What Legal Self Defense Weapons For Felons is available? Legal defense is a hot topic in America with many different individuals weighing in with many different opinions about what is appropriate and what is not. At the moment, in some states, a person has the right to defend their home with potentially lethal force using (should the need arise) a firearm.
Legal Self Defense Weapons For Felons
However, felons are not legally allowed to possess or use firearms on the threat of re-incarceration. How could a felon who is barred by law from owning a firearm protect his home like any other American? Although being convicted of a felony does take away certain rights from an individual, in these trying times, is it just that a felon is unable to defend him or herself in the same way as any other American citizen?
Or rather, is that the case? How can felons defend themselves in their homes and how can a felon prepare to ensure the safety of themselves and their loved ones?
Restrictions for self-defense
As previously mentioned, felons cannot own firearms or ammunition for a firearm. If they were to be found guilty of possessing or using a firearm, they could face more jail time (between an additional one to three years, potentially), so this is a serious matter.
Firstly, however, let’s define our terms: what is a firearm?
A firearm is a weapon that discharges a projectile through the use of an explosion, like a modern handgun or modern rifle. State stipulations as to what counts as a firearm do change slightly from state to state, so be sure to check your local legislature before enacting any advice found in this article.
However, we understand now the broadest definition of a firearm and what is likely to place a felon in danger of gaining further jail time should they acquire one.
Standard solutions for personal defense
It is important to remember that all felons are also all citizens who can approach an issue in the same way as any other citizen who has decided that they do not wish to obtain a firearm in order to protect their home.
These simple and legally sound methods for protecting your home include affixing an extra lock or deadbolt to any outward-facing doors and getting a reliable and effective security alarm installed in the house.
These are methods that most citizens would use to protect their homes and allows them to rely on and sometimes automatically contact local law enforcement in times where there is a need for them. If this does not make you feel safe alone, however, read on as we discuss weapons that are not considered firearms but do offer some level of protection.
At this point, it is important to state again that possession or use of a firearm when you have a felony charge on your criminal record is itself a crime that could see additional jail time, even if you were not convicted of a gun-related crime.
This extends to anyone who resides in your house as well – if you live in a house that keeps firearms, you are in danger of being spent back in prison. Regardless, if you wish to obtain an offensive weapon to protect your home, here are some suggestions.
A knife with a blade no longer than four inches is perfectly legal to own as a felon, even as a weapon of self-defense. It can be said that any weapon which can be considered a “melee weapon” can be technically owned by a felon, especially with the purpose of defending a house.
Additionally, you can obtain a simple bow, a compound bow, or a crossbow; although these weapons are primarily for hunting, the crossbow, in particular, could be used for the defense of your home as well. Although they are unwieldy and could be problematic in a situation that could for home defense, in most states, they are legal for felons to own.
Check this against your local legislation, however, as, for example, in Idaho, it is illegal for a felon to own any weapon which propels a shot or projectile by a force such as firearms or by mechanical means – this includes compound bows and crossbows.
Also getting proper licensing where it is legal to own a bow should be a relatively straightforward process, but important for justifying your possession of such a weapon. In a similar vein, owning pellet guns and (possible) “muzzleloader” weapons may also be possible, however understandably this could lead to misunderstanding with local law enforcement.
Be sure that you legally possess anything which could be construed as a dangerous weapon, especially if it bears resemblance to a firearm, and always follow the guidelines that have been published in your local area for felons.
An exception to the firearm ban without searching for a restoration of your firearm rights is to gain an exception through the “affirmative defense of necessity”. These are exceedingly rare exceptions, so do not plan to be granted your rights back on these conditions without very good reason, but there are a number of conditions that can grant someone the legal use of a firearm. They are:
- Reasonable fear of death or serious injury
- No reckless placement of themselves in the path of that threat
- No reasonable alternative to firearm possession
- Reasonable belief that possession would avert the threat
- Maintain possession only as long as necessary to avoid the threat
These are 5 specific rules that must be fulfilled to justify a felon who does not have the right to bear arms. All 5 rules must be fulfilled to the letter or there is a chance that the individual will face prosecution, no matter how legitimate the reasons were for all other conditions that were met.
There have been cases going through the courts where a felon has ended up serving additional time due to the fact that only 4 conditions were met and they then “held onto the weapon for longer than was necessary”. Obviously, this is not a long-term plan for gaining back firearm rights, but in a pinch, this can be good to be aware of.
How to restore firearms rights
To restore full firearms rights to a felon, a number of things can be done. The most straightforward (in the grand scheme of things) method for gaining rights back is to apply for the restoring firearms rights appeal. The rules for this process largely depend on which state you received the felony charge in, so investigate this in more detail to find out the specific stipulations that relate to your case.
If you received a federal felony charge, there is an application procedure that can be followed through the federal government. Seek legal aid before proceeding with either of these methods in order to improve your chances of succeeding in winning your rights back.
Receiving a pardon
Another option is searching for a pardon – again, this is largely dependent on which state you are applying in and what the crime you committed was, but you must show that you have paid your debt to society and have made the appropriate steps to show you have a good character that is moral and benefits society.
If a pardon is granted, it is as if the criminal record has been forgiven, the sentence is ended (should it still be being served), and the restrictions that are imposed on the individual are removed. This does not mean that the conviction never happened, however, so it would still appear on a background check for a job, but it does mean that you are now no longer barred from owning or using a firearm.
This needs legal support as it can be a long and difficult process to prove that you have paid your debt to society. At the very least, a minimum of 5 years must have passed since the crime was committed and it may require specifications such as employment or attending a re-entry program, but it is possible.
Expunging your crime
The most effective way to restore your firearm rights is to apply to have your crime expunged from the record. Not only will this allow you to own and use firearms again, but the conviction will be removed from your criminal record and you will be able to stop declaring that you were convicted of a felony when applying for jobs without fear of committing fraud.
This can be, yet again, a drawn-out process that does require legal aid most of the time, but it will be the best course of action to take in order to protect your home and allow you to rebuild your life.
This course of action again requires you to show that you have repaid your debt to society and that you are a functioning member of society with a good moral character.
This is difficult to prove, so be prepared to show your employment history, any course or education that you undertook after leaving jail, and how you have reformed so that you will not re-offend. If you can do this, you have a good chance at expunging your felony conviction and gaining back your right to bear arms.
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.