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  1. #1
    HoldenCaufield is offline Junior Member
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    Felon and Black Powder

    What is the name of your state? TEXAS

    Can a felon legally own black powder for a muzzle loading antique gun?
  2. #2
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoldenCaufield View Post
    What is the name of your state? TEXAS

    Can a felon legally own black powder for a muzzle loading antique gun?
    Generally, No. Especially since they can't lawfully possess the firearm.
  3. #3
    HoldenCaufield is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by xylene View Post
    Generally, No. Especially since they can't lawfully possess the firearm.
    Thank you for the response, but I think felons can lawfully possess antique guns. My question is about black powder though, not guns.

    Anybody else?
    Last edited by HoldenCaufield; 12-06-2007 at 12:24 PM.
  4. #4
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoldenCaufield View Post
    Thank you for the response, but I think felons can lawfully possess antique guns. My question is about black powder though, not guns.

    Anybody else?
    Bottom line: (Note: ABSENT SOME LEGAL REHABILITATION - A felon cannot posses black powder. It is an explosive.

    Also, a felon cannot posses firearms. I am not completely confident in your assertion about antique guns, particularly in the context you see to be describing.

    It is possible for some bona-fide antique firearms to be possessed in some circumstances by a felon.

    Possessing such a firearm, along with ammunition and magazine (powder) with (and probably without) intention to discharge such a firearm would almost certainly be a breech of the antique exemption and would be additional legal problems.

    So it REALLY is about the powder AND the gun.

    If you are looking to use an antique gun to hunt or shoot, you are not in the clear. The powder is illegal and the antique gun would VERY likely be illegal to possess also when possessed with the ammunition and magazine to make the weapon discharge.

    So to understand it properly - A legal antique gun does NOT make black powder legal to have as a felon, and having black powder ALSO (in all likelihood) makes the gun illegal.

    Consider options for pardon / full expungement... good luck
    Last edited by xylene; 12-06-2007 at 01:04 PM.
  5. #5
    FlyingRon is offline Senior Member
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    This is one of the things that changes all over from state to state, but in Texas just using black powder is NOT sufficient to escape the definition of being a firearm. It has to be really old (before 1899) or a replica there of. The further decision says if you actually USE the thing as a weapon, the exemption does not apply. The rule was to allow you to hang a antique weapon that you aren't going to fire on the wall NOT to allow you to use a weapon that has been restricted via being called a firearm.

    So looks like you are probably out three ways:

    1. Black powder weapons aren't necessarily exempt.
    2. If you're going to fire it, you can't use the antique exclusion
    3. You may be enjoined from owning the powder as well.
  6. #6
    seniorjudge is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoldenCaufield View Post
    Thank you for the response, but I think felons can lawfully possess antique guns. My question is about black powder though, not guns.

    Anybody else?
    I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible. ~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 3
    There are two rules for success:

    (1) Never tell everything you know.
  7. #7
    CdwJava is online now Senior Member
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    Here is how TX defines firearms:

    46.04 (3) "Firearm" means any device designed, made, or
    adapted to expel a projectile through a barrel by using the energy
    generated by an explosion or burning substance or any device
    readily convertible to that use. Firearm does not include a firearm
    that may have, as an integral part, a folding knife blade or other
    characteristics of weapons made illegal by this chapter and that
    is:

    (A) an antique or curio firearm manufactured
    before 1899; or

    (B) a replica of an antique or curio firearm
    manufactured before 1899, but only if the replica does not use rim
    fire or center fire ammunition.

    So, possession of the blackpowder weapon may be lawful in TX.

    I also see no specific exemption for gunpowder absent some intent to use it for an explosive device and no specific mention of a prohibition for felons in TX.

    Additionally, the feds provide a black powder exception to the definition as well:

    (16) The term “antique firearm” means—
    (A) any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898; or
    (B) any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (A) if such replica—
    (i) is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or
    (ii) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade; or
    (C) any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “antique firearm” shall not include any weapon which incorporates a firearm frame or receiver, any firearm which is converted into a muzzle loading weapon, or any muzzle loading weapon which can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt, breechblock, or any combination thereof.

    Oddly, the OP appears to be eligible to possess the powder and the weapon in TX.


    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  8. #8
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    Carl - I don't actually believe TX law is relevant, I think this is a fed issue.

    Concerning the rifle... for the Fed exemption to be valid the weapon must be either older than 1899 or a black powder replica. The definition of replica can be extremely specifically construed, and has been in other cases. That's just for possesion.

    It would be easy to construe possession of black powder as possession of explosive, which is illegal for felons.

    Combine the two and they are quite certainly illegal, or at the very least enough to cause costly legal trouble.

    This poster is treading down an alley for 'gun ownership for felons' that has been well trodden with mixed results. If the poster wants a fight, he is likely to get one.

    A 'sure fire' hassle free gun ownership experience as felon is not to be had because of a partial black powder exemption.
  9. #9
    FlyingRon is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdwJava View Post
    So, possession of the blackpowder weapon may be lawful in TX.
    Just because it uses an archaic ammunition, doesn't make it old or a replica of an old one.

    Further, the case law in Texas is that if you use intend to have as an antique/curio, i.e., ornamental, that is what the statue applies to. If you intend to use it at a weapon, then the exception for the antique weapon does not exist.
  10. #10
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    Love the quote, seniorjudge! How pertinent!!
  11. #11
    CdwJava is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by xylene View Post
    Carl - I don't actually believe TX law is relevant, I think this is a fed issue.
    State law is typically more restrictive than federal law. Plus, there is the possibility that the weapon was not transported across state lines in which case much of the federal law would not then apply.

    Concerning the rifle... for the Fed exemption to be valid the weapon must be either older than 1899 or a black powder replica. The definition of replica can be extremely specifically construed, and has been in other cases. That's just for possesion.
    I do blackpowder for a hobby and have for 20 years, and unless it's a homemade black powder rifle, it almost certainly is a replica firearm.

    It would be easy to construe possession of black powder as possession of explosive, which is illegal for felons.
    Not under state law, which requires it have intent to create an illegal device attached to it or be in sufficient quantity to trigger some other laws. Simply possessing the gunpowder does not appear to be a crime in TX or under federal law.

    This poster is treading down an alley for 'gun ownership for felons' that has been well trodden with mixed results. If the poster wants a fight, he is likely to get one.
    His best bet would be to see an attorney in TX. But, as it is defined in TX, I don't think he's going to run afoul of the law there.

    There may be some nuance of TX law that contradicts this and restricts even antiques and replicas, but I cannot see it in the texts I found.

    In CA we define a firearm differently, so it would be prohibited here.


    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  12. #12
    CdwJava is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    Just because it uses an archaic ammunition, doesn't make it old or a replica of an old one.
    No ... but I have yet to see a manufactured black powder weapon that is not ostensibly a reproduction of an antique. Not too many modern black powder weapons out there ... I suppose there is, but I have never seen one. And, if they exist, they are few and far between.

    Further, the case law in Texas is that if you use intend to have as an antique/curio, i.e., ornamental, that is what the statue applies to. If you intend to use it at a weapon, then the exception for the antique weapon does not exist.
    Then the legislature should close the loophole in the law and change the statute, because that is not what the statute implies.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  13. #13
    CavemanLawyer is offline Senior Member
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    For the reasons mentioned above there is nothing preventing a felon in TX. from possessing black powder, and if your gun qualifies as an antique than that is fine too.

    Also, if it has been more than five years since you were released from confinement or probation than you are allowed to possess a firearm, ammo, whatever anyway so long as it remains in your home and you don't take it in public. 46.04 (a)(2).
  14. #14
    BoredAtty is offline Member
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    I also agree that there doesn't seem to be a problem with a felon possessing black powder. There doesn't seem to be a Texas law barring a felon from owning ammunition at all (except bullets that can pierce armor, which applies to everybody, not just felons). The following federal law appears to exclude black powder from it's definition of "ammunition," which is illegal for a felon to possess.

    18 USC § 922

    (g) It shall be unlawful for any person—
    (1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;

    to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

    18 USC § 921

    (3) The term “firearm” means
    (D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.

    (16) The term “antique firearm” means—
    (C) any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition.

    (17)
    (A) The term “ammunition” means ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or propellent powder designed for use in any firearm.


    Additionally, the laws regarding explosives are specific and don't encompass gunpowder.
    Last edited by BoredAtty; 12-06-2007 at 11:41 PM.
  15. #15
    CdwJava is online now Senior Member
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    Phew!

    I thought I might have been missing something when I was reading all those TX and federal statutes!

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

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