Print This Post Print This Post

Gun-Toting Felons

February 24th, 2009
By Jeff Welty

North Carolina law prohibits convicted felons from possessing firearms.  See G.S. 14-415.1.  I’ve had several recurrent questions about this offense, so here’s an FAQ about FIP (felon in possession):

1. Doesn’t North Carolina allow felons to possess long guns? Not anymore.  North Carolina’s FIP law used to have lots of exceptions, including exceptions for long guns and for handguns in the home or workplace.  It also used to allow felons to regain the right to possess firearms five years after completion of their sentences.  The last of these provisions was eliminated effective December 1, 2004, bringing the North Carolina law pretty close to the absolute and permanent prohibition that exists, in any event, under federal law.  See 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1).

2.  Is the constitutionality of G.S. 14-415.1 in doubt after District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. __ (2008), in which the United States Supreme Court recently held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms? No.  The Heller Court was quite clear that the right to bear arms is “not unlimited,” and specifically noted that “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

3. Does a no contest plea count as a conviction?  Does a PJC?  Does a conviction that is on appeal at the time of the possession? Yes, a conviction based on a no contest plea counts.  See State v. Watts, 72 N.C. App. 661 (1985).  Yes, a PJC counts.  See State v. Friend, 169 N.C. App. 99 (2005).  Although I don’t know of a case on point, I would expect our appellate courts to hold that a conviction on appeal counts, too.  Legally, the statute defines “conviction” as a “final judgment,” which the entry of a criminal judgment may well satisfy.  Practically, it is hard to imagine our courts adopting an interpretation that allows a felon to extend his entitlement to carry firearms for a year simply by filing a notice of appeal.

4. If, at trial, a FIP defendant offers to stipulate to the existence of a prior felony as a way of preventing the jury from finding out about the particular felony offense he committed, must the state accept the stipulation? No.  See State v. Jackson, 139 N.C. App. 721 (2000), rev’d on other grounds, 353 N.C. 495 (2001).  This is contrary to the rule in federal court, where the government must accept a defendant’s stipulation.  See Old Chief v. United States, 519 U.S. 172 (1997).

I hope this helps.  If there are other common FIP issues out there, let me know, and I’d be glad to add to the FIP FAQ.

Tags: ,

47 Responses to “Gun-Toting Felons”

  1. William H. Fleetwood says:

    With the advanced technology of muzzleloading firearms dosen’t the statue defeat itself, by allowing felons to possess muzzloaders under NCGS 14-409.11.

  2. Jeff Welty says:

    The statute does include an exception for “antique” firearms as defined in G.S. 14-409.11, including some very old guns and all muzzleloaders. But I think it’s too strong to say that the exception swallows the rule. I’m only aware of one case in which a defendant was charged with FIP and acquitted on the basis that the firearm was an antique, and it isn’t my sense that criminals are stocking up on muzzleloaders as a way around the FIP statute. If some of the officers out there disagree, let me know.

    • clayton says:

      i think its [B.S.] cause im a convicted felon cause 2 ex friends said i broke into a rv with them. there word against mine i used to love to collect guns im not a violent person and stay out of trouble but now i can never own a gun

  3. raumeen shiraz says:

    friend v state was not a criminal case, it was simply a case in which the plantiff wanted to find out if he was a convicted felon or not for obtaining a permit. the court found that he was a felon for purposes of gs 14-404 which is the purchase permit statue not statue 14-415.1. it also said that after his denial for the permit he never appealed to the sherriff on grounds that he was not a convicted felon, this case seemed to me not to be an open and shut case.
    so does friend v state mean that a pjc with no sentence imposed counts as a conviction for ncgs 14-415.1? if you think it does then why? because there is no current case law that says a pjc with no sentence imposed counts as a conviction for the felony fireams act.

    • STEPHEN STOKES says:

      BECAUSE A PERSON IS A CONVICTED FELON AND IS THEREFORE PROHIBITED FROM POSSESSING A FIREARM, DOES THAT MEAN THE PERSON IS AUTOMATICALLY IN VIOLATION OF THE LAW IF SOMEONE ELSE WITHIN IN HIS HOUSEHOLD EXERCISES THEIR 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO BEAR ARM? IN OTHER WORDS, IF A MAN LIVES WITH HIS WIFE AND, SAY, SEVERAL OTHER PERSONS AND ONE OR MORE OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS OWN AND KEEP A KEEP IN THE HOUSE WHERE THE MAN LIVES, IS HE CRIMINALLY RESPONSIBLE EVEN THOUGH THE IS NOT HIS AND HE DOES NOT ACTUALLY POSSESS IT?

      • Jeff Welty says:

        So long as the gun is possessed exclusively by someone else, the felon has not violated the law. However, if the felon is in control of the premises, there might be an argument that the felon is in constructive possession of a gun found therein. Constructive possession issues can be complicated. They’re discussed, in the context of drug possession, here: http://sogweb.sog.unc.edu/blogs/ncclaw/?p=163.

        • James BEstes says:

          in 1988 I was convicted Of felon cherges . I was sentenced to 15 yrs. I pulled three and did my community service I was released from from that in 92 or 93 in witch my rights was returned. I as well took my papers to my parole officer and asked what does this mean pointing. his reply if you want a gun go get one. there for i fall under the grandfather clause , yes I can vote and all that good stuff. if they dont give me what I want when I go to get it , thats a law suit from hell, now dow i have anyones attention?

  4. Doc says:

    this is a fact per cal law, protection order are issued based on the male
    gender then that male will be convicted in the federal courts who support
    gender pro filing see 18 USC 922 G8 and cal legal form DV- 800/Jv – 252 sometimes used other times not used

  5. viper32435 says:

    do you think that certain felonies should count as being worse than others when it comes to firearms because i am only 23 and i have been in a case where i plead out to grand theft less than 20000 dollars and i really don’t think i should be held back my constitutional right to protect myself or my family if it comes down to someone breaking in my home i think that some felonies need to be researched before final judgement is passed on the whole no gun rule for felons

    • I to am a convicted felon. I was convicted of felony pwisd of a controlled substance in 1995. Not to down play the seriousness of the law but, I was in posession of 2 ounces and a 1/4 of marijuana. I was 20 years old at
      the time of my conviction and I am now 35 years of age. The disgrace
      of the laws that govern the felon in an attempt to guard society is that there is no provision in the law made for the felon to right his or her wrong. The felony conviction which can range from the smallest of victimless crimes to the most heionus of victim related crimes judges all “felons” the same.I don’t know if anyone would agree, but there’s a drastic difference in someone convicted of kidnapping versus someone convicted of theft. Yet we find in law that once convicted they are the same. The issuses that surround people convicted of felonies not only affect there right to bear arms, but also affect them in their attempt to find work, housing, and in some cases can affect their parental rights. And although the world is full of deceptive people there are many people who realize their mistake and make an earnest attempt to change for the good of themselves and their loved
      ones. I still answer for my 1995 conviction in 2010. I have never been convicted of a violent, or sexual crime.

  6. Geo says:

    I have worn the convicted felon hat for 17 years. Every year it seems tougher for the one time offender to maintain a decent living. Rules, regulations, and laws are created to push us down.

    We need a Political lobby group to protect our rights.

    I made this website to demonstrate what life is like for the one time offender in NC. We are discriminated for life for making a mistake.

    http://www.2ndChanceNC.com

    17 years is a long time to be punished. I stole something in college, paid a fine and put on probation. I learned from my lesson. Stop punishing me please.

    • Steve G says:

      I know just how you feel. I sold weed back in 1099 to better the lives of my 3 little girls. I was not part of any cartell. I was just guilty of saleing a plant that has never harmed No one. its been over 13 years now. and still im haunted by the fact that some bad ass crimanl that just hasnt been caught yet. Can come into my home and kill us all. And im hopeless. how can this be fare? I have no desire to harm any one. But would like to protect the ones I love as well as my self from the harm of others.

  7. Richie Rich says:

    It is an outrage that people who have NOt violated any gun laws and who have never committed a violent act are barred from gun ownership. to label all felons togetjher to deny them basic rights is criminal in itself.

    Because the idiotic politicians, weak sister cowards they are, never use reason and logic when bending to police unions and their cronies who profit monetarily from draconian laws..someone who was convicted of a marijuana offense years ago at a felony level suffers the effects forever even though now in most states such laws were changed and amounts of personal use weight are often misdemeanors, and in many cases, mere tickets with only a fine possible.

    So when the lamenting begins about how dangerous felons are, it is laughable. MOST felons have never acted in a violent manner, and are convicted for drugs by a vast margin, mostly for possession only. Why should a medical marijuana patient be denied the right to protect his family, or go hunting? Does that make any sense? Only to a politician who cares zip about truth and fact and only works to enrich the base that gets him elected. Sick society we live in.

    Representatives cannot be relied on to make good laws and to get rid of bad ones…so there is no remedy. Well, there IS a remedy, and it may come to pass that in this nation one day we see cops afraid to even attempt to enforce laws the people do not agree with. I live very close to where Eric Rudolph hid out for 5 years under the noses of a hundred Feds..and it is a fact that rural Americans will not give up perceived rights despite what is written in a book.

    If you are a felon and want a gun, just have someone close to you know what to say if asked by a cop; if they cannot prove you possessed it and had it in your control, more so than anyone else, then they will not prevail in court. be careful as to where it is kept and you should have no problem. Never ever give consent for a search…do not voluteer to be detained, and always demand a lawyer before answering ANY questions whatsoever. Thats about all you can do.

  8. malik says:

    i was in the passenger seat with a guy whos gf owned a car we were pulled in front of my gf house. he jumped out and ran, didnt there were gums found in the backseat of the car. i was charged . i did not touch nothin in the back seat nor the guns. how could they charge me with possession of firearm

  9. Attorney says:

    Client convicted of felony in Alabama in 1991, conviction later expunged in 2002 (and as I read it by definition per Title 18, Sec. 921(a)(20)(B) not considered a conviction). Client now has a N.C. Concealed Carry Permit, owning several handguns, and has attempted to buy a rifle, said purchase was placed on a 3 day hold and ultimately denied by the FBI. What legal basis can the FBI use to deny client’s purchase of the rifle?

    • no one says:

      call George V. Laughrun II in charlotte nc.

      • anonymous says:

        Go ahead and call George Lughrun and see where it gets you.
        All the way into prison.

        • anonymous says:

          Go ahead and call George Laughrun and see where it gets you.
          All the way into prison.

          Definitely right about that.

          But I think he is easy on the girlies. He loves hugs…..
          Look at Waltons case and the look at Brock Franklin’s case.
          He offered not defense what so ever for Brock.

  10. howard says:

    My friend did 12 years for selling drugs in Gosberg NC. He now has two jobs in security in Georgia. He has been out since 2003 and doing quite well for himself. Is there anyway that he would be able to gain his gun rights ever again?

  11. Amanda says:

    The one main question that should be addressed! Is just a certain class of people allowed to protect their life and the life of their family? Is one person life more valued than another just because that person could of made some bad choices in life.. I could see it was a violate felony conviction..

  12. Amanda says:

    I was convicted in 2000 for felony maintaing a dwelling and felony possession of a schedule 2 substance. I was convicted for both on the same day so it only counts as on strike against me and the are class I felonies. I did 5 years probation and completed all of the conditions that the court wanted of me and have been out of trouble ever since then. I live in NC and waws convicted in NC. Will I ever be able to own a hand gun?? I have the right to vote under North Carolina law. Thanks! :]

  13. Jimmy says:

    NC just changed the law in Jan.1, 2009 that felons can no longer own “antique” or black powder guns. Federal law still allows but not state law. Also July 2010 changed the law that allows nonviolent, white collar criminal felons to apply for their gun rights.
    S.L. 2010-108 (H 1260): Modifications to ban on possession of firearm by convicted felon, http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/SessionLaws/PDF/2009-2010/SL2010-108.pdf

  14. ItsNotFair says:

    Convicted of a felony in 1987 at age 19 as a result of an auto accident, I still exercise my right to vote. As far as I know my vote is still counted, but I thought that right was lost to felons. Go figure. As far as the guns go, right now I’m taking my chances. My Felony was by no means intentional, an ACCIDENT. It’s like G. Gordon Liddy says… “I’m a convicted felon and cannot own guns, but my wife has a pile of them under her side of the bed” that’s the philosophy I’m operating under, but the statute has no right to hold her liable unless I use said weapons in the commission of a crime, which will not happen. There needs to be a distinction between violent and non-violent felonies. By the time I tried to re-apply for my constitutional rights, Bill Clinton & Co. had discontinued the practice. Regardless, I will have the means to protect myself and my family, regardless of the law.

  15. Jack says:

    A felony use to be a very serious crime! Now Farting in the wrong place can earn you a felony conviction. The USA has turned into a police state.

  16. derek h says:

    what part of inaliable or god given right does the court system not understand? after completing all punishments given by the court, are not all my other inaliable rights restored? so how can they deny a person of one of their rights to life liberty and persuit of happiness?

    • Samantha says:

      You decided to not pursue your rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when you picked up your felony charge. I am too a felon. It has been 11 years since I have been in trouble with the law. I did my time in prison and was out on parole for a year and a half. I learned my lesson. I knew when I was out getting in trouble that there were gonna be consequences. Did it stop me? Nope. I did what I did because I chose too, and because of those choices, I can no longer posses a gun. That’s MY fault. If you know full well what’s gonna happen if you do something, then quit bitching about the outcome. If I want my rights restored I have to ask the governor to pardon me. Do I think it will happen? Probably not, but I’m going to try. If the governor doesn’t pardon me then it’s my own fault anyways. I should kept my ass out of trouble.

  17. josh says:

    every man has the right to live ! and protect the ones he loves his family … just because the goverment says its law dosnt mean its. right! ill take my chances..times are changing every home should have some way of protection

  18. josh says:

    and no i dont own a gun i have a compound bow :) and mace and a ball bat ….i have to protect my 3 year old son some how ? i made sum mistakes when i was a teen …

  19. Anthony says:

    Why should you whinning thieves and dope fiends be able to carry guns around law abiding people? You claim you are thrust into a different class. This is because you put yourself in that class when you chose to break the law.

    • james says:

      what gives you the right to judge some one. did you know that under the law if you drive 1 mph over the posted speed limit you willfully and and unlawfully breaking the law and justin i fully agree with you life sometimes hits with things that u have no choice but to break the laws of the land to survive .and also im in the beleaf that a right is a right not a prevledge ie driving a car is a prevledge my rights are rights givin to me by the founders of this country .what gives government the right to take those from us i mean the whole perpose is to work for us is it not .so why are the common wealth ie rich ppl given the right to take the rights of not so rich ppl

    • Chris says:

      A lot of people made mistakes when they were young then grew up and are now responsible adults… Why take away their right to hunt to provide and protect their families?? Answer that…..

    • Jimmy says:

      I’ve never stole or done dope. I feel asleep driving and my brother died and i was convicted of felony involuntary manslaughter. My parents used to feel the way you did about the justice system until they and my family experienced the un-justices of the system.

    • Jeff says:

      Anthony, the only difference between you and any of the rest of us (Thieves and dope friends) is we got cought and you never! I would trust anyone of them more than I would your stupid [removed by editor]!

      • John says:

        In this country, if one is cotincved of a felony, irregardless of the nature of the crime, then that person is cursed for the rest of their life. You never get a student loan. You can never get a really decent job. You can never have the opportunity or right to elevate yourself out of poverty. You can no longer defend your property, your family, and even yourself against violent criminals armed with guns because you can’t own a gun anymore. If someone decided to do a home invasion and threaten your property and your life or that of your family inside of your own home, you’d look like a damn idiot because you couldn’t defend yourself, your property, or even worse, your own family. That’s a goddamn shame. The laws work for the intruders and not for you. So, who does Washington represent really? Certainly not you. The political machine will gladly take your money and even your votes if you are a felon. However, beyond that, you are an outcast with a giant scarlet letter. No one will ever give you a job. Educational opportunities are almost completely inaccessible and life in general is a completely horrid existence. You have absolutely no representation in the system whatsoever. None. Nada. Zilch. Your life is totally, completely, and 100 percent fucked. You are better off dead. You will forever and always be even worse than a second class illegal immigrant citizen.

  20. Justin Case says:

    Anthony you are so right. I would guess you have broken a law or two if nothing but driving above the legal posted speed limit. So you should have no problem if others say you should NEVER be allowed to drive a car again, and you could be a danger to others, after all you did break the law at one time. See you on your new moped and stop your winning after all it is illegal to speed. See the logic?

  21. Mellow says:

    Anthony your a joke! Everyone is not a dopefiend or thief,if a friend of yours caught a felony charge and the 2 of you where in a situation where he had a gun and had to protect your life, i take it he shouldnt protect your life because he shouldnt have a gun right? When you see these Columbines and VT shootings nine times out of ten the person is not a felon go figure! White collar criminals can carry guns and any other criminals cant is discrimination,I guess its like that because white collar crime is stealing and thats what the average politician does anyway so they can relate!

  22. Kenny says:

    So I am a felon, and as Anthony say, Im a dope fiend. I smoke marijuana daily when off probation. I dont abuse it, I smoke it to calm my nerves and to use it as a relaxation. However 3 years ago i got caught with a quarter pound of weed that i was planning on smoking for myself. Now i have a felony charge of possesion over half ounce of controlled subatance.

    Now Anthony, when you have a headache, you take tylonal. Or maybe when you get older and have nerve trouble or anti depressent and have to take another drug to help your issue. Well my issues are cured by weed and i found that out by smoking it at a young age. Am i addicted to weed…no..i am not. I had to quit for 2 years and use other legal drugs to help with my issues. What is so violent about my charge? What is wrong with smoking marijuana besides the gov’t wants to make a little money off it? Who is to say i can never go hunting again because I smoke marijuana? Its bullshit.!!! And i believe non violent or theifs should be able to hunt, and protect their-selves in their home.

    Also I live in a county that shoots muskets or “black powder” rifles as a way to scare off bad spirits to bring in the new year. Cherryville North Carolina, we shoot the guns in a manner to bring good luck in the new year to come. Why cant i join this activity when I believe alcohol and is proving that alchol is more deadly and crime driving drug. Its just not fair. I think every man should have a chance to get bear arms right back in the states. Depending on the charges they have been giving. They shouldnt say all felones are not allowed to bare arms. Thanks for reading.

    • Kenny says:

      Correction

      **** And i believe non violent and NON THIEVES should be able to carry firearms, *** 2nd paragraph

      • mamakin70 says:

        I can relate Kenny. I am not a felon, but my husband is and was convicted on selling weed, his rights were taken away, but where does this leave me, as far as my right to bear arms? Guess what? I’m taking my chances, I have a right to protect myself and my family, and as far as I am concerned, NC lawmakers can kiss my ass!!

  23. Anonymous says:

    I wrote a big bad check about 10 years ago, I pled guilty and paid back restitution. i have a Felony count of Obtaining Property Worthless Check. I ahve been told that I cannot own a firearm, however, does that also extend to BB guns or Archery equipment.

    How many other people have written a bad check in their life. mine was large and I admitted my faults and paid it back over 3 years of probation. I would love to go hunting again, and go shooting on New years, for a one time conviction, and no violent crime convictions, and have gone back to school and am currently a pastor or a small ministry. is there a way to get privileges restored, either through expungements or other method?

  24. Brent says:

    I’ve been trying to get this question answered for years. Local police haven’t come to a consensus and my wife’s probation officer was no help either. My wife is a convicted felon. She transported illegal aliens through a border patrol station in Hatch, New Mexico. It wasn’t over the international boarder or across state lines. She served 2 months in jail and 2 months in prison. She got two years probation and had it transferred to North Carolina. She has been off of probation for 6 years now. I would like to own a handgun to protect my family and would like to own rifles for myself and my children to go hunting. I need to know if I am allowed to own a fire arm at all and if so, do I have to keep it in a regular gun safe in the home or a fingerprinted gun safe, or keep it in a monthly storage facility? Please help me. The lack of answers has plagued me for eight years.

  25. CHARLES says:

    I just found out I can’t squirrell & rabbit hunt no more. Not unless i learn how to shoot a bow

  26. Kevin Harris says:

    Please join me on my website, http://www.ncfirearmsrights.com for lots of info on this subject and how we can push this agend forward in the 2013 Legislature. I also have a forum specifically to discuss this issue.

    http://forum.ncfirearmsrights.com

  27. william artrip says:

    I have read several comments here and have gained a lot of helpful insight to what I feel is a very real and rather disturbing problem here in the great state of North Carolina. However, of all the post I have read none of them addressed the question that I have. I was convicted of a felony drug possession in the state of FL. and I have completed my sentence and am now in the process of getting my civil rights restored by the Clemency Board. Once (and if) I do get my civil right restored in FL. will I still be unable to own a firearm in the state of NC?

  28. Dennis says:

    I was convicted of 3 B& Es all at same time in 1983 was with the wrong person in my young drinking days.I got 4 years did 18 months and had 5 years probation to back up when I got out.I was about 25 only mistake like that in my life today I am 56 and I am still paying for it.They even call me for jury duty and make me sit on it too.But I cant own a gun.mine was a plee bargon but that should have made my b& Es a mister meaner but not in NC.Yes we need some laws on our side.

Leave a Reply


Print This Post Print This Post