Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

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Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by Disenfranchised on Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:38 pm

I just stumbled upon MSGO while surfing, looks like a very informative forum. I have a question that hopefully someone here will have a definitive answer for. When I was in my twenties I made some poor decisions and found myself involved in a federal drug conspiracy for distributing marijuana. I accepted a plea agreement and served eighteen months in federal prison followed by 3 years on probation. I am aware that I lost the right to own or posses any firearm. What I cant seem to get a absolute answer on is black powder or antique firearms. Some I have spoken with say that I can posses a muzzle loader or antique firearm in MS. Some have told me no, I can not. Searching the net hasn't returned anything definitive either, at least not for MS. I grew up hunting and would love to again. I fully expect that some of you will not welcome me being that I am a convicted felon. I cant say that I blame you. I just hope someone here will be able to finally give me a definitive answer one way or the other. Thanks, Jason

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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by captain-03 on Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:35 pm

Welcome to MSGO, Jason. Sorry, I do not know the answer to your question; however, I am sure someone will step up to the plate.

In my NONINFORMED opinion, anyone can purchase a BP gun -- even a minor ... ????

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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by PhillipM on Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:00 am

When I was on the grand jury the district attorney, the district attorney comprising of Copiah, Claiborne, and Jefferson counties, said there is a legal pathway to have rights to firearms restored. He said in all the years he was a DA, no one had gone through the process. I'm pretty sure he was referring to state charges and not federal so you need to consult a lawyer.

I do know a game warden busted a convicted felon shooting squirrels out of season that came before us. On top of out of season he was charged with convicted felon in possession of a firearm which was 10 years off the bat. A grand jury's job is to determine if there is enough evidence to hold a trial for the accused. It was cut and dried with that one but I felt like crap doing it.

I hope you have overcome any addictions and can enjoy hunting again one day. If you do find an exception in Miss code of 1972 for black powder, you need to print it out and have it on your person when LEO checks you. As you know you are tainted for life.

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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by sidroski on Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:21 am

If a federal judge gets convicted of a felony (Nixon, down on the coast) and gets caught hunting birds, you better have your p's and q's straight. I don't know what they gave former federal judge Nixon, maybe some of you Gulfcoaster's remember.

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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by Hrdnox on Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:31 am

One time on Law Call, someone was asking about your topic and one of the attornies made a statement that a convicted felon not only loses his rights to firearm possession, but also loses his hunting rights in MS. Seems I also heard something similar on Paul Ott's show and a Game Warden that was on there said a felon couldn't even bow hunt or trap legally, because they had lost their hunting rights in MS. They said the only answer was to get the record expunged, but also said it was difficult in drug and felony DUI cases, because both were considered mitigating factors that could effect hunting. Not sure exactly what the relationship would be, unless it's to do with that addiction question on the Federal firearms application. At any rate, the penalties are serious enough that I think I'd be seeking real legal advice over any well meaning advice you're likely to get anywhere else.

You'll probably be revisiting this issue at a later date anyway, because it'll have to be addressed when you retire. Even though felons pay into the SS sytem all their life, they don't qualify for any benefits until their records are expunged. Judges are more inclined to do that then, provided the felon has lived a productive life. At that point, you'll regain all the rights you've lost, including voting rights. Sound like I know an awful lot doesn't it? Not because I'm a felon, but rather because I was involved in helping a friend get his rights restored. I think it wound up costing him about $5K once all was said and done.

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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by bubbat on Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:53 am

Don't know how you would go about getting your rights restored with federal charges, but I do know a guy that got drunk one night about 15yrs ago and decided to burn his soon to be 1st ex-wife's house down.

He got caught and was charged with arson. Pled guilty and got a shorter sentence. Don't remember exactly how many years his sentence was but he did spend 18 months in Parchman and was released on probation for the rest of his sentence.

His lawyer had all his rights restored and he was buying guns and deer hunting about 3 months after being released on probation. So there might be a way for you to get yours returned too.

Your best bet is to get a lawyer and see what he says or can do for you.


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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by Hrdnox on Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:04 am

My friends charges and time were Federal. I think he said he served 10 years on a cocaine traffiking charge. His wasn't that much trouble once the lawyer got involved. Same judge that convicted him expunged his record. I got the feeling it was all about the Benjamins and that enough of them would take care of just about any problem you have. He was convicted in his late 50s and was retirement age when he got out, so all this was done almost immediately upon being released. I do remember the judge saying that all his rights had been restored and he looked into the gun issue recently. He was told it was no problem, since his record was now clean.

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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by Doug Bowser on Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:55 am

People under 21 cannot buy muzzle loading handguns.

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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by jakeg823 on Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:25 pm

Someone said you lose hunting rights, so if that is the case, that would ruin my suggestion, assuming you aren't going to try to get your record expunged. I was going to recommend bowhunting, since a bow is not a firearm(that I'm aware of).

As far as being a felon though. You did your time correct? I don't think you'll get a whole lot of flak from us, at least not me. Everyone deserves a second chance. We all do stupid things at some point or another. Good luck with whatever route you take!

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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by MrGoodtime on Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:38 pm

I need to have a talk with a few ole boys, i know several who are felons and do bowhunt.

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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by Disenfranchised on Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:38 pm

Thanks for the welcome and I appreciate all the responses. Federal law does not consider back powder or antiques to be a firearms. But each state has its own laws on black powder/antique firearms. From what I have read MS makes no distinction between black powder or antiques. So if I understand it MS considers Black powder and antiques to be firearms? I have researched this for some time and cant seem to get a definitive answer. I was hoping one of you were a lawyer. lol. Until I have a statute in my possession that clearly states that I may posses a black powder gun I will not tempt fate. The mandatory minimum for felon in possession of a firearm is five years in federal prison. That much I do know. Nothing is worth your freedom, I learned that the hard way. If I only knew then what I know now...I would be in the woods with you guys. Thanks


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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by 3spop on Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:48 pm

bo and luke knew the answer all too well. Smile

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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by sigma74216 on Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:35 pm

I'm with others on here, I've heard or read that felons can not get a hunting license. But I work with a guy that is a felon and his PO told him he can hunt with a bow or air rifle but nothing that takes a powder charge.

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Post by BloodTrails on Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:10 pm

sigma74216 wrote:I'm with others on here, I've heard or read that felons can not get a hunting license. But I work with a guy that is a felon and his PO told him he can hunt with a bow or air rifle but nothing that takes a powder charge.

Ask any pawn shop owner, a black powder rifle, pistol, or shotgun is not considered a
firearm by ATF, and thus felons can purchase them.

A .50 cal knight I owned was sold to a felon through a pawn shop. He wanted to hunt, but could not have a firearm in his possession. You can buy a muzzle loader without filling out a ATF form.

And I understand that you do not automatically lose your hunting rights by being a felon, though a judge could put that provision in your sentence. And likely would if you violate hunting regs as part of your crime.




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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by captain-03 on Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:18 pm

Again, another subject for a Lawyer familiar with these issues!!

IANAL - Again, please do not ACT on anything you may read here in regards to being legal or illegal!! Consult a professional before you ACT!!

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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by Disenfranchised on Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:18 pm

I was hoping that one of you guys had personally dealt with this in the past or even better was an attorney. lol. I am very familiar with this subject and know federal law on black powder firearms. Federal law does not consider black powder guns to be a firearm and thus are legal to buy, own, posses by a felon. The kicker is state law. All states are different. Some hold to federal law and in those states it is legal, other states make no distinction between black powder and a regular firearm. In those states it is illegal reading the MS law it seems like they fall into the latter. For me to even consider buying a black powder gun I would have to know definitively that it was legal. I would never chance it. Never. I was kind of hopping that one of you were a lawyer. Thanks again for all the replies. -Jason

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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by dhollis51 on Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:40 pm

contact the ATFE and ask them??

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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by dbord130 on Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:07 am

No it is still a firearm!

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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by Stonewall on Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:06 pm

dbord130 wrote:No it is still a firearm!

So, you can order a firearm from a mail-order catalog? I don't think so. You can, however, order a cap-and-ball BP revolver from Bass Pro, Cabelas, or the like. States like NY or Commiefornia have additional restrictions, of course.

Feds don't consider them firearms, don't know about MS.

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Re: Can a federal felon own a black powder gun in Mississippi?

Post by DBChaffin on Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:49 am

Mississippi statutory law does appear to be unclear on this question. However, it has been posed to the Mississippi Attorney General and, right or wrong, the AG's office looked to Black's Law Dictionary to define "firearm" rather than Federal law. Note that while an AG opinion is not binding on Courts, it is considered persuasive authority. Tunica County v. Gray, 13 So. 3d 826 (Miss. 2009).

An opinion issued in 1999 found that it is not permissible for a convicted felon to possess a black powder rifle and/or shotgun unless the person has received a pardon for such felony, has received a relief from disability pursuant to Section 925 (c) of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, or has received a certificate of rehabilitation pursuant to subsection (3) of § 97-37-5. See Op.Atty.Gen. No. 2009-00252, Lee, June 5, 2009

Similarly, in 2004 an AG opinion found that a muzzle loading rifle or a muzzle loading shotgun is within the meaning of the term “firearm” as used in Mississippi Code Annotated Section 97-37-5 (quoted below for reference). The opinion goes on to state that the statute does not include weapons such as a traditional bow and arrow or crossbow. Therefore, a convicted felon may possess (and consequently hunt with) a traditional bow and arrow or crossbow. See Op.Atty.Gen. No. 2004-0043, Maples, February 13, 2004

I'm sorry, but I have no experience in assisting with regaining rights. Section 97-37-5(3) below is a start.

Miss. AG opinions may be searched free here: http://government.westlaw.com/msag/

Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-5. Crimes/Weapons and Explosives/Possession by felon

(1) It shall be unlawful for any person who has been convicted of a felony under the laws of this state, any other state, or of the United States to possess any firearm or any bowie knife, dirk knife, butcher knife, switchblade knife, metallic knuckles, blackjack, or any muffler or silencer for any firearm unless such person has received a pardon for such felony, has received a relief from disability pursuant to Section 925(c) of Title 18 of the United States Code, or has received a certificate of rehabilitation pursuant to subsection (3) of this section.

(2) Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or committed to the custody of the State Department of Corrections for not less than one (1) year nor more than ten (10) years, or both.

(3) A person who has been convicted of a felony under the laws of this state may apply to the court in which he was convicted for a certificate of rehabilitation. The court may grant such certificate in its discretion upon a showing to the satisfaction of the court that the applicant has been rehabilitated and has led a useful, productive and law-abiding life since the completion of his sentence and upon the finding of the court that he will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety.

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