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I'M A FELON: CAN I STILL HUNT IN OKLAHOMA? Posted June 5, 2018




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I AM A FELON:

CAN I STILL HUNT IN OKLAHOMA?

 

 

Trouble can find you, even out in the woods chasing deer. I represented an individual, a convicted felon,  for having a muzzleloader on public land during deer season.  Someone called in a suspicious vehicle and when the police arrived my client was returning to his truck with a muzzleloader after his morning hunt.  The police discovered that my client was a convicted felon and arrested him for possession of a firearm after former conviction of a felony.  My client tried to explain that the game warden told him it was ok to hunt with a muzzleloader.  This fact rang true because he was hunting with a muzzleloader during rifle season.  This did not persuade the police and my client was arrested and charged with a felony for possession of firearm.  This case ultimately worked out for my client but it cost him thousands of dollars and a lot of time to get resolved.  Unfortunately it is not uncommon for people to get bad information on the law that causes them to face serious consequences.  This article is intended to explain the legal impact of a felony conviction on a person’s ability to hunt with a firearm in Oklahoma.  If there is ever a question as to  the law consult a licensed practicing attorney in the area to get accurate information; do not rely on non-lawyers, or god forbid google, to answer your legal questions because your freedom may depend on the information being accurate.  

 

According to the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Resource Center approximately 1 in every 12 Oklahomans has either been to prison or has been on felony probation.  One consequence of being a convicted felon is that convicted felons are not allowed to possess firearms.  This is a bigger problem in Oklahoma due to the high number of individuals that enjoy outdoor sports such as hunting.  As an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney one question I often get from convicted felons is whether they can still hunt.  The simple answer is yes you can still hunt, but no you cannot use a firearm to hunt.  The term firearm may seem self explanatory but there are differences between the federal definition of a firearm and the State of Oklahoma’s definition of a firearm.  Many convicted felons are under the impression that they can still hunt with a muzzleloader in Oklahoma because federal law does not classify a muzzleloader as a firearm.  If you google “can a felon hunt with a muzzleloader” you will find a plethora of articles that advise that a felon can indeed hunt with a muzzleloader without being in violation of the law.  This is incorrect in Oklahoma due to Oklahoma having a different definition of firearms than the Federal government.  Under federal law  18 U.S. Code § 921 a muzzleloader is equated to an antique firearm and therefore felons are not prohibited from possessing muzzleloaders. Oklahoma law defines a firearm as follows:

 

 

DEFINITION OF FIREARMS ACT OF 1971 21 O.S. 1289.3

 

"Pistols" or "handguns" as used in the Oklahoma Firearms Act of 1971 shall mean any firearm capable of discharging single or multiple projectiles from a single round of ammunition composed of any material which may reasonably be expected to be able to cause lethal injury, with a barrel or barrels less than sixteen (16) inches in length, and a combustible propellant charge, but not to include flare guns, underwater fishing guns or blank pistols.

 

DEFINITION OF RIFLES 21 O.S. 1289.4

"Rifles" as used in the Oklahoma Firearms Act of 1971, Sections 1289.1 through 1289.17 of this title, shall mean any firearm capable of discharging a projectile composed of any material which may reasonably be expected to be able to cause lethal injury, with a barrel or barrels more than sixteen (16) inches in length, and using either gunpowder, gas or any means of rocket propulsion, but not to include archery equipment, flare guns or underwater fishing guns. In addition, any rifle capable of firing "shot" but primarily designed to fire single projectiles will be regarded as a "rifle".

 

DEFINITION OF SHOTGUNS 21 O.S. 1289.5

 

"Shotguns" as used in the Oklahoma Firearms Act of 1971, Sections 1289.1 through 1289.17 of this title, shall mean any firearm capable of discharging a series of projectiles of any material which may reasonably be expected to be able to cause lethal injury, with a barrel or barrels more than eighteen (18) inches in length, and using either gunpowder, gas or any means of rocket propulsion, but not to include any weapon so designed with a barrel less than eighteen (18) inches in length. In addition, any "shotgun" capable of firing single projectiles but primarily designed to fire multiple projectiles such as "shot" will be regarded as a "shotgun".

 

 

 

A firearm under Oklahoma law is any firearm capable of discharging a lethal projectile that uses any type of propellant such as gunpowder or gas.  Any gun capable of killing a deer will be considered a firearm under Oklahoma law and if a felon is caught in possession of a firearm they will face a new felony charge and the possibility of prison time, even if they are using it just to hunt. Below outlines the statutes that cover Felon in possession of firearm charge in Oklahoma. 

 

 

 

POSSESSION OF FIRE ARM 21 O.S. 1283

 

A. Except as provided in subsection B of this section, it shall be unlawful for any person convicted of any felony in any court of this state or of another state or of the United States to have in his or her possession or under his or her immediate control, or in any vehicle which the person is operating, or in which the person is riding as a passenger, or at the residence where the convicted person resides, any pistol, imitation or homemade pistol, altered air or toy pistol, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun or rifle, or any other dangerous or deadly firearm.

B. Any person who has previously been convicted of a nonviolent felony in any court of this state or of another state or of the United States, and who has received a full and complete pardon from the proper authority and has not been convicted of any other felony offense which has not been pardoned, shall have restored the right to possess any firearm or other weapon prohibited by subsection A of this section, the right to apply for and carry a handgun, concealed or unconcealed, pursuant to the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act and the right to perform the duties of a peace officer, gunsmith, or for firearms repair.

C. It shall be unlawful for any person serving a term of probation for any felony in any court of this state or of another state or of the United States or under the jurisdiction of any alternative court program to have in his or her possession or under his or her immediate control, or at his or her residence, or in any passenger vehicle which the person is operating or is riding as a passenger, any pistol, shotgun or rifle, including any imitation or homemade pistol, altered air or toy pistol, shotgun or rifle, while such person is subject to supervision, probation, parole or inmate status.

D. It shall be unlawful for any person previously adjudicated as a delinquent child or a youthful offender for the commission of an offense, which would have constituted a felony offense if committed by an adult, to have in the possession of the person or under the immediate control of the person, or have in any vehicle which he or she is driving or in which the person is riding as a passenger, or at the residence of the person, any pistol, imitation or homemade pistol, altered air or toy pistol, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun or rifle, or any other dangerous or deadly firearm within ten (10) years after such adjudication; provided, that nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the placement of the person in a home with a full-time duly appointed peace officer who is certified by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) pursuant to the provisions of Section 3311 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

E. Any person having been issued a handgun license pursuant to the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act and who thereafter knowingly or intentionally allows a convicted felon or adjudicated delinquent or a youthful offender as prohibited by the provisions of subsection A, C, or D of this section to possess or have control of any pistol authorized by the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony punishable by a fine not to exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00). In addition, the person shall have the handgun license revoked by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation after a hearing and determination that the person has violated the provisions of this section.

F. Any convicted or adjudicated person violating the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony punishable as provided in Section 1284 of this title.

G. For purposes of this section, "sawed-off shotgun or rifle" shall mean any shotgun or rifle which has been shortened to any length.

H. For purposes of this section, "altered toy pistol" shall mean any toy weapon which has been altered from its original manufactured state to resemble a real weapon.

I. For purposes of this section, "altered air pistol" shall mean any air pistol manufactured to propel projectiles by air pressure which has been altered from its original manufactured state.

J. For purposes of this section, "alternative court program" shall mean any drug court, Anna McBride or mental health court, DUI court or veterans court.

 

PENALTY FOR 1283 VIOLATION 21 O.S. 1284

 

Any previously convicted or adjudicated person who violates any provision of Section 1283 of this title shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for a period not less than one (1) year nor more than ten (10) years.

 

A convicted felon can hunt in the State of Oklahoma they just cannot hunt using a firearm of any kind. This includes pistols, rifles, shotguns and muzzleloaders.  Archery equipment on the other hand is specifically designates as not a firearm under 21 O.S. 1289.4.  If you have been convicted of a felony it’s time to polish up those archery skills to fill the freezer this fall.

 

Stephen W. Lee and Mark J. Cagle are licensed practicing attorneys who have dedicated their careers to criminal defense work for the pat 10 years.  Stephen and Mark have handled hundreds of felonies throughout Oklahoma with stellar results for their clients.  If you or a loved one faces felony charges in Oklahoma call Stephen Lee and Mark Cagle to insure the best possible outcome. 

 

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