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Are felons prohibited from owning muzzle loaders?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by NG VI, Mar 8, 2011.

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  1. NG VI

    NG VI Member

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    Like cap and ball revolvers and all the other muzzle loading firearms, I know they are not considered firearms by the ATF but how does that work, do they run afoul of the law anyway by the components they load with or by state-by-state laws regarding what constitutes a "loaded" firearm?

    It seems to me that if the federal government doesn't consider something a firearm individual states should be cool with people possessing them too, regardless of status as a felon. Personally I think it should take more than just any middling serious violation of the law or any accusation of domestic abuse (almost anything, actually anything at all if one member of the relationship gets upset, literally ANYTHING counts as a domestic assault) for someone to forfeit their right to own firearms for life. Them's the rules though, all you can do is hope you never wind up in a position where you could potentially get charged with a felony offense. It's easier than you might think.
     
  2. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    Felons are prohibited from owning deadly weapons in general, I believe. Not just specifically firearms. And a muzzleloader certainly qualifies for this.
     
  3. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    If that were so, they'd not be able to own automobiles, kitchen cutlery, golf clubs, etc.

    Under federal law, felons cannot own firearms.
    Under federal law, guns made prior to 1898 and muzzle-loading copies of same are not considered firearms.
     
  4. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Depends on state and local laws, not to mention the conditions of parole. It can get pretty complex
     
  5. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

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    Federally, they're not prohibited.

    You never hear about someone robbing the local 7-11 with a Brown Bess, though, even if they're prohibited from anything more. Black powder thus gives otherwise honest convicted felons a way to go hunting or have fun, while the violent felons ignore prohibitions anyway.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011
  6. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    I recall years ago listening to the G. Gordon Liddy radio show when Liddy once spoke about being an ex con (due to his participation in Watergate, for those of you in Rio Linda) he was prohibited from owning guns. He said there was an exception; blackpowder revolvers, and as a result he kept a repro Colt 1851 around for self defense. He also said that his wife owned a number of guns which he had unofficial access to.
     
  7. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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    This is admission of yet another felony on both the wife and the husband's parts. Allowing a felon access (official or not) to firearms is a felony. Should a family member living in my home commit a felony and get convicted, I'd have to make certain ALL my guns are locked up and I would have to be the only one with access to the safe. Even then, it can get tricky dealing with different localities. While it's fully within the law, some jurisdictions are more strict in enforcement than others.
     
  8. Joe Demko

    Joe Demko Member

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    Check your state weapons laws. Do they differentiate between cartridge and muzzle loading guns for criminal purposes? What are the conditions of parole?

    Cite?
     
  9. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    In Federal law it's 18 USC 921:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00000921----000-.html

    (3) The term “firearm” means
    (A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive;
    (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon;
    (C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or
    (D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.

    (16) The term “antique firearm” means—
    (A) any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898; or
    (B) any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (A) if such replica—
    (i) is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or
    (ii) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade; or
    (C) any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “antique firearm” shall not include any weapon which incorporates a firearm frame or receiver, any firearm which is converted into a muzzle loading weapon, or any muzzle loading weapon which can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt, breechblock, or any combination thereof.

    That's why you can walk into a sporting goods store, in most states, pick a muzzle loading rifle, shotgun or pistol off the shelf, take it to the normal cashier, pay and walk out with it with no paperwork or background check required. You can also have them delivered to your doorstep via mail order. Some state laws do regulate muzzle loaders as firearms, though.
     
  10. Joe Demko

    Joe Demko Member

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    That's all federal law for commerce involving such guns. You did not provide a cite about the legality of a convicted felon possessing one. Keep in mind that the most felons are convicted by state courts and there are 50 states with 50 sets of laws. A good start on providing such a cite would be to find one that differentiates between muzzle loading and modern arms for criminal purposes. e.g. in such a hypothetical place, the muzzle loading gun would not be considered a weapon.
     
  11. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    There is no Federal law that permits a felon to possess a muzzle loading gun. There is no law that permits a felon to possess a can opener, or a pair of shoes, either.

    As I stated, there are some state laws that prohibit felons from possessing black powder and muzzle loading firearms. But there is no Federal law prohibiting such possession.

    The definition of legal, in America, is an act which is not prohibited by law. The challenge is not for us to provide a statute that makes something legal. The challenge is for you to provide a statute which prohibits it.
     
  12. bikemutt
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    bikemutt Member

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    For WA at any rate: http://wdfw.wa.gov/enforcement/faqs.html

    "Q. Can a felon have a muzzleloader for hunting?
    A. If the felon has had his/her rights restored through the court of sentencing, yes the felon may use a muzzleloader to hunt. If the felon has NOT had his/her rights restored through the court, then the felon may NOT possess a pistol, shotgun, muzzleloader, or other firearm. The felon can hunt with archery gear but not firearms."
     
  13. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    ^^^ and that is because of Washington's definition of a firearm:
    and the subsequent prohibition of firearms possession in WA State law:

    However, it is still legal, AT THE FEDERAL level, for a felon to possess a muzzle loading rifle in Washington, but it is illegal at the state level.
     
  14. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    And bikemutt, the state law does not effect federal laws even within your state. A person may be ok under state law and still be prosecuted and imprisoned under federal law. It is much more common that you would think.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011
  15. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    So NavyLT colluded with Cornell University to tell us stories?
     
  16. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    A modern muzzleloader is defined within the "antique" exemption and thereby not a firearm. Do you have a cite for the *FEDERAL* law barring felons from owning muzzleloaders?
     
  17. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    According to 18 USC 921 (16)(C) you are mistaken. Since you didn't read post #9, I'll post it again for you:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00000921----000-.html
    Can you explain WHY a modern muzzle loading firearm would not fit into paragraph (C) above, which starts with the words "ANY muzzle loading...."
     
  18. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    and the US House of Representatives too!

    http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/18C44.txt

    Give me a couple days and I'll have ALL the gun control laws fixed..... :D

    I am on convalescent leave from knee surgery right now and have lots of free time....
     
  19. deadin

    deadin Member

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    So if a restricted person owns a replica Cap & Ball revolver, it is legal under Federal and may be legal under State law. However if that restricted person then buys a conversion cylinder for it, (Which also requires no "paper work")
    have they then run afoul of Federal law? (Constructive possession, at least.)

    Have there been any prosecutions under these circumstances?
     
  20. quatin

    quatin Member

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    I'm not up for digging through Texas state laws, but I remember in a hunters education course pamphlet which said that convicted felons may use a muzzle loader to hunt.
     
  21. george d dennis

    george d dennis Member

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    slingshot only
     
  22. cleardiddion

    cleardiddion Member

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    Here in Florida the FWC says that felons may use pre1898 or replicas thereof black powder arms to hunt.
     
  23. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

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    I would say that, yes, they have broken the law. Unless there is a law that still classifies it as an antique, they have just come into possession of a 'modern' firearm. It would be essentially the same as one buying an AR upper, then heading into their friend's machine shop with a block of aluminum and the blueprints for the lower.

    Probably a couple, but I can't cite. As a rule, a felon willing to knowingly break the prohibition on firearms is more likely to buy one off the black market than to construct a single-action revolver. I would hardly be surprised if a few convicted but gun-loving people have tried this without thinking it through, though.
     
  24. Joe Demko

    Joe Demko Member

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    ...and most felons were still convicted by state courts and you have entirely failed to address whether any of the 50 states would be all okey-dokey with a convicted felon walking about strapped with a Colt's Navy. In this, as with all discussions regarding firearms law, what the feds have to say isn't all that matters.
     
  25. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

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    Federal laws are binding no matter the court, and local laws are binding to their area. A felon tried in Florida is still a felon in Arizona, but is no longer bound to Florida law.

    It would depend on the state, but I'm pretty sure all 50 states consider a black powder revolver to be a weapon if not a 'true firearm,' and sure that most of them have laws against convicted felons carrying a dedicated weapon, aside from occasionally a 'defensive weapon' such as a baton or pepper spray.

    No, I can't speak for all. Arizona or Alaska, for example, may allow it if they don't prohibit felons from carrying things like aforementioned 'defensive weapons' and group a BP gun into the same range that those occupy. But in general, crimes committed with any deadly weapon are tried at the same level (aside from those states that differentiate between firearms and other weapons) and cap and ball revolver will at least be grouped in with 'deadly weapons'. So, in most cases no, there won't be any difference if someone holds up a store with a Colt Navy model or a Glock, and they're very likely to be free to carry the former.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011
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