Can a Felon Own a Pellet Gun? Although felons are barred from owning firearms, they are not barred from owning anything with the word “gun” in the name. Remembering this helps those who are keen hunters or sportsmen and women who want to have the opportunity to partake in shooting activities regardless of their felony charges.
What is a pellet gun?
A pellet gun is an air gun that uses pressurized air to shoot projectiles. These are generally made of lead, but can also be made of plastic. The ammunition is always in the shape of a pellet, however, so like a small ball. This is the easiest way to tell if you are using a pellet gun instead of a BB gun.
A pellet gun is also rifled (it has a bored barrel which helps increase the speed of a shot), which means that it can be used for hunting effectively. BB guns, on the other hand, have smooth barrels that slow down a shot and mean that hunting anything with them is effectively an exercise in futility.
As it uses a carbon dioxide canister to power the shot, it is considered an air gun. These are generally safe to use but will leave a nasty bruise or blood blister on the skin if a person is shot with them. Only freak accidents lead to death with pellet guns, so there is little comparison to an actual firearm.
Is a pellet gun a firearm?
You might have guessed from the previous section that a pellet gun is not a firearm – they do not have an explosive powering the shot, so they cannot be considered one (the fire in a firearm comes from having to create an explosive charge or “small fire” to ignite under the bullet which then propels it forward).
As it is not a firearm, a pellet gun is technically fine for felons to own, possess, and use from a federal point of view. However, this might change depending on where you live, so look into gaining expert legal aid before purchasing and hunting with the weapon.
Can a felon own a pellet gun?
Yes, a felon can own a pellet gun in a variety of states. Only those with the tightest and most oppressive laws that stand against felons deny felons the chance to use a pellet gun.
As the pellet gun is a relatively safe tool, you should be able to use it without much worry. However, consult legal aid in your area and make sure that the laws in your state or even county allow felons to use a pellet gun to make sure you don’t accidentally re-offend.
Similarly, just because you are allowed to use a pellet gun does not mean that you are allowed to use a firearm. Owning something that looks like a firearm means that you open yourself to a police officer or concerned member of the public mistaking the pellet gun as a firearm and arresting or reporting you. Be wary of how you use, hold, and store the gun.
Can a felon hunt with a pellet gun?
If you are eligible for a hunting license and successfully obtain one, sure. There is nothing saying that a felon cannot become a hunter as long as they can get the appropriate licensing and can use something that can effectively deal with the hunted prey in a safe and humane way.
Obtaining a hunting license as a felon can be difficult and, again, can depend on the state you live in. Proper research beforehand will cut down on the chases of reoffending or wasted time trying to obtain a hunting license. You should also make sure that your pellet gun is capable of hunting animals – failing to do so will mean that you might not get a license due to inadequate equipment.
Recent law changes have put a minimum joule count on air guns and their use for hunting. If you own a pellet gun that cannot produce the minimum “muzzle velocity” of at least 20 joules, you will not be able to hunt with it. This makes sense, really, as you will probably not be able to hunt and kill anything worth hunting and killing with such a weak weapon.
Make sure that you follow the law to the letter and go down all the correct rabbit holes to be in compliance with the law. When you have done that, check again. This can be a legal minefield for felons who are trying to partake in activities that are generally thought to exclude felons, so legal advice and even representation may be necessary to win your chance to have a hunting license and get back to hunting.
Remember that being mistaken for owning a firearm is also very possible if you are hunting with a pellet gun. Caution is important above all and being able to show that you are legally allowed to hunt with your pellet gun might be necessary for the name of clearing your name.
Yes, felons are usually allowed to own pellet guns and can use them for practice shooting and similar activities on their land without too much legal questioning and even less of it than would be able to go to court.
However, proper research for the rules of your state is incredibly important as you don’t want to accidentally break the law and use a pellet gun if you’re not allowed to.
Also only hunt if you have a hunting license. Failing to obtain one before using your pellet gun to hunt will make the question of owning this time of air gun irrelevant – you could face an additional sentence and this will lead to potentially spending more time inside.
Seek expert legal advice in your area, preferably from someone who often deals with the rights of felons or hunting law. They will be able to support you in getting back to your hobbies and resuming your life now that you have left prison.
Robert Gomez was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. He currently lives in Northern California with “the wifey,” “the kids,” “the dog,” and “that cat,” 🙁 He is also a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row. Felonyfriendlyjobs.org was born to help ex-felons get a second chance in life.