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Felony Conviction and Federal Home Protection Act

July 20, 2010 Crime Avoidance, Federal Firearms Laws No Comments

Question:  I am a felon and had to do a prison sentence.  My house was broke into twice while I was in bed asleep and both times I fled the home for my safety.  The police are telling me there is no true way to protect myself inside my home and that felons cannot possess a firearm to protect their home until five years after their release from prison.  I have had about eight people tell me that they have been to prison but under the 2009 Federal Home Protection Act that felons are now allowed to possess a firearm only in the home for protection.  I live in Texas.  Can you give me more insight on this and how I could get a copy of that act?

Answer: The Home Protection Act that you refer to has nothing to do with your ability to protect yourself in your home.  It deals with a different subject entirely.

As a convicted felon, you are a ‘prohibited possessor’ and not able to legally possess a firearm or ammo.  There are a couple of things I might suggest.  First, I’d do what I could to make your house more secure.  Install better locks, trim away excess shrubs outside, install outside lighting and in general do anything possible to make your house less attractive to a burglar.  Some people suggest getting a large dog that has a very loud bark.  Burglars do not like large, loud dogs.

If that is not possible based on your living situation, you might also consider keeping a baseball bat close at hand in your bedroom.  Many burglars will not be armed when they break in due to the enhanced penalties if they are caught and convicted.  If the person breaking in is a druggie or a gang member, they may be armed since they aren’t especially worried about enhanced penalties.

Finally, I would check with an attorney to see at what point you might be able to have your conviction set aside and have your record expunged.  This would permit you to petition the court to restore your civil rights, including your right to own a firearm.  This only works if your felony conviction is for a non-violent offense or a non-sexual offense.  If your felony conviction involved serious injury or death to another person or was for a sexual crime, that option is a non-starter.

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