What States Can A Felon Own A Gun?

A felon is someone who has been convicted of a felony. Depending on the state, this could mean any crime punishable by more than one year in prison or certain serious crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, and kidnapping.

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In the United States, some states allow felons to have guns while others don’t. As it really depends on the crime committed. Different states have different laws in place that determine who can own firearms and under what conditions. In some cases, felons may be allowed to possess firearms depending on the state’s law.

Many factors go into determining whether or not a felon may legally possess a firearm including the type of felony they were convicted for when their conviction occurred if they received probation instead of jail time and other circumstances like mental illness or drug addiction. In this article, we will discuss these factors in detail so you can understand which states allow felons to own guns after release from prison and under what circumstances.

Factors That Determine Whether Or Not A Felon May Own A Gun

A felon’s right to have a gun may be restored after release from prison, depending on the crime committed and state laws. A person convicted of possessing illegal substances can own a gun in most states (though not all). Felons who are involved in any Fraudulent Activity cannot possess firearms unless fraudulent activity doesn’t involve using false pretenses or misrepresentation. The use of guns in violent crimes often has severe consequences. Many people think that felons should never legally be allowed to purchase weapons and they believe it is important to restrict them as much as possible with regards to gun ownership rights when they’re released into society again.

What States Can A Felon Own A Gun?

Factors depend on the type of felony they were convicted for:

  • Felons who have committed violent crimes may not be allowed to own a gun.
  • However, if the felon was convicted for less serious offenses like possessing drugs or fraud, it’s more likely that their right will be restored after release from prison.
  •  A felon who is involved in Violent Crimes could not possess a gun.
  • Serious offenses like possessing drugs or fraud, it’s more likely that their rights will be restored after release from prison.
  • A felon who involved in any Fraudulent Activity can own a gun (unless fraudulent activity involved using false pretenses)
  •  A felon who was convicted of possessing illegal substances can own a gun.
  •  Felons may not be allowed to have guns if the sentence they were sentenced by the court is for “life without parole” (parole eligibility after serving time) and/or an “indeterminate life term.”

Criminal records are public information that anyone may access on their computer at any given moment; however, it’s important to note that some states allow people with misdemeanor offenses only while other states will show felony convictions as well. Some states list specific crimes committed such as Maine where felons would be ineligible for gun ownership unless the crime was non-violent.

When conviction occurred Felons are most likely able to regain the rights of gun possession if they had their charge expunged by the state where they lived at the time of arrest or court proceedings while waiting

The Different States and Their Laws

Before you can be issued your gun permit, the state will conduct an investigation which includes reviewing all of your criminal histories. Some states like New York only allow certain offenders with Class E felonies who are on parole or probation from possessing firearms while other states such as Texas allow those guilty of misdemeanor crimes without restriction (although some misdemeanors may require payment of restitution in addition to owning guns). The laws differ based on what offense was committed so make sure you research before deciding whether or not possession is allowed for someone convicted of committing said crime.

Names Of States That Allow A Felon To Own A Gun

States that allow felons to have guns are:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas* – *depending on whether weapons charges are concurrent with other crimes. California (felonies commuted), Colorado (family member has authorization). Connecticut (felony conviction for individual who maintains right of residency in this state; also applies if felon convicted and incarcerated outside of the state.), Delaware (* unless applicant prohibited by law from possessing guns), Florida (*unless prohibited by court order or when a person convicted as a delinquent child living in a household with minors under 18 years old and subject to an injunction prohibiting contact between persons under 16 & 17 years old).

What States Can A Felon Own A Gun?

Other states like Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts (unless prohibited by court order), Michigan (felonies committed out-of-state) Mississippi (if felony conviction was within the past five years). Missouri, Montana (unless an applicant is convicted of certain offenses in which a gun will be forfeited as part of penalty or when a person found guilty under state law for a violation that would constitute unlawful possession of guns; also applies if the felon has been incarcerated and discharged from parole within last year; so long as misdemeanor conviction does not disqualify an individual from possessing guns license).

Nebraska (unless prohibited by the court except those disqualified because they were dishonorably discharged from military service. Also applies to persons who have been adjudicated mentally defective or committed to the mental institution within the past five years). New York (unless the gun conviction was for illegal possession of a weapon or regulated firearms; also applies if a felony conviction is still under appeal and sentence has not been completed),

Laws & Rules Of Other States Which Allow A Felon Of Gun Possession

States that allow felons to have guns:

  •       Alaska

In Alaska, Nonviolent criminals may possess guns after serving their time (except for sex offenders).

  •       Missouri

In Missouri, a person cannot be denied gun purchase solely because they are a felon unless it was a violent offense.

  •       Delaware

In Delaware, there are no restrictions on purchasing weapons when you’re a former convict but there are restrictions on owning them at home.

  •       Arkansas

This state prohibits all adults from possessing handguns unless they are in the process of defending themselves with deadly force. However, this does not apply to military personnel, police officers, peace officers who have had training specifically related to firearm use by a peace officer; licensed hunters while hunting game during hunting season; or shotgun owners if they possess only shotguns that do not exceed 18 inches in length)

You must be at least 21 years old before you may purchase any handgun and maintain possession without being disqualified due to a felony conviction If you are a felon, it is illegal to purchase or possess any gun in Arkansas.

  •       Nevada

Nevada law on what constitutes an exception for those convicted of felony crimes and firearms: Under state law in Nevada, criminals who have been sentenced may not acquire guns or ammunition. Furthermore, the possession of handguns by anyone other than members of the military, sheriffs/peace officers qualified within their jurisdiction to carry such weapons as part of their duties; licensed hunters while hunting game during hunting season.

Persons at least 18 years old but under 21 years old with written permission from his parent or guardian if he has completed hunter safety training course approved by Department that includes instruction about handgun use – Federal Law prohibits felons from possessing firearms (unless pardoned, or is the holder of a valid, state-issued hunting license).

States That Deny Felons To Own Guns

States that don’t allow felons to have guns:


In Texas Felons who have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime are not allowed to possess firearms. Some misdemeanors may require payment of restitution in addition to owning guns.


A felon may not possess a gun unless he or she has received an order from a higher court permitting possession of a gun;

New York

A person convicted of any felony offense is prohibited for life from possessing any kind of gun.

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island possession of a deadly weapon in one’s home by a convicted violent offender constitutes a “public welfare hazard.”


Any individual who has been convicted as either guilty pleas or as sentenced can never again purchase, carry, use, sell, manufacture or give away weapons with intent to do bodily harm on anyone else without first obtaining written permission from the governor.


In this state felony convictions and out-of-state serious felony convictions permanently disqualify someone from owning or possessing guns. However, those convicted of certain misdemeanors may apply to have their firearm rights restored.


No, it is not illegal to have a gun in the same house as a felon who has permission from the court that imposed the prohibition. However, they may be subjected to other restrictions under 18 USC §925 and need written approval before possessing firearms again if so barred by law.

It depends on what state you’re living in. California prohibits any person convicted of crimes such as assault or battery while armed, burglary of any kind, robbery involving threats against property or people; repeat drug offenders (crime-related convictions only); possession of explosive devices; theft offenses which included violence against another person; sex trafficking involving minors under age 14.

It depends on the state. Some states, like Hawaii and Illinois, prohibit anyone with a felony conviction from owning guns at all while others only deny felon’s gun ownership for some crimes (i.e., those involving violence).

A felon can get in trouble for trying to buy a gun. Felons are not allowed to purchase guns under federal law, but some states still allow them the right to do so if they have their rights restored.


Now after reading the whole article we can say that it’s not easy to become a felon and be able to own a gun, but some states still allow them the right to do so if they have their rights restored. It’s important to know what states allow felons to have guns to avoid legal consequences.  If someone is not convicted of any crime punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year; and more than five years since release from confinement, then he/she may apply for a state gun license.

Federal Firearms Licenses may be granted upon request which is typically done through ATF [Link] after careful review has been conducted on your behalf to see if they will be removed from the list that prevents them from purchasing guns.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at Ballachy.com .

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