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Thread: Felons Getting Hunting Licenses

  1. #1
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    Thumbs down Felons Getting Hunting Licenses

    While I don't have a problem with people who have done their time , getting a license that they are Legally entitled to such as an archery tag, or a falconers permit, there is no excuse in today's world that a criminal background check cannot be run on people that are applying for LIMITED DRAW TAGS that are in short supply and highly sought after. Why should felons be taking tags in front of law abiding citizens, not to mention the fact that we don't want these people armed for a damn good reason!



    Felons Getting Hunting Licenses
    Sunday, January 29, 2006

    HELENA, Mont. — Hundreds of people barred from having guns because they are felons on parole or probation are still able to get hunting licenses in Montana with no questions asked, an Associated Press investigation found.

    Montana may not be alone. While nearly all states ban felons from possessing guns, only a handful — including Rhode Island and Maine — keep them from receiving hunting permits, and just a few others — such as Illinois and Massachusetts — require hunters to show both a hunting license and a firearms license.

    "Our license dealers have no way of checking," said Lt. Rich Mann, with the enforcement program for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. "If someone wants to play with the system and beat you at it, they will."

    The AP examination of Montana hunting and corrections records shows at least 660 felons on parole or probation received tags in the past year. The findings are based on a comparison of unique first, middle and last names, along with other identifiable information, that appeared in databases of both hunters and felons.

    A state probation official said the findings likely would prompt the state to consider its own records search to see if parolees are violating terms of their release.

    "Obviously that's a big concern, and it makes me want to look into each of these cases," said Ron Alsbury, Montana's probation and parole bureau chief.

    The licenses don't specifically require the use of firearms to hunt, and state officials note that most felons could legally hunt using other weapons, such as bows. Several people contacted by the AP said they hunted legally with bows while on probation.

    However, bows are hardly the weapon of choice for some of the game for which felons were issued tags, such as birds or bison.

    Jason Beaudoin of Frenchtown, on probation for a 2002 conviction for assault with a deadly weapon, got a series of hunting tags last year, but said he used only a bow and arrow.

    "I know I can't own a firearm or be in possession of one. They made that very clear ... and I agree with the policy," Beaudoin said.

    "There are plenty of ways people can hunt even though they are barred from using conventional weapons," added Gary S. Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association. "My guess is that there are a lot of them that are being perfectly decent citizens."

    The problem is, no one knows for certain.

    Some states, including Montana, check for hunting violations as a routine part of a hunting license application, but don't run spot checks to see if convicted felons are among those applying for licenses or if they plan to use firearms.

    "The result in Idaho is that you could theoretically be a convicted cannibal and still have a hunting license," said Ed Mitchell, a spokesman for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in Boise. "But if you are a convicted cannibal, you cannot legally own a bent BB gun in the state of Idaho."

    With millions of hunters in the U.S. — nearly 270,000 in Montana alone — authorities in many states say it simply would be too difficult to check if felons are getting hunting tags.

    North Dakota officials make sure hunters aren't delinquent on their child support, and deny permits to those who are, but they don't check for felony convictions.

    Colorado, like most states, relies on its law banning felons from possessing guns to discourage them from applying for hunting licenses. Still, every year game wardens find someone with a felony conviction hunting with a firearm and a legally obtained hunting license, said Bob Thompson, assistant chief of law enforcement for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

    Florida officials said one of their game officers was killed by a felon who was hunting with a gun.

    The AP review found that roughly 8 percent of 8,732 people on parole or probation in Montana had obtained hunting licenses in the past year.

    Many hunters with felony convictions had no listed phone numbers, while others did not return calls seeking comment.

    In rare cases the state even gave hunting licenses to felons who didn't ask for them.

    One convicted felon contacted by the AP, Larry Pettijohn, wasn't aware he held a bird hunting license. The state gave it to him for free because he qualified for it as a senior citizen who had purchased a state conservation license, the base permit for both hunters and anglers.

    "All I ever do is fish," said Pettijohn, of Missoula, on parole for felony drunken driving and being a persistent felon. "I don't have a gun. Not allowed to."

    One case made national news late last year when one of the hunters with a prized tag for Montana's limited and controversial bison hunt turned out to be on parole or probation for a felony. He gave up his hunting tags before the season started.

    Alsbury said his agency did a spot check of its records about five years ago to see if violators had hunting tags. Officers confiscated some guns.

    Alsbury said the AP investigation suggests it may be time to search again.

    "With the technology we have now we should be routinely checking that," he said.



  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northforker
    While I don't have a problem with people who have done their time , getting a license that they are Legally entitled to such as an archery tag, or a falconers permit, there is no excuse in today's world that a criminal background check cannot be run on people that are applying for LIMITED DRAW TAGS that are in short supply and highly sought after. Why should felons be taking tags in front of law abiding citizens, not to mention the fact that we don't want these people armed for a damn good reason!



    Felons Getting Hunting Licenses
    Sunday, January 29, 2006

    HELENA, Mont. — Hundreds of people barred from having guns because they are felons on parole or probation are still able to get hunting licenses in Montana with no questions asked, an Associated Press investigation found.

    Montana may not be alone. While nearly all states ban felons from possessing guns, only a handful — including Rhode Island and Maine — keep them from receiving hunting permits, and just a few others — such as Illinois and Massachusetts — require hunters to show both a hunting license and a firearms license.

    "Our license dealers have no way of checking," said Lt. Rich Mann, with the enforcement program for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. "If someone wants to play with the system and beat you at it, they will."

    The AP examination of Montana hunting and corrections records shows at least 660 felons on parole or probation received tags in the past year. The findings are based on a comparison of unique first, middle and last names, along with other identifiable information, that appeared in databases of both hunters and felons.

    A state probation official said the findings likely would prompt the state to consider its own records search to see if parolees are violating terms of their release.

    "Obviously that's a big concern, and it makes me want to look into each of these cases," said Ron Alsbury, Montana's probation and parole bureau chief.

    The licenses don't specifically require the use of firearms to hunt, and state officials note that most felons could legally hunt using other weapons, such as bows. Several people contacted by the AP said they hunted legally with bows while on probation.

    However, bows are hardly the weapon of choice for some of the game for which felons were issued tags, such as birds or bison.

    Jason Beaudoin of Frenchtown, on probation for a 2002 conviction for assault with a deadly weapon, got a series of hunting tags last year, but said he used only a bow and arrow.

    "I know I can't own a firearm or be in possession of one. They made that very clear ... and I agree with the policy," Beaudoin said.

    "There are plenty of ways people can hunt even though they are barred from using conventional weapons," added Gary S. Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association. "My guess is that there are a lot of them that are being perfectly decent citizens."

    The problem is, no one knows for certain.

    Some states, including Montana, check for hunting violations as a routine part of a hunting license application, but don't run spot checks to see if convicted felons are among those applying for licenses or if they plan to use firearms.

    "The result in Idaho is that you could theoretically be a convicted cannibal and still have a hunting license," said Ed Mitchell, a spokesman for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in Boise. "But if you are a convicted cannibal, you cannot legally own a bent BB gun in the state of Idaho."

    With millions of hunters in the U.S. — nearly 270,000 in Montana alone — authorities in many states say it simply would be too difficult to check if felons are getting hunting tags.

    North Dakota officials make sure hunters aren't delinquent on their child support, and deny permits to those who are, but they don't check for felony convictions.

    Colorado, like most states, relies on its law banning felons from possessing guns to discourage them from applying for hunting licenses. Still, every year game wardens find someone with a felony conviction hunting with a firearm and a legally obtained hunting license, said Bob Thompson, assistant chief of law enforcement for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

    Florida officials said one of their game officers was killed by a felon who was hunting with a gun.

    The AP review found that roughly 8 percent of 8,732 people on parole or probation in Montana had obtained hunting licenses in the past year.

    Many hunters with felony convictions had no listed phone numbers, while others did not return calls seeking comment.

    In rare cases the state even gave hunting licenses to felons who didn't ask for them.

    One convicted felon contacted by the AP, Larry Pettijohn, wasn't aware he held a bird hunting license. The state gave it to him for free because he qualified for it as a senior citizen who had purchased a state conservation license, the base permit for both hunters and anglers.

    "All I ever do is fish," said Pettijohn, of Missoula, on parole for felony drunken driving and being a persistent felon. "I don't have a gun. Not allowed to."

    One case made national news late last year when one of the hunters with a prized tag for Montana's limited and controversial bison hunt turned out to be on parole or probation for a felony. He gave up his hunting tags before the season started.

    Alsbury said his agency did a spot check of its records about five years ago to see if violators had hunting tags. Officers confiscated some guns.

    Alsbury said the AP investigation suggests it may be time to search again.

    "With the technology we have now we should be routinely checking that," he said.
    Be careful with this one. It sounds all well and good, but, in order to do this with effect, background checks will need to be performed on ALL hunters. This is an invasion of privacy, and hunting license sales were never intended to be a means to do criminal background checks. We also must realize the proportion of felons vs non-felons as hunters. What is the ratio? My guess is that it is very, very small.

    We do not jeopardize the rights of the many to address the very few.

  3. #3
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    Northforker

    Get Bent

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    Quote Originally Posted by fnkybn
    Get Bent
    I assume that means you are in favor of armed felons. I support the 2nd amendment fully. I do not believe that the 2nd amendment gives criminals the same rights as law abiding citizens. Are you a felon?


    DOC,

    I was very careful to distinguish between background checks on all licenses and LIMITED DRAW PERMITS. I don't know if you have ever applied for many of those, but most states collect enough info in the application process to run the check anyway, all they need is a signed consent form. If one does not want the check, don't apply for the tag.

  5. #5
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    This broad based statement against felons is bad. I used to think that convicted criminals should be banned also, until recent events with some of my hunting friends happened. Convicted felon's are not always bad people, just made a bad decision that affected nobody but themselves, as in the case of my hunting friend.

    Law abiding citizens? Never heard of one. How many have had a traffic ticket, trespassing, drank two beers then drove, etc?

    Background checks not needed, bad idea. In Mich you have to give your driver's licence number to buy a licence.

    You absolutly cannot group ALL felons in the same group. Not fair.

  6. #6
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    I think its bs, a dui is a felony in montana, why should a guy not be allowed to hunt because of one mistake.

    besides the parolee`s you really need to be worrying about are the ones that don`t go for a hunting tag, if their such hardened criminals in your eyes then why would they bother getting a tag in the first place.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cameron
    This broad based statement against felons is bad. I used to think that convicted criminals should be banned also, until recent events with some of my hunting friends happened. Convicted felon's are not always bad people, just made a bad decision that affected nobody but themselves, as in the case of my hunting friend.

    Law abiding citizens? Never heard of one. How many have had a traffic ticket, trespassing, drank two beers then drove, etc?

    Background checks not needed, bad idea. In Mich you have to give your driver's licence number to buy a licence.

    You absolutly cannot group ALL felons in the same group. Not fair.
    This is also a good point. And, yes, a DL in NY as well, or other suitable proof of residency. But no checks should be done. It is an intrusion. Many people believe reporting their harvest is an intrusion.

    This is also a dangerous precedent to send. I understand the specific use of BC in the special draws. But, if you allow it and its ok in special draws, whot not the whole thing? Why discriminate? Give an inch, they take a mile.

    IN NYS, we have been having a similar battle. No laws protect or otherwise a hunter from any government body to getting the data and running you through the proverbial wringer. The NYS Assembly had just requested the NYS DEC turn over ALL hunting records contained in the database, on account of a story ran in Rochester about a couple guys who were felons (no mention of the crime, like was it DWI or a bad check?) that got hunting licenses.

    The Assembly (antigun wackos led the charge) demanded thisand I believe this went to court. The got shot down, thankfully. But if you give an inch, now the courts have precedent to allow the Gov to go fishing in your records anytime they want to.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northforker
    I assume that means you are in favor of armed felons. I support the 2nd amendment fully. I do not believe that the 2nd amendment gives criminals the same rights as law abiding citizens. Are you a felon?


    DOC,

    I was very careful to distinguish between background checks on all licenses and LIMITED DRAW PERMITS. I don't know if you have ever applied for many of those, but most states collect enough info in the application process to run the check anyway, all they need is a signed consent form. If one does not want the check, don't apply for the tag.
    Yes I am in favor of felons hunting. Like cameron said not all felons are hardened criminals, Lots are just people that made a mistake. And as tinbender said you should be worrying about the people not applying for a license! To answer your last question YES when I was 17 I was convicted of a felony. Big deal I was young & dumb. Since I have married & have 3 children & haven't gotten in trouble since. Since you think all felons are bad for life why don't you bring your attitude to the archery club I belong to & ask the 4 police officers that belong to the club if I'm the same person from 15 yrs ago, & yes 1 of them is the arresting officer from 15 yrs ago & now he's a Detective Sergeant that I get along with great. So no matter how perfect you think you are in your little world I'm sorry to tell you this but no ones perfect!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northforker

    I was very careful to distinguish between background checks on all licenses and LIMITED DRAW PERMITS. I don't know if you have ever applied for many of those, but most states collect enough info in the application process to run the check anyway, all they need is a signed consent form. If one does not want the check, don't apply for the tag.
    I work with a couple of guys that have felonies in their past and that is what it is, the past. They've done everything the law requires, Why shouldn't they be allowed to put in for LIMITED DRAW PERMITS?

    Personally I don't need the government checking up on me more than they already do ( No I don't have anything to hide or plan to commit a crime it's just none of their business )

    It's kind of like saying that because you have a record that you can't buy a lottery ticket.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by fnkybn
    Yes I am in favor of felons hunting. Like cameron said not all felons are hardened criminals, Lots are just people that made a mistake. And as tinbender said you should be worrying about the people not applying for a license! To answer your last question YES when I was 17 I was convicted of a felony. Big deal I was young & dumb. Since I have married & have 3 children & haven't gotten in trouble since. Since you think all felons are bad for life why don't you bring your attitude to the archery club I belong to & ask the 4 police officers that belong to the club if I'm the same person from 15 yrs ago, & yes 1 of them is the arresting officer from 15 yrs ago & now he's a Detective Sergeant that I get along with great. So no matter how perfect you think you are in your little world I'm sorry to tell you this but no ones perfect!
    Good point. They have done their time and can't carry a firearm, so let them hunt with a bow.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by fnkybn
    Yes I am in favor of felons hunting. Like cameron said not all felons are hardened criminals, Lots are just people that made a mistake. And as tinbender said you should be worrying about the people not applying for a license! To answer your last question YES when I was 17 I was convicted of a felony. Big deal I was young & dumb. Since I have married & have 3 children & haven't gotten in trouble since. Since you think all felons are bad for life why don't you bring your attitude to the archery club I belong to & ask the 4 police officers that belong to the club if I'm the same person from 15 yrs ago, & yes 1 of them is the arresting officer from 15 yrs ago & now he's a Detective Sergeant that I get along with great. So no matter how perfect you think you are in your little world I'm sorry to tell you this but no ones perfect!
    Congrats on turning your life around. It is good to hear about people like you in contrast to all the negative news in the press!
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  12. #12
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    I don't understand what the article is implying; There is no Federal law that
    I know of that prohibits a convicted felon from obtaining a hunting license.
    Most states allow felons to hunt with a bow, some with muzzle loader.
    If a felon obtained a lottery moose tag in My state, a Muzzle loader or
    bow would be enough to dispatch a moose. (Or buffalo, boar, bear) If I
    understand the law correctly, a felon may hunt with legal implements.

    This looks like more anti gun / anti hunter propaganda to Me.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milsurp
    I don't understand what the article is implying; There is no Federal law that
    I know of that prohibits a convicted felon from obtaining a hunting license.
    Most states allow felons to hunt with a bow, some with muzzle loader.
    If a felon obtained a lottery moose tag in My state, a Muzzle loader or
    bow would be enough to dispatch a moose. (Or buffalo, boar, bear) If I
    understand the law correctly, a felon may hunt with legal implements.

    This looks like more anti gun / anti hunter propaganda to Me.
    Yes it is. A solid observation, indeed!

  14. #14
    How many states would have to change their whole hunting license system? In VA the system is small game license as a base license. Deer, bear and turkey for firearms is the second required and this is the part that contains your actual deer, bear, and turkey tags. Parts 3, 4 and 5 are independently chosen depending on additional seasons and weapons you may want to hunt in. This is the bow, xbow and muzzle loader licenses. Just what we need 1 more big brother check.

  15. #15
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    How hard could it be to run a search of listed felons against the hunting license sold, there would be no back ground check, of invasion of privacy. If your name matched the listed felons the computer would tag it and someone could do a quick follow up to see if they are the same person.
    Having said that, as of now a person does not lose their right to hunt for being a convicted felon. Assuming that someone who is a felon and holds a hunting tag is using a firearm is a bit un-nerving to me. If I ever was lucky enough to draw a bison tag you can bet your hind end I would be after Mr. Buff with my bow, now goose with a bow sounds fun but I wouldn’t want to have to feed myself for long that way.

  16. As laws different from state to state, I can only go in reference with my own state laws. There are only certain felonies that cause you to loose your right to bare arms. Now, you can hunt with something else besides a gun. It doesn't say you loose your right to bare "weapons". Even if you were convicted of a felony that caused you to loose your right to bare arms, there is a 10 year statute of limitations on this and you can get your rights back if you stay clean for the 10 years. As I said, I am referring to my state.

    So, when you start running their names, you will have to have a book to look up the charge to make sure that they didn't loose their rights in the first place, as this will NOT show up on the initial search. Next, you will have to contact that person to see if he is actually hunting and what he is actually hunting with.


    Assuming that someone who is a felon and holds a hunting tag is using a firearm is a bit un-nerving to me.
    Well, it wouldn't be to me. That just shows that the person is being honest and is doing the right thing by getting the license. What would be un-nerving to me would be the convicted felons who do NOT hold a tag or obtain a license or anyone for that matter.


    It's just another "anti-hunter" angle to take away hunters rights.


    If anyone should do any searching, it should be left solely upon the Probation and Parole office to cross reference their "clients" individualy. They should not screen all hunters. It is invasion of privacy.

  17. #17
    Next you'll need a background check to go into a sporting goods store. Where does this check everyone mentality come from? As soon as big brother bar codes or implants a chip in us we'll all be safe, right?

  18. #18
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    Bs

    There are some "law abiding citizens" that are just as dangerous or have just not been caught.
    I know a guy who caught his wife in the shower w another man in his own home...sent him for an ambulance ride to the hospital after the man challenged him.But because this lover had permission to be in his home from his wife....this guy gets charged and is now a felon.
    How many guys wouldn't respond the same and now not allowed to hunt?????
    I know that there are peole drawing LIMITED TAGS that have done worse!
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  19. #19
    this article really gets my blood going. let me start off my saying that i myself am a convicted felon. dumb choices in my youth led to some dumb things. all people make mistakes once in their lives.....after all we are ALL only human, its in our nature. its what you do afterwards thats important. do you open your eyes and learn from your mistakes, or do you just go on doing the same ole stuff.
    people tag felons as bad, violent, untrustworthy people, its the same as any other stereotypes. but people dont really know who they are judging. all they know is that they committed a crime. they dont know anything about the person or the crime, nor do they care to. thats freaking ridiculous!!!
    to say that a person shouldnt be allowed to hunt because of this is outragous. i myself have hunted all my life. it is just what i do. its a huge part in the relationship with my father, and will be the same with me and my son. to tell me that i could not hunt would kill me. hunting for me is a way of getting away and reflecting, spending time with family and just enjoying life. you cant take that away from somebody just because they made a mistake.
    as far as allowing felons to use a firearm...well thats tricky. thats for each state to decide on a case by case basis. i myself had to go through a very long tough interview process before i could even be heard on why i think i should get my rights back. i still dont know and wont for a couple months. but either way, i still get to hunt. in most states a muzzleloader isnt considered a "firearm" and anyone can use a bow or crossbow.
    whoever wrote this article is a narrow minded ignorant prick, who needs to get his head out of his own self-rightous a** and take a look around. people like this are always on the hunt for a scapgoat....and i guess that "felons" would make a good target. until you run across the few that were able to turn it all around and stand up for themselves in a civil, honorable manor and speak out on what they believe.

  20. #20
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    Felony crimes are a pretty broad range of offences. I really don't agree that ALL felons should lose there right to own and use firearms. Certainly the violent crime offenders should have rights revoked. not all felony offenses pertain to violence.
    All there is in this country is more laws harder punishments big brother taking more control and taking more away. Idiots like this make it happen.
    I'll bet when your in trouble at work your quick to take the heat off yourself pointing out what Joe and SAM are doing wrong.
    Go ****ing cry to your Mommy you can't get a tag, don't try to drag more people down.
    " We all got it coming kid.... "

  21. #21
    In VA if you are convicted of domestic abuse - a misdemeanor that is retro-active back as long as you were alive - you lose your gun rights. They had police that lost their job when this one came into effect. So now it's a misdemeanor next it's what? The point is they want no one with a gun no matter. And like the animal rights nuts they'll be content to take your rights away one piece at a time.

  22. #22
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    Felons typically lose their rights to possess firearms, so they cannot legally hunt with them. If they are applying for and getting limited draw permits for rifle hunting that's a shame, because they are still not legal to hunt with it, and they are preventing someone who qualifies from getting it. I would not use this to justify criminal background checks. It might help if driver's licenses issued to felons to have an identifying number and the game dept. was savvy enough to screen those out. Then again, the ACLU would go nuts about felons being saddled with a "scarlet letter," fearing it would mark them for police abuse and employer discrimination.

    If these felons are simply applying for limited draw ARCHERY tags, where exactly is the problem? The state has not seen fit to take away their right to hunt with a bow, so they are just as entitled to apply for and win the tag as you are.

  23. #23
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    If a felon he has lost the right to posses firearms he can't hunt with a firearm, but he may be able to hunt with black powder and usually can always hunt with a bow in most cases. After a period of time I think most states have a process where the felon can get most of their rights back except for owning a firearm. As for felons taking to the field hunting I'd like to see some sort of state or parole board approval before they pick up a weapon, including a bow.

    Our TDC did a study once and found that less than 2% of our state's inmates had ever owned or bought a hunting license.

  24. #24
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    Here in Washington, felons can petition a judge for the restoration of the right to possess firearms.

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