serves time for a crime, non-violent or violent, their rights as a citizen should not be taken away after their time is done. Did they not “serve” their time. If their crime was so violent, and they have a history of violence, why would they be released from prison in the first place. Of course the trend is for felons to go back to prison after they are released, I would too if I could not get a good paying job and have my second amendment rights taken away. The fact that we continue to punish people after they served their time is part of the reason they get back into crime. Wake up.

    • Many years ago when all states had draconian marijuana laws some young person got busted maybe twice with a few ounces and did time as a felon. He straightens his life out, becomes productive, no moving violations or parking tickets. Should he be allowed to protect his property and more importantly his family. Case by case review.

    • HOW ABOUT A HABITUAL SPEEDING OFFENDER, CONSIDERED A FELONY IN MANY STATES, HOW ABOUT SOMEONE WITH 29 GRAMS OF CANNABIS, AGAIN A FELONY IN MANY STATES, HOW ABOUT A 18 YEAR OLD HAVING SEX WITH A ALMOST 18 YEAR OLD AGAIN A FELONY. AGAIN A FELONY, SHOULD THEY LOOSE THEIR RIGHTS TO DEFEND THEMSELVES FOREVER ?
      I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS ISSUE, NOT ONLY SHOULD NON-VIOLENT CRIMES BE EXCLUDED, BUT IT SHOULD BE SHOWN ON A CASE BY CASE BASIS THAT THEIR AN ENDANGERMENT TO SOCIETY BEFORE ANY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS ARE REVOVED.

      • How about turning off your Caps Lock?
        In my state, operating after revocation as an habitual offender is only Class D crime, the higher of two levels of misdemeanor. “Sexual misconduct” with a person under 14 is also a Class D, if the “actor” is 18 or older. If the child is under 12, then it’s a Class C, meaning a felony. Maybe my state has gotten too lenient over the years, but that’s how it is.
        Your “many states” argument about possession of a certain amount of marijuana is also a stretch. In my state, it has to be a pound or more (about 453.6 grams) to be a Class C crime. Generally anyone with that much dope intends to sell it, and they probably have substances other than MJ in their stash, too.
        Losing the right to bear arms probably doesn’t deter anyone from committing a crime any more than the possibility of going to prison does. (Or receiving a death sentence for murder.) So when deterrents don’t work, there needs to be punishment. Some states prohibit felons from voting, even after they’re released, and that hasn’t been declared unconstitutional. It’s another way of saying “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”
        If they’ve done their time for non-violent felonies, and can keep on the straight-and-narrow for the rest of their lives, then maybe they can petition to be allowed to possess a firearm (or in my state, a crossbow). Otherwise, I think society is better off when felons can’t legally have a gun.

  6. My brother, at age 18, ventured on a trip throughout the US ( this was in the late fifties) and needing tires for the car he and traveling companion scaled a fence at night and helped themselves to new tires. He soent several years in Fla prison as a result.
    From date of release he has been a productive citizen and raised a child with Down Syndrome, he applied for and had a pardon issued by Florida an return of right to purchase firearm some years ago. I have no problem with this “ex felon” owning a firearm today.

  7. As said above it depends on the crime. The line between felony and misdemeanor is extremely blurred in some areas. Read up on some charge penalties and you will see. Not all felony crimes are even close to some misdemeanors. Even some “violent” crimes are cases of self defense of person, family or as with the Trooper just trying to do the right thing.

  8. A felon who served their time and has rights restored should have ALL rights restored. That said, remember in the westerns the jailer throwing the gunbelt as far as he could when releasing the murder after he served his time??? The second amendment was written like a commandment,the people who wrote it just finished a war against their government! The colonists and later the northern government in the civil war ; criminals who fought to help their cause……………..

  9. in my youth i did a stupid thing with a friend just after high school and i went to prison for theft as a convicted felon which was over 30 years ago. I recently contacted the local chief of police, sheriff and fbi agent to which they all said i shouldn’t have any problem owning guns after this length of time. I grew up around guns as my father was a collector so i have a deep understanding and respect for guns, and after his passing those guns went on to my mother and me but many have been sold over the years to help pay bills but we still have several. i have also bought and built many guns over the years and am also an officer for the local gun club but i do not push my luck by carrying a pistol. i am a huge procrastinator and should get a pardon but just haven’t done it. i am a law abiding citizen and follow life’s laws & rules, i am a very good person, i love helping friends, family and strangers and have not been in any trouble over the past 30 years but i do enjoy shooting guns. so i feel their should be exceptions for people that want to own a gun(s), such as violent felons should not be able to own a gun but persons such as myself that are non-violent should be able to. thats just my two cents.

  10. I believe that felons should be allowed to have their rights restored on a case by case basis. If they go through the proper channels to restore their right. I can assure you that the process is not easy or quick because I have gone through it myself. I was pardoned thirteen years after my conviction, the process took a year to complete and was very detailed.

  11. A non violent, productive ex felon having been “off paper” can have 2A rights restored on a case by case basis.

  12. I worked with felons for 25 yrs as a Corrections Officer, I have seen the worst and have read a lot of rap sheets, it doesn’t matter these people choose to break the law, they should not be given a break to own a firearm. I am a law abiding citizen therefore I can own a firearm

    • I appreciate your experience. Scary people are out there.Each case is different. What about plea bargained from felony to misdemeanor. Technically a felony was committed. The “felon” could legally acquire guns anyway. What if the person illegally carrying for whatever reason and choose to rescue the officer. Even reformed felons have innocent family members who need protection. Very complicated, some things are never black and white. Case by case. Majority of situations I agree with you.

    • FRANK YOU SAY YOUR A LAW ABIDING CITIZEN, YET I ASSURE YOU YOUR NOT, (IF YOU ARE YOU IN A VERY VERY VERY SMALL MINORITY) THEIR ARE SO MANY LAWS NOW THAT BREAKING THEM ARE CONSIDERED FELONY’S, IT’S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE AVERAGE CITIZEN NOT TO COMMIT ONE DURING THE COURSE OF A YEAR . THERE ARE STUDIES THAT SHOW OVER 99% OF CITIZENS ARE GUILTY OF BREAKING LAWS THAT WOULD RESULT IN A FELONY CONVICTION.
      YES EACH ANY EVERY CASE SHOULD BE EXAMINED AS TO THE LIKELIHOOD OF VIOLENCE, AND SOMEONE CONVICTED OF A NON-VIOLENT OFFENSE SHOULD NOT LOOSE THEIR RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR.

    • WHY DON’T YOU TELL THAT TO OFFICER WHOSE LIFE WAS SAVED THANKS TO THIS “FELON” THAT YOU SELF-RIGHTEOUS HYPOCRITES HAVE DEEMED UNFIT TO CARRY A FIREARM! TELL HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN THAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER THAT GUN RIGHTS FOR ANY FELON SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN RESTORED! I GUESS IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER FOR THE OFFICER TO HAVE LOST HIS LIFE RATHER THAN HIS LIFE BEEN PROTECTED BY A CONVICTED FELON. SMH

    • Frank, what if you use your gun in self defense, but are found guilty of murder. You just took your gun away from yourself forever!

  13. People make mistakes, it doe’s not mean they are bad people. What we should be asking is should bad people be allowed to own guns. The answer is no. A felon who was found guilty and served his or her time depending on the severity of the crime and whether they used a gun should be taken into account. They should be evaluated and found fit to own a gun. Then be allowed to purchase and register their gun. Keep in mind that if a person wants a gun Good or Bad they can get one, and bad people don’t care about laws.

  14. I disagree. My daughter was addicted to drugs in high school and was on parole for several years. After about 6 yeas she went through the process to regain her rights which took a few months. She now has her CCP and carries a 9mm. You will not find a more responsible person anywhere. People do change. The errors of youth should not necessarily follow a person for life if they have demonstrated the errors in the past are exactly that. That can apply to many people.

  15. “a man’s life was saved because a convicted felon was given another opportunity to own a gun. Does that change your answer?” NO! In the situation, as quoted, the “Felon” was no longer a “Felon”, by actions of the court! So, since he was NOT a Felon, he has every right to own and carry! The problem with this line of thought, “Should a ‘Felon’ be allowed to own a gun?” is that the overwhelming number of “Felons” would NOT seek court assistance to have their record expunged. THOSE are the bastards I don’t want walking around with a gun, but, they are the ones most likely to do so.

  16. I guess from all the comments, it depends. Mostly nature of the felony, length of time being a decent person, gang affiliation etc.

  17. People it’s 2nd Amendment if any of you think of it this way, why do any you own firearms. My answer is to protect me and the family from bad people so if a convicted felon has done their time and Society has released them. Now that person is not afforded the right to protect themselves they just can call 911. Great! It’s the same thing as not allowing someone (ccw) not to have a firearm in a bar. So they are afforded the responsibility of carrry the firearm but they cannot decide whether to drink or not with it on. Hell why don’t we just take all of their amendments away. Since you are convicting them I guess they should never be able to speak out about your convention (1st) I can go on and on. I agree with the CIA officer, what if the good Samaritan was saving your life what you stop and ask the if they were a FELON.

  18. My thoughts are that if he is not rehabilitated enough to be trusted to own a gun, why is he being released in to the public in the first place? He does have the right to own a car or truck, to buy unlimited quantities of gasoline, diesel fuel, and propane, to purchase the readily available ingredients to make simple explosives such as black powder. These items can be used to kill or maim more than any gun could. The bowl of paperback matches at your local restaurant would supply enough low grade explosives/propellant to make a crude but potent bomb. Stop the revolving prison doors

  19. In recent years I have seen charges filed on individuals that I thought at best should have been a misdemeanor instead of some lower class felony which I’m view was injustice in itself. Just like I have seen police officers handcuffing grade school children for acting out in class. That too has become an unjust action by law enforcement agencies. In my opinion way too many nonviolent crimes are being classified as felonies.

    I think we need justice reform in this country to reevaluate how we handle nonviolent crimes. Misdemeanors with sentencing guidelines that punish people for the severity of their crimes, I believe is just as effective as branding a person for life for a nonviolent felony. This would give people another chance in life to become a model citizen with their Constitutional rights intact.

    • If you’re talking about drugs, selling drugs IS A VIOLENT FELONY. If it was MY decision to make, selling drugs in ANY quantity would get the death penalty; death by public hanging.

      That said, I believe that felons should be able to petition to have their rights to vote and own firearms restored. There should be a simple test applied: 1) Has this person been CONVICTED of a felony or violent misdemeanor in the past five years, 2) has this person been gainfully employed for at least four of the last five years, and 3) does this person have at least three character witnesses of good character and community standing who will state that this person has conducted himself in a responsible manner during the past five years? If this test is met, his rights to vote and own firearms should be restored.

  20. As stated in the article… if a felon was incarcerated for a non-violent action, then it should be considered. Also, as stated in the article that 75% return within 5 years – there should be a waiting period included too. Using the ideas in the my two statements, if a convicted felon was jailed for a non-violent crime, has served their time, and has been completely free of offenses (other than minor instances (like traffic violations) for a period of ten years (doubling the length of the 75%/5 year stated statistic), then they should be allowed to purchase a firearm. Everyone makes mistakes, especially during their youth, and should be given a second chance. If that chance was non-violent, then they really deserve a second chance. Anyone that doesn’t believe that a felon should ever be allowed their Constitutional Rights returned at sometime in the future, within certain qualifications, have not put much thought into their decision. Ex. Four teenagers are riding around in a car, one is asleep in the backseat while the other three go in and rob a convenience store. All four are convicted of felony theft and sent to prison. Should the one asleep in the backseat be allowed to eventually get his Rights back? This example is one that happened within my family and the one asleep, is my family member. Let me add that, for the next 20+ years, he has been a model citizen. He worked his way up in his profession to making over $200K a year. And he has nothing more on his record than a couple of speeding tickets. He made a mistake by choosing the wrong crowd to hang with and lost his Rights forever. How many of you naysayers hung around with some questionable kids in your youth and are lucky enough to not get into to trouble or not get caught? It is easy to take other peoples Rights from them, but when you put yourself into that position, the waters muddy.

  21. I feel that a person that has served their time for breaking the law should not be punished for life. They have paid their debt to us and should not lose their right to vote and own a firearm. It should be a case by case decision.

  22. Many felonies are considered violent crimes, even though they are NOT unless the violator does violence. If a crime in and of itself is NOT violent the a perpetrator should be charged with THAT crime as well. If a crime is not violent, the parson should be able to get ALL their rights restored upon completion of their sentence. When a mental health issue is involved and explains a crime there should NEVER be criminal charges filed unless the person refuses treatment. Charging a person with Kleptomania and steals or burglarizes a place, it make NO SENSE to charge them with a felony and expend tax funds when the likelihood is that person can be successfully treated for that disease. We also should never allow a victim’s retribution to enter into any court case. That is NOT a valid reason for any sentence and makes NO sense.

  23. My son made a stupid mistake when he was 15 years old and they waited almost a full year the waited to charge him as an adult. It was a burglery of 200.00 and a couple of whiskey bottles. The owner claimed they emptied the place and made sure it was over 5000.00 to make it a felony. I always taught him to respect law enforcement but after what I saw them attempt to do by them pushing for a 10 year sentence for his first offense, it was hard to convince him they are honest, good people. It was a small town and they didn’t like outsiders to begin with. He has not committed a crime since and in my opinion in a case like his, he should be allowed to own firearm. I worked in juvenile corrections for 16.5 years and saw the worst and some that made a mistake and turned things around. It should be as Jason has stated I believe on a person to person basis. From a one time stupid mistake I have watched my son struggle for 25 years. Losing out on jobs he was qualified for because he is a convicted felon. It is not fair in my opinion. Tell that to the officer’s loved one’s who are fortunate to have him alive. If that man that came to his aid didn’t have his handgun, another officer would have lost his life.

  24. As a lawyer, I have seen a lot of what Snakeye describes. It happens too often. There are so many state and federal laws on the books nowadays, that it is extremely easy for a person to be charged with a felony for what should be a minor offense.
    Also, I am equally disturbed at the language both in the original article and in some responses about a person’s “privilege” of owning a gun. Owning a gun is not a privilege, it is a right.

  25. I think it should be determined on what kind of charge and if it’s non violent and they don’t receive any more charges. I received a felony drug charge when I had just turned 19. I had a felony amount of Marijuana over half a ounce in Arkansas is a felony. It was my first offense and under act 576, first offenders can get there record espounged as long as they don’t receive any more felonies while there on probation. I got five years probation which I completed , I paid my fines and fees off and saved money so once I completed probation I could pay my lawyer to clean my record. I grew up hunting with my dad, brother, and uncle, since I was 4. I was taught very strict gun safety rules and obide by them, for 6 years I couldn’t hunt and spend the quality family time that goes s long with it, it really broke my heart, results of making mistake the year after I was out of high school. I just got my paper work back from the state at the end of modern gun season (white tail deer ) I’ve been sober for 6 years always had a job paid taxes and child support I’m 28 now and pass on the tradition on hunting, fishing, and fire arm safety on to my daughter, her future brother or sister. Go hunting with my dad who is getting old spend the quality time with family that hunting, target shooting brings. I missed out on all this for six years for smoking weed that is now legal in some states. I did the crime and paid the consequences now that my record has been clean I can hunt again, but my lawyer told me I probably wouldn’t be able to buy any new guns do to a law Obama passed which doesn’t make sense to me that I can have the guns I already own but can’t buy new ones. I haven’t tried to buy new yet but I’m going to this spring or early summer. I firmly believe in back ground checks to keep criminals from buying guns but some people get in trouble early in life for something small and can never hunt or own legally for rest of there life. While gang bangers who wants Guns are still going to get them one way or the other, but someone who got in trouble at early age and is a changed person / productive member of society ( non violent ) can’t legally protect there self / family house hold from robber or take there children hunting.

  26. I am a felon only temporarily after three years of probation it drops to a gross misdemeanor I was told I could never have my firearm rights back even after not being a felon I was convicted of marijuana possession they raided my house and took my guns out of my safe I’ve never been convicted of a violent crime ever had a concealed carry permit so what you’re telling me see you all don’t want felons to have weapons no matter what marijuana is going to be legal in every state soon and you judge your bases on what

  27. If a man (or woman) can’t be trusted with a gun, why are they breathing free air/ If they’ve done their time and paid their dues all rights should be restored. The recidivism rate is more a conviction of our society and penal system that does not attempt to rehabilitate than of the individuals. Keep in mind that until around 1900, perhaps later, a convict had all rights restored upon leaving prison, and if he was carrying a gun when arrested it was returned to him upon release. What has changed that this can no longer be the case?

  28. I believe if you were to go through the process to have your rights restored and you have become a positive member of society then good for you. People make mistakes. I think there are violent felonies that should be part of a forever ban on gun ownership. I think it requires some case by case vetting.

  29. Any felon that was convicted of a violent crime should not be able to have a gun at all. Felon’s that have not committed a violent crime after all there time is completed than on a one by one basis can a judge clear his name and restore there rights if the judge deem it is time and the felon his shown that they have made it back to society as a productive individual.

    • ARE YOU SERIOUS? TELL THAT TO OFFICER WHOSE LIFE WAS SAVED THANKS TO THIS “FELON” THAT YOU SELF-RIGHTEOUS HYPOCRITES HAVE DEEMED UNFIT TO CARRY A FIREARM! TELL HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN THAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER THAT GUN RIGHTS FOR ANY FELON SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN RESTORED! I GUESS IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER FOR THE OFFICER TO HAVE LOST HIS LIFE RATHER THAN HIS LIFE BEEN PROTECTED BY A CONVICTED FELON. SMH

  30. RossA, “as a lawyer” you should then understand that, when a citizen is convicted of a serious crime, the court punishes him and he is stripped of virtually all of his civil rights. Otherwise, we could not punish him. The very act of incarceration violates civil rights of a free, law abiding citizen. Strip searched, body cavity searches, nail censorship, forced labor, etc., all violate civil rights, IF a person has such rights. However, a prisoner has essentially no rights. He has privileges that he earns in prison by his good conduct. Upon his release, certain civil rights are restored. Others not. Some are automatically restored later. Some not. Voting and firearm ownership are not.

    Nevertheless, after a reasonable time, even without the clear guidelines I laid out above, a convicted felon can even now petition to have his rights restored.

    The only problem with today’s process is that there are no clear guidelines that require his rights to be restored; it is left up to the opinion and capricious whim of every judge. And we have seen how well that works with today’s political activist judges who ignore the law, ignore the Constitution, and legislate from the bench. This is why we are slowly removing judicial prerogatives in making rulings and requiring minimum sentences for crimes. Judges have too many times shown themselves to be political animals who cannot be trusted to perform their sworn duty to uphold the law and protect and defend the Constitution.

  31. In New Jersey felons and political big money people are the only ones who can get a permit to carry a hand gun. In fact felons don’t even need a permit, and when arrested the first thing removed from their indictment is the gun charge.

  32. All of the opinions above are reasonable,,,in the eyes of the beholders. However, if we read and claim to be believers of the Constitution, the 2nd Amendment says nothing about being a felon. I also thought that we believed that after one served their time in prison that they had served their punishment. Personally, and this IS against the 2nd amendment, I believe that ONLY after one becomes convicted of two or more felonies should one give up their rights. That goes for ALL rights. After one felony and you stay crime free,,,no foul.

  33. Any evidence that prohibiting convicted non violent felons from legal gun ownership has, ever, prevented one gun crime?

  34. the right to vote is being returned to felons, so should the right to defend yourself. the exception should be only if a gun was used in the commission of a crime. then that right must never be returned!

  35. I have a friend that had a felony charge against him for kicking a LEO vehicle and , with some searching on damage done, the damage assessed was a few dollars over the minimum to be charged a felony. He did this dastardly deed as a minor an the LEO stated at the scene “he wanted the twins to pay for this crime”. This friend lost his brother in a car accident shortly after and he has been saddled with being a felon (no jail time served and damage paid for by his family) and has been a successful businessman and needs some sort of protection since his business is on a highway that is in a high risk place. I was his security guard until my neurosurgery stopped me and I got to know him very well personally. I think this law should be reevaluated to work to really target serious felon offenders if anything else to reduce the work load on LEOs. BTW, he has many different LEOs that use his place of business

  36. Just as with Illegals invading America, they need to follow proper immigration procedures to be here legitimately.

    So it is with a convicted felon. He is free to petition restoration of his rights. Until the process is completed, No, your average convicted felon on the street shouldn’t be allowed to possess firearms.

  37. Each one of us has done something on a felony level. The difference is you haven’t been caught, charged, and convicted. If a person has done his time, then re-evaluate his life. Forgiveness and recovery are very real subjects. Many people plead guilty, even though they were not guilty, to keep out of an emotional court where juries can get it wrong. Please think these things through before making a complete off-the-cuff judgment. For those who have given this subject intelligent thought, I praise you.

  38. Since when can a Right be suspended or taken away? Every man has a Right under our Constitution to keep and bear arms. It is indisputable. The issue isn’t who should have guns but how to punish killers and lesser criminals properly.

    Let’s not forget that it’s not just felons who can “lose” their Right to own and/or possess firearms. Misdemeanor crimes of “domestic violence” can also remove your ability under the “law”. Have you ever read the conditions under which you can be charged for that violation? I suggest you make yourself aware before you pick up a gun.

    Let’s acknowledge that real criminals don’t get their guns legally, but let’s also recognize that criminals trying to resist their former gangs or associates are under greater threat than any of us. Does their former behavior mean that they lost their Right to defend their lives? Remember they are going to be the ones who don’t pick up an illegal gun after they are released.

    It’s bad enough that felons have lost privileges that we all take for granted and they are discriminated against in the job market, so what are they to do then? It would be great if they could be given a plot of land and some chickens and pigs and seeds so that they could at least keep themselves and a family fed, and maybe enjoy some income from their labors.

    The people here that equate felons with murderers forget the felons who have not broken any law that you would consider violent or destructive. Think about that, and while you’re at it think about the kind of people our founders hoped that we would be. I think that is the greatest failure of this formerly great nation. People who just don’t care for anyone else.

    Since this space is usually about gun owners and self defense I want everyone of you to think about how easily your use of a gun could make you a felon because of the animus against gun owners that has made self defense nearly a crime in itself. Are you the next felon that your fellow gun owners will despise because you used a gun “inappropriately”??

  39. No one talks about the victim(s) of these felonies. Victims have rights that are most often ignored by our ‘justice’ system. A determination of a right to gun ownership should also take into consideration the damage/violence/suffering caused to victims as well as attempts by the ‘perp’ to pay back to victims and society. There is also a hidden factor here on wide spread prescription psychotropic drug use – often forced upon young people by our ‘mental health system’ that leaves youngsters more prone to violent and suicidal behavior. Things were simpler years ago when the judge would offer ‘jail or join the Army/Marine Corps’. Of course – back then – discipline was still enforced in the armed services …

  40. I was convicted of possession of 94 grams of pot in 1970. My case was expunged in 1974. At that time there was a law on the books that stated if your conviction was over 5 years old you could buy a firearm. When the Brady law came into effect it rendered all law abiding felons were turned into criminals again. I had been purchasing firearms for quite a few years when that happened. Unknown to me a small town had refused to abide by the expulsion and to this day carries me as a felon. I can’t purchase firearms and can’t get the case closed. There are good law abiding people who need the Brady law looked at. I am now 68 I was 18 when I was arrested and 20 when I was convicted. I am a 10 year Navy vet who carried the most top secret codes of the day for my government. This is my story.

  41. If the felon has completed a sentence and all sentencing conditions , why not ? The left wants to restore their voting rights , and will probably succeed . Why should a constitutional right be permanently denied for a temporary circumstance . Lifers and known to be violent offenders should at minimum be on parole as long as the courts have decided is needed to protect society . Those that complete their sentences and conditions of parole deserve ALL constitutional rights .

  42. The Founding Fathers had zero problems with convicted felons owning guns. Perhaps they really meant it when they said “shall not be infringed”?

    If they are too dangerous to allow them to defend themselves, then they are too dangerous to allow them out of prison.

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