criminals and gun ownership


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bmn2
December 26, 2008, 12:12 AM
I know these may be dumb questions, but here goes:

We know that criminals are not supposed to have guns.

1. If someone commits a crime, how long are they ineligible to own one? Is it indefinite? A few years? Or does it depend on the serious the crime is?

2. How are criminals supposed to defend themselves when can't legally own a gun? Live with someone who legally owns one? (Yeah, I know some of you folks would say that criminals don't deserve self-defense.)

3. If someone legally owned a gun before committing a crime, are they legally required to forfeit them?

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bja5006
December 26, 2008, 12:35 AM
these vary from state to state and crime to crime.

how can they defend themselves?... be extra careful now. or befriend their cellmate.

is this a "my 'friend' is now a felon" question? :neener:

mljdeckard
December 26, 2008, 12:42 AM
I didn't have to look at your post count to see that you are a noob. It's ok.

By federal law, convicted felons may not posess a firearm. Period. No matter what degree of felony, no distinction between violent or non-violent, felony, banned, period. This is in effect unless the felony is expunged. This is where it can get interesting. The ban on felons is a federal law, but the felony can be a state felony, each with their own rules and guidelines for expungement. Now, once the felony is expunged, by whatever process is required by that particular court, this doesn't mean that the person will automatically pass a NICS check. I'm not exactly sure why, I would blame mostly beurocracy, but that's the way it works sometimes. Just because the court may seal the record, it's difficult to force all existing traces of that conviction to just go away everywhere.

I have a bro-in-law who participated in some minor burglary right out of high school. He was the lone non-juvenile involved. He was convicted of a felony, but later decided that if he had played smart and hired a real lawyer, he probably wouldn't have been. (Oh well.) After about ten years he started the process of expungement. He told me that he had been expunged and wanted me to help him buy a gun. I told him that if it was expunged, and he was eligible, he didn't need my help. I told him to go to the DOJ website and find what his record says, so he knows for sure. That was a few years ago, he hasn't said anything since.

The right to self-defense is a fundamental human right. Under the Constitution, rights are not taken away (here's the important part) WITHOUT DUE PROCESS OF LAW. There are those here who say that it should be black and white, either you are a criminal or you're not. Either you belong in prison or you don't. If you aren't entitled to all of your rights, you shouldn't be out of prison. The reality they are ignoring is, that most people released from prison don't deserve to be released. The system can't handle the population it has, much less hold all felons until they are in a position to have all their rights restored. A felony should hold significance. A LIFETIME of significance.

Now having said that, I would leave some room for rules a little less broad. I don't think Martha Stewart's felony conviction should prevent her from owning a gun. I DO agree that it should prevent her from sitting on the board of any publicly traded corporation, since that was the nature of her crime. I would be willing to listen to discussion about limiting the gun ban to only violent felons.

I have discussed this before, and been yelled at from both sides for it, but I'll say it again anyway. If I'm a cop, and I respond to the household of a former felon for an unrelated matter, (meaning, someone besides them was in trouble,) and I saw he had a shotgun behind the door, but I saw no indication that he was using it in anything besides a defensive role, I would probably look the other way. He probably has more need for a defensive arm than any of us.

Yes, they must get rid of all firearms. I have absolutely no way of knowing how this would be enforced, the fact that they were convicted of one crime isn't in and of itself probable cause to believe that they are committing another crime, (being a felon posessing a firearm,) I know that most gun owners wouldn't have too much trouble handing them off to friends and family.

Frank Ettin
December 26, 2008, 02:46 AM
+1, mljdeckard. And I have to say that it really doesn't bother me that convicted felons can't have guns. That's part of the baggage that goes with committing a felony.

Convicted felons continue to have the legal right to defend themselves, but they can't have guns.

And yes, someone convicted of a felony (some misdemeanors) will lose his guns. I'm not sure how this actually gets done.

notorious
December 26, 2008, 02:55 AM
Felons are prohibited for life from owning any firearms.

In CA, misdemeanants are prohibited for 10 years if it is a crime of violence.

If you get your felony reduced to a misdemeanor and expunged, you can get your right to own a firearm back.

If you are a gun owner and get busted for a felony, you have to give up your firearms, via sale, gift, etc.

The laws are black and white and if you give it to your wife, while you don't own it, you can be legally construed to have possession.

The law is felons in possession, not felons in ownership so you can conceivably get in trouble even if it's not your gun but you live in the same house and have access to the gun. I don't know of any prosecutions for this but I am not a subscriber to the Prosecutorial Abuse Weekly Newsletter either.

As for self-defense... oh well, get a bat or crowbar like that idiot from Ashland and see if you can convince some other felons to be nice.

RP88
December 26, 2008, 02:59 AM
to my understanding, there are several ways to get rid of guns.

One is of course to pass them off to friend or family. But, that means that they belong to them. You can't use, possess, etc. It's gone from you.

Another is to forfeit them to the court. Some states can/may/will order you to (in)voluntarily turn in certain types of property at times. Guns can be one of them, of course. They'll also take away your license to carry, license to buy, own, etc. Look up your local laws for that. It will depend on the crime and the nature of other things.

There is also a way to have the weapons 'supervised', usually by an FFL or someone of such related field, and assist you in selling them. As long as you don't possess them, basically. I don't know exactly how that works, though.

And the last and most likely the most common way: have them seized by the court/police after they rip through everything you own or catch you with it during the arrest.

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