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Can a felon in nc own a air rifle? like a pcp 45 cal. ? i just want to shoot targets in the yard,and hunt.

Elizabeth City, NC |
Filed under: Criminal charges

when i was a teenager i was charged with non-violent simple cocaine possesion in 2001 (30 dollars worth),was released from prison in august 2002, back then i was allowed to own firearms,then in 2004 they took that from me. i am now in my 30's, and stay out of trouble. all i want to do is shoot targets in the yard( nc has BIG yards) and do a little hunting with my nephews. but i do NOT want to break any laws of any kind,so instead of trying to own a firearm, maybe i can just have a big pellet gun?

Attorney Answers 2


It does not appear that an air rifle, BB gun, or pellet gun is considered a firearm when determining whether a felon can possess one or not. Please see the links to the statute and a UNC School of Government blog article supporting this interpretation. Beware the risk though. You never know if a police officer would charge you that way, even if mistaken in the law.

For informational purposes only. This comment is not intended to be legal advice.

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Does caliber of the aforementioned airgun matter however? I am a NY resident, who owns a decent sized spread in rural NC. I am also a felon. I have recently become interested in Using big bore air rifles to hunt feral pigs and other such large game in NC, as it is legal to use air rifles to hunt big game in NC, and not in NY. However, in my research, I have come across many mentions of big bore air guns being classified as firearms in NC, and thus, a felon would be subject to the same prohibition on ownership/possession. I cannot find statutory support for this, but when you're walking the thinnest of lines - as every felon is - due diligence is important. It can be the difference between Enjoying a trip to rural America, camping and hunting with your family and making memories, or winding up incarcerated. Is there any case law of which you may know where a felon was adjudicated in possession of a firearm due to possession of an airgun in NC? I have found several examples of just such case law in your northern neighbor, the Commonwealth.


Keep in mind there may be laws about hunting animals with that kind of gun, should you decide to take it hunting.

Any information is provided for educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship exists between any person reading this information. No warranty, express or implied is provided. If you have a legal matter is important to contact an attorney who is licensed in your state. Many attorneys provide free initial consultations.

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