Topic:
CRIME; CRIMINALS; FELONIES; WEAPONS; PERMITS; FIREARMS; LICENSING;
Location:
WEAPONS - GUN CONTROL;
Scope:
Other States laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report


March 25, 2002

 

2002-R-0335

STATES THAT ALLOW FELONS TO POSSESS HANDGUNS OR GET GUN PERMITS OR LICENSES

 

By: Kristina D. Arsenault, Research Fellow

You asked if any states allow felons to possess handguns or obtain gun permits or licenses.

SUMMARY

Of the states that require a person to have a permit or license to carry a handgun, we found only one that appears to allow felons to get permits. Oregon allows a person who has been found guilty of a felony by reason of insanity to apply for a gun license (Or. Rev. Stat. 166.250(1)(c). Also, North Carolina allows a person convicted of a felony to get a permit if he has been pardoned and the permit does not violate the terms of the pardon (N.C. Gen. Stat. 14-404(c)(1)).

Of the states that do not require a person to have a permit or license to carry a handgun, we found three that allow felons to possess handguns after a certain amount of time has elapsed since their conviction or release from imprisonment and two that allow a person convicted of a felony to possess handguns if he has been pardoned. Vermont does not have any statutory requirements governing acquisition or possession of handguns by anyone, including felons. It has a constitutional provision that says that “the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State—as standing armies in

time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and … the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power” (Vermont Const. Ch. 1, Article 16).

Federal law prohibits felons from possessing handguns. The law requires any federal firearm licensee selling firearms to conduct a National Instant Criminal Background Check to determine if the purchaser is eligible to possess firearms.

Table 1 shows the states and circumstances under which felons may possess guns.

TABLE 1: STATES THAT ALLOW PEOPLE TO POSSESS GUNS OR GET GUN PERMITS AFTER FELONY CONVICTIONS

STATE

CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH GUNS

MAY BE POSSESSED

Kentucky

Person was granted a full pardon by the governor or the President or granted full relief by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to the 1968 Federal Gun Control Act (Ky. Rev. Stat. 527.040).

Louisiana

After 10 years from the date of completion of sentence, probation, parole, or suspension of sentence (La. Rev. Stat. 14:95.1 (c)(1)).

Minnesota

After 10 years has elapsed since the person was restored to civil rights and during that time the person was not convicted of any other crime of violence (Minn. Stat. 609.165 subd. 1a).

South Dakota

After 15 years has elapsed since the person was last discharged from prison, jail, probation, or parole (S.D. Codified Laws 22-14-15).

Wyoming

The person has been pardoned (Wyo. Stat. 6-8-102).

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