Felons who have been convicted of a crime are usually sentenced to prison. In addition, they may be forced to give up certain civil rights after serving their sentence to pay for their crimes. People convicted of felonies in the United States may lose their civil rights, including the right to vote, hold public office, serve on a jury, and own firearms , including a gun. Laws barring a felon from obtaining a gun are designed to deter repeat acts and prevent known offenders from committing new crimes.
According to statutory laws in the US, convicted felons found in possession of a weapon may face harsh penalties, including prison time.
There is, however, an exception to every rule. As a result, a convicted felon may own a gun in specific circumstances. Let’s find out which circumstances this exception applies and other vital pieces of information.
Can a Felon Own a Gun: Overview
The right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed by the United States Constitution’s Second Amendment. The right to keep and bear arms, however, is not unrestricted. Residents of the United States, including Texas who have been convicted of a felony may have their firearms rights restricted.
But while a felony conviction does not always result in a lifetime prohibition on possessing a handgun, persons who have been convicted will be unable to own/ handle a firearm until their rights have been restored lawfully.
Possession of a firearm by someone with a felony conviction on their record is a third-degree crime in and of itself.
What Does “Possession” Mean?
If an you have been charged with possessing a firearm as someone who has been convicted of a felony, the prosecution must prove that you had one. Although the concept of possession is vague, courts across the country, including have defined it as the actual care, custody, control, or management of a firearm. The prosecution must show that you voluntarily obtained a firearm or that you were aware that you had custody of the firearm for a long enough amount of time to allow you to terminate it.
Meanwhile, your lawyer can fight the prosecutor’s charge if you were unaware that you had a firearm in your possession. Your lawyer can also argue for a dismissal if you were not freely in possession of the firearm but were forced to do so by someone else. Even if your roommate possessed a gun, you were never in complete control of it. All of these elements play a role in constructing a strategic legal defense when faced with a possession charge.
When Is It Permissible for a Convicted Felon to Own a Firearm Under Federal Law?
A convicted felon is allowed to own a gun under federal law if:
- Conviction was overturned.
- Sentence was commuted to a misdemeanor.
- State where the conviction occurred restored the felon’s civil rights.
Possession of a Gun by a Convicted Felon in Texas State
A person who has been convicted of a crime can be prosecuted with unauthorized possession of a firearm under Texas law. To convict a defendant of possessing a firearm by a convicted felon, prosecutors must prove the following elements:
The defendant possesses a gun after being convicted of a felony but before the fifth anniversary of his or her release from prison, community supervision, mandatory supervision, or parole, or after the same period at any location other than the defendant’s home.
Can a Convicted Felon Buy/Own a Gun After Ten Years in Texas? State vs. Federal Law
If you have been convicted of a crime in Texas, you are not allowed to have a handgun in your home until five years have passed since your sentence was finished. In other words, five years after you’ve completed your jail or parole sentence, you can keep a firearm in your house. The federal legislation against felons in possession of a gun, however, differs from state law.
As a result, a convicted felon can still be tried and punished under federal law, even if they can lawfully keep a gun in their house under Texas state law in restricted circumstances. Federal law prohibits convicted felons from ever possessing a firearm. And because the current federal policy is to defer to state law on this subject, it’s doubtful that a defendant would face charges, but it’s worth thinking about.
The Penalty for a Convicted Felon Possessing a Firearm in Texas
Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries a severe penalty. This offense is classified as a felony of the third degree. If you are found guilty, you could face up to ten years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. Those who are labeled habitual felony offenders face harsher penalties under Texas’ criminal laws.
A second-degree felony can be charged if the defendant has previously been convicted of a felony other than a state jail felony. A second-degree felony has even harsher penalties than a third-degree felony. This felony conviction can result in a jail sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
In Texas, there is now just one option for a felon to reclaim his or her ability to own a gun. He or she will have to apply for a complete pardon. And because the governor only grants a few pardons each year, a pardon is both improbable and costly.
It is also a crime to possess a gun unless Texas state legislators modify the law governing a felon in possession of a firearm, and less than five years have passed since the sentence was completed. Even then, felons are only allowed to keep a firearm in their home for self-defense.
Is it Legal for a Felon to Own a Gun in Nevada?
In Nevada, a felon can only own a gun if he or she receives a pardon. A convicted felon is not allowed to own a gun in Nevada, as it is in the United States. In Nevada, it is likewise illegal to own a gun if you have been convicted of a domestic violence offense.
What is a Pardon in Neveda?
In Nevada, a convicted felon can ask the government for a pardon for his or her previous offenses. A pardon is a sort of forgiveness that does not remove a criminal conviction. Pardons in Nevada can restore a felon’s civil rights, including the ability to own weapons, that he or she lost after being convicted.
The Nevada Board of Pardon Commissioners makes the decision on whether or not to grant a pardon. The Nevada governor, the Nevada Supreme Court Justices, and the Nevada attorney general make up the board.
When deciding whether or not to award a pardon, the Pardon Board will take into account a variety of criteria. Some of these elements are:
Whether the felon completed all of his or her sentences, including paying all fees.
The board will determine whether the felon has served enough time since completing his or her sentence.
#3. Criminal History
When a felon’s application is presented to the Pardon Board, the Pardon Board will review the felon’s entire criminal history.
#4. Type of Offense
The type of offense committed, as well as its gravity, will be considered by the Pardon Board. Pardons are less likely to be granted to felons who have committed major offenses.
The Pardon Board will assess whether the felon has shown remorse for his or her crimes.
The felon’s character will be scrutinized closely, including the felon’s lifestyle and whether or not he or she has adjusted to life in society. In essence, the convicted offender must demonstrate that he or she has been rehabilitated since the felony conviction.
If the felon is unable to find a job as a result of his or her crime, a pardon may be granted.
Meanwhile, people whose criminal case is on appeal, who are registered as sex offenders, who are under criminal investigation, or who have not proven that they have been rehabilitated are unlikely to receive a pardon from the Pardon Board.
Possession of a Firearm by a Person Convicted of Assault
Residents of Texas who have a felony conviction on their record aren’t the only ones who can’t own a gun. A person who has been convicted of a Class A misdemeanor assault involving a family member or household member is prohibited from possessing a handgun. They can be charged with a crime, much like convicts, if they hold a firearm before the fifth anniversary of either their release from imprisonment or their release from Community Supervision after being convicted of a misdemeanor. The offense of having a firearm is a Class A misdemeanor in this case.
What About Deferred Felony Gun Ownership?
Assume you were not completely convicted of a crime. Instead, you were given a deferred decision. In this scenario, Texas allows you to own a gun. Your right to own a gun has not changed because you are not a convicted felon. This is also true at the federal level.
What Constitutes Illegal Possession?
While a convicted felon may be permitted to own a gun in Texas, there are other methods to be prosecuted for illegal possession (or becoming unable to possess a gun in general).
For example, if you have been charged with domestic violence, you are not permitted to own a firearm (even under Texas law). Furthermore, illegal citizens, fugitives, and illegal drug users are all prohibited from owning firearms.
Felon in Possession of a Firearm Charge Consequences
As you might expect, a felon found in possession of a firearm faces serious consequences.
“A person will not own or have any firearm in his or her possession, custody, or control if the person has been convicted of a felony in this State or any other state, or of a felony in violation of the laws of the United States of America,” according to Nevada law.
The law applies to “any loaded or unloaded firearm that is operational or inoperable.”
This implies that if found in possession of a firearm, a person who has been convicted of a felony in any state or under federal law may face criminal charges in Nevada.
A felony charge will be filed against a felon discovered to own or in possession of a gun in Nevada, Texas and any part of the country. If convicted, the felon faces a sentence of up to six years in state prison, but no less than one year, and a fine of up to $5,000.
A felon in possession of a firearm is subject to federal law as well. The following are the elements of federal crime:
- Possession of a firearm or ammunition, or receipt of a firearm or ammunition;
- By a convicted felon or a person facing felony charges; and
- The weapon and/or ammunition were transported across a state border.
A conviction under this statute can result in a sentence of up to ten years in jail. If the felon has three or more prior felony convictions, he or she will be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in prison without the possibility of parole.
Common Defenses to Charges of Felon in Possession of a Firearm
If you’ve been charged with felon in possession of a firearm, don’t assume you’re out of choices. This charge can be defended in a variety of ways. These may include the following:
- There is no evidence that the offender actually possessed a weapon.
- Unconsititutional search and seizure
- Misconduct by the police
- Evidence / false accusations
- Insufficient forensic evidence
Meanwhile, the legislation of Nevada and couple of other states do not restrict anybody from using a weapon or other explosive “material, component, substance, or device” as part of any mining, agriculture, or construction job.
Establishing reasonable doubt is one of the best defenses for a felon accused with unauthorized possession of a firearm. If a felon is charged with illegally possessing a firearm, he or she should contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible so that the lawyer can begin questioning witnesses and gathering evidence in order to build a solid case.
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