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Can convicted felons own guns?

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2022 | Violent Crimes |

Convicted felons in South Carolina often move on from their past mistakes and turn their lives around. However, having such a status can still haunt you for the rest of your life, as certain rights and privileges will be permanently revoked. What are termed civil disabilities even strip convicted felons of their constitutional right to bear arms.

Most felons can’t own guns or ammunition

According to Chapter 44 of Title 18 of the United States Code, convicted felons cannot possess any firearms or ammunition. The specific law applies to any person who is convicted of a crime that is punishable by more than one year of imprisonment. However, white-collar crimes that are not violent offenses and felony convictions from foreign countries are exempt from this law.

Other people who can’t own guns

There are several other categories of people who are not permitted to own guns in the U.S. These include:

  • Fugitives
  • Dishonorably discharged soldiers
  • People that renounced U.S. citizenship
  • Some mentally ill citizens
  • Some illegal drug users
  • Misdemeanor domestic violence convicts
  • Undocumented immigrants

There are also some court orders that can temporarily or permanently ban a person from owning guns. People that are legally barred from possessing guns or ammunition can get into a lot of trouble if they are caught with a firearm. Unlawful possession of a firearm can result in a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in jail.

Restoring your gun rights

While there are paths to restore gun rights for some U.S. citizens, the process can be very difficult for convicted felons. In fact, people who are convicted of a federal crime must receive a presidential pardon to get their gun rights back. A convicted felon may look into having their record expunged in order to restore their civil rights.