Leaving prison and coming back to the world of freedom is like starting a new life. Once you have spent some time in prison for a felony, the outside world changes for you. You might have to start fresh with some new restrictions and laws.
The US Constitution allows its citizens to carry arms to defend their liberty however this does not apply to convicts.
Losing the right to own a firearm is one the important right snatched from the felons. They are not allowed to own a firearm. However, if you have ever been convicted in a court of law but hunting is your passion, you might be interested in knowing more regarding the crossbow law for felons. So can a felon own a crossbow? let’s try to find and explore the answer.
Federal Law for Firearms:
A federal law passed in 1934 restricted only violent felons to own firearms. The new Gun control act in 1968 made an amendment that prohibited all felons – whether violent or not to possess firearms.
What is a Firearm?
According to the definition of a firearm, it is a device that uses power by explosion or burning gunpowder to expel a projectile. This may include off the rack purchased pistols, rifles, and explosives, and also homemade devices that may resemble similar properties.
Are Crossbows Firearms?
A Crossbow is basically an updated version of a bow and an arrow, with the bow perpendicularly fixed on a stock. It shoots arrows which are called bolts. In the United States, Crossbows have a very confusing legal status due to their dangerous usage since they have characteristics and resemblance with both the firearms and archery equipment.
A crossbow fires an arrow mechanically without burning any gunpowder or explosion. Taking the definition of the term “firearm” into account, we can clearly state that Crossbow is a weapon to hunt animals, but it is not a firearm.
Can A Convicted Felon Own A Crossbow?
After analyzing the federal law for possessing firearms by felons and the definition of a firearm, it can be deduced that a felon can own a crossbow. But these laws may vary from state to state. The fact that the United States’ federal law allows it does not mean it is legal for a felon to own a crossbow in every state.
Crossbow laws in your state:
To be on the safe side, always consult your lawyer about your right to possess a crossbow. Some lawyers advise felons to take a petition for the restoration of their rights. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Most states allow only crossbows for hunting during the bow-hunting season. Others specify that a crossbow can be used for hunting for certain types of games.
The state of Oregon completely bans crossbows for both felons and non-felons. In New York, a convicted felon can not own any weapon. The term weapon includes both firearms and the crossbows in New York State. In the states of Hawaii, Massachusetts, and South Dakota, only disable persons can hunt using a crossbow.
Hunting Restrictions may vary from State to State:
Besides the legitimacy to carry and own a crossbow, the Hunting restrictions also need to be taken into account. This can vary from state to state. For the sake of nature’s preservation, some states can place a complete ban on hunting especially if a specific species is nearing extinction and you can therefore not expect any hunting licenses for firearms or crossbows. However, in other states where bans are not placed, background checks may be enforced over the applicants to determine their track record in order to grant them a hunting license.
Other considerations may include the following factors:
1. Some states conjoin the bow hunting and gun hunting seasons.
2. Other states have prolonged bow hunting seasons compared to gun hunting seasons
3. Certain states keep both hunting seasons completely separate from each other in order to prevent accidental misfires.
We believe that being an ex-convict should not limit or restrict you from enjoying your life. Once you are out of prison, you should be able to spend your life normally within the framework of the law. As an ex-convict who is aspiring to keep a crossbow, we advise the following:
1. Know your rights. Contact a lawyer who can guide you about your inherent rights in the United States Constitution.
2. Know the laws that apply to your state especially laws regarding firearms, crossbows, and hunting.
3. Don’t try to hide your previous track records during background checks. This can be used in a court of law against you.
Most importantly, keep yourself and others safe. Enjoy your new life!