Right off the bat we run into an issue with federal law. Federal law doesn’t allow a convicted criminal, who was “convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” to have a firearm…or ammunition even, for that matter. Obviously it would thus be a punishable offense for a felon to possess or own a gun, and by punishable we mean you are looking at at 10 year prison sentence! You can thank to 1968 Gun Control Act for that.
Certainly there are exceptions, one being if a convict has had their rights restored through legal process like felony expungement… a traumatically difficult experience for some, but it is within the realm of the possible. So if that’s happened, and rights to possess a firearm have been restored, then naturally those individuals are excluded from prosecution if they own a gun. Therefore there should be no issue with going to a shooting range for such lucky folks.
Or, in a similar vein, if they’ve been pardoned, then they, too, should be in the clear as far as firearm ownership and making a day trip out to the local gun range…unless they’ve been specifically banned from firearm transport or possession.
As far as specific bans, in most cases it is all up to the state. As we’ve discussed in nearly every article pertaining to convicts and their rights, states–and even counties–can and often do have authority to implement tighter restrictions in such matters. So when in doubt, check your local county website or call up the law enforcement desk and just ask the question.
If the state gives the go-ahead for rights restoration, then we must head back to the federal arena. Why? Because federal statute demands that a felon should first have their rights to vote, hold public office, and serve on a jury restored. If those are restored, then they’ll consider granting additional rights restoration (i.e. firearm ownership).