Life after felony can be super-challenging. Felons’ lives are trailed by an endless list of restrictions. Among such restrictions is the federal-imposed restriction to owning firearms.
So, felons can not walk into a local weapon shop and acquire a firearm – regardless of its purpose. However, a felon has several other options for self-defense and/or hunting.
One common question among felons is, can a felon own a black powder muzzleloader?
Are you a felon thinking to purchase a muzzleloader? This article explains the possibility and likely restrictions – as spelled out in the constitution.
What is Muzzleloader?
A brief throwback
Muzzleloading rifles boast of being the first firearms that ever existed. Originally manufactured in the seventeenth century, muzzleloading rifles gained increasing prominence in the nineteenth century. The gun usually spots a flintlock, matchlock, percussion cap, and ignition.
Fast forward to 1968, the Federal Gun Control Law was enacted to restricts felons from firearms ownership.
Notably, the law does prohibit the owenership or use of antique firearms.
Since the Muzzleloader rifle was invented before 1898, it is considered an antique firearm, and hence not prohibited.
This also applies to more recent firearms that replicates the antique gun design. However such guns must not be one made to use rime-fire or related center-fire ammunitions that are scarcely available or not production in the us
Antique firearms include muzzleloaders, pistols or shotguns designed to work with black power – or its substitute – and not compatible with fixed ammunition.
Exceptions, however, are firearms converted to muzzleloader, guns that come with a firearm receiver or frame, or a muzzleloader, which is convertible into a fire fixed weapon by changing its bolt, breech-lock or barrel.
Why is it important to define these specs?
Understanding what the law considers a muzzleloader will save you from a hell of trouble.
The fact is, as a felon you’d be ready to battle some legal implications if found with anything besides an antique. You may face another felony charge and will likely do time.
However, we advise you discuss with a lawyer or local law enforcement before buying a black powder rifle. This will prevent you from possible law violations and, as well, protect you from resultant consequences.
Recommended: Can a Felon own a Crossbow?
Possessing an Antique Firearm
Technically, muzzleloaders are widely thought to be antique firearms. They do not belong in the class of banned firearms.
However, the ban on felons ownership of regular firearms also extends to possession of associated ammunitions.
That said, since it is designed with black powder – not cartridge or bullets – felons can own such ammunitions. The law, however, maintains that the black powder must not exceed 50 pounds.
Besides, it must be intended for cultural, sporting, or recreational purposes.
Some muzzleloaders are, however, not regarded as antique since they are designed with the receiver and frames of a firearm. Do well to consider this before buying your gun.
Also, persons banned from possessing firearms are also banned from owning any black powder-powered arms that may be converted to fire fixed weapon by the replacement of breechblock, bolt, barrel, or a combination of any.
Since federal laws permit former offenders to possess antique firearms, the same leniency may also be considered by local and state jurisdictions.
Again, it is imperative to confirm with an experienced local attorney or law enforcement before buying a muzzleloader.
Types of Black Powder Firearms
If you wish to buy a black powder firearm, you need to understand the various types available before you invest. Take note that the law is selective about their individual legality status.
Again, talk to local law enforcement before you opt for any. The forms include:
- Black powder pistol
- Black powder shotgun
- Black powder rifles
- Black powder revolvers
Are black powder pistol firearms?
Yes. The law treats black powder pistols as firearms. But, technically, they are more of antique firearms.
Although the law restricts felons from having conventional firearms, this provision does not cover antiques.
So as far as the federal law is concerned, felons can own a black powder pistol without any fear of violating the law. However, local and state laws may think different.
While a felon may be allowed possession of an antique black powder gun, some state laws might find it criminating.
What is the prison term for felons who own firearms?
The federal law gives a 10-year minimum sentence for ex-offenders found in possession firearms. Prison time may be however increased to 15 years in the event the ex-convict has had three or more sentences for some specific drug trafficking offenses or/and violence-related crimes.
FAQs: Are felons allowed to own muzzleloader?
Who is a felon?
A felon refers to one who has been found guilty of an offense punishable by over one year sentence – even if the judge uses his/her discretion to offer a lower sentence.
Can a felon own firearms if his sentence is being appealed?
A felon is prohibited from possessing firearms, except where the sentence has been overturned, dismissed, vacated, or where he has been pardoned. The firearm restriction continues for life – even after supervision, probation, and community custody.
Who else does the law ban from firearm ownership?
For other reasons, some persons may not be found with firearms. Common among other cases are domestic violence offenders, subjects of some forms of no-contact order, pending charges for severe crimes.
How can one restore his rights to own firearms?
Through the courts. While this is possible, the process is somewhat complex and may need some legal expert to help you navigate through it seamlessly.
Noteworthily, restoring one’s right to own firearms at the state court does not automatically offer you the freedom to own firearms under federal laws – and vice versa.
What if I possess a nonfunctional firearm?
As long as they are designed to function as firearms, felons are prohibited from owning one.
In fact, firearms receivers or frames, ammunition, silencers/mufflers are all prohibited.
Does the law restrict felons from hunting also?
Not at all – as long as it is not with a firearm. Felons can go hunting with weapons like hunting bows. Even with a hunting license, felons are prohibited from hunting with shotguns, rifles, and other firearms.
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.