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Thread: Convicted Felons & Muzzle-Loading Rifles...

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member rocketsteve's Avatar
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    Convicted Felons & Muzzle-Loading Rifles...

    My cousin is a convicted felon and his father told him that he could go hunting with a modern, scope-mounted, black-powder muzzle-loading rifle without any problems from FWC or the local LEOs.

    Since I wasn’t sure if this was correct, I did a little research in Gutmacher’s book and he referred to Bostic v. State 902 So. 2d 225 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005) in which Judge Edward E. Hedstrom filed the following opinion:

    http://www.5dca.org/Opinions/Opin200...03-3270.op.pdf

    Quote from page 4 & 5 of the opinion:

    A plain reading of the statute requires that, in order to be exempt, a firearm must be either manufactured in or before 1918 or be a “replica” thereof. A replica is defined by Florida case law as meaning a reasonably exact reproduction of the object involved that, when viewed, causes the person to see substantially the same object as the original.

    The rifle possessed by the defendant, which included visible differences from an antique firearm such as a fiber optic sight, was not a “replica” of a firearm manufactured in or before 1918. Accordingly, the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss.

    Quote from page 7 of the opinion:

    "Based on the information he obtained, Bostic purchased a Thompson Center Arms Model Black Diamond muzzle-loading rifle from a Wal-Mart store. This rifle is an in-line percussion-cap, black-powder weapon. The rifle is loaded with a propellant through the muzzle and tapped into place with a ram rod. The ignition system uses a percussion cap, a copper cap with an explosive substance to cause the flame to ignite the propellant."

    Quote from page 12 of the opinion:

    492 So. 2d at 1053-1054
    On the other hand, it says that a felon cannot rely on the fact that the firearm may be an antique or replica of an antique to escape prosecution.

    After I finished reading the Judge's entire opinion, it's clear that he believes the statute to be vague enough that one jury might choose to acquit a defendant, whereas another jury might choose to convict another defendant under the same circumstances. Based on the Judge's opinion, my cousin may or may not have further legal problems if he's found in possession of a muzzle-loading rifle.

    I'd like to provide my cousin with the facts before he goes hunting. The opinion was filed in May of 2005 and I was wondering if there are any recent court cases dealing with convicted felons in possession of muzzle-loading rifles? Does anybody know if there is any further clarification of Florida statute in the case of Bostic v. State of Florida?
    The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. - Thomas Jefferson

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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsteve View Post
    My cousin is a convicted felon and his father told him that he could go hunting with a modern, scope-mounted, black-powder muzzle-loading rifle without any problems from FWC or the local LEOs.

    Since I wasn’t sure if this was correct, I did a little research in Gutmacher’s book and he referred to Bostic v. State 902 So. 2d 225 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005) in which Judge Edward E. Hedstrom filed the following opinion:

    http://www.5dca.org/Opinions/Opin200...03-3270.op.pdf

    Quote from page 4 & 5 of the opinion:

    A plain reading of the statute requires that, in order to be exempt, a firearm must be either manufactured in or before 1918 or be a “replica” thereof. A replica is defined by Florida case law as meaning a reasonably exact reproduction of the object involved that, when viewed, causes the person to see substantially the same object as the original.

    The rifle possessed by the defendant, which included visible differences from an antique firearm such as a fiber optic sight, was not a “replica” of a firearm manufactured in or before 1918. Accordingly, the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss.

    Quote from page 7 of the opinion:

    "Based on the information he obtained, Bostic purchased a Thompson Center Arms Model Black Diamond muzzle-loading rifle from a Wal-Mart store. This rifle is an in-line percussion-cap, black-powder weapon. The rifle is loaded with a propellant through the muzzle and tapped into place with a ram rod. The ignition system uses a percussion cap, a copper cap with an explosive substance to cause the flame to ignite the propellant."

    Quote from page 12 of the opinion:

    492 So. 2d at 1053-1054
    On the other hand, it says that a felon cannot rely on the fact that the firearm may be an antique or replica of an antique to escape prosecution.

    After I finished reading the Judge's entire opinion, it's clear that he believes the statute to be vague enough that one jury might choose to acquit a defendant, whereas another jury might choose to convict another defendant under the same circumstances. Based on the Judge's opinion, my cousin may or may not have further legal problems if he's found in possession of a muzzle-loading rifle.

    I'd like to provide my cousin with the facts before he goes hunting. The opinion was filed in May of 2005 and I was wondering if there are any recent court cases dealing with convicted felons in possession of muzzle-loading rifles? Does anybody know if there is any further clarification of Florida statute in the case of Bostic v. State of Florida?
    Your cousin would be committing a felony unless it's an actual antique manufactured in or before 1918 or a replica. Modern in-line muzzle loaders are not replicas!

    As you've posted from the Bostic case, here is the important part:
    A plain reading of the statute requires that, in order to be exempt, a firearm must be either manufactured in or before 1918 or be a "replica" thereof.

    A replica is defined by Florida case law as meaning a reasonably exact reproduction of the object involved that, when viewed, causes the person to see substantially the same object as the original.

    Applying this definition to the facts at hand, it is clear that merely having an ignition system similar to that found on an antique firearm is not sufficient to render a firearm a "replica" of a firearm manufactured in or before 1918.

    The rifle possessed by the defendant, which included visible differences from an antique firearm such as a fiber optic sight, was not a "replica" of a firearm manufactured in or before 1918.
    The quote from page 12 is from a dissenting judge, as such is meaningless in this case.

    The appeals court upheld the lower court's determination of "Antiqueness" was correct. It never went to a jury, as it was a matter of law, not fact.

    I am not a lawyer!
    My opinion/comments are strictly that: My own, well researched, opinions.
    If anyone needs legal advise, please seek out a qualified attorney.
    Do not rely on my, or anyone Else's, opinions to keep you out of legal trouble.

  3. #3
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    "manufactured on or before 1918" does that mean he can own a 1903 Springfield .30/06, Winchester 1894 .30/30 or a Colt 1911 .45acp?

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    Quote Originally Posted by blaster View Post
    "manufactured on or before 1918" does that mean he can own a 1903 Springfield .30/06, Winchester 1894 .30/30 or a Colt 1911 .45acp?
    I thought that point was clear.










































    Last edited by brboyer; 10-26-2010 at 08:47 AM.

    I am not a lawyer!
    My opinion/comments are strictly that: My own, well researched, opinions.
    If anyone needs legal advise, please seek out a qualified attorney.
    Do not rely on my, or anyone Else's, opinions to keep you out of legal trouble.

  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Endangered Species's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brboyer View Post
    I thought that point was clear.
    Yes, but hard to believe. OTOH, how many of those oldies are out there? I'm curious why the exemption exists.
    "In routine encounters with law enforcement, a citizen should not have to weigh the likelihood that the officer will decide to shoot him dead. That's about as basic a standard for civilized society as one can muster."

    - Mark Steyn

  6. #6
    Senior Member Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaster View Post
    "manufactured on or before 1918" does that mean he can own a 1903 Springfield .30/06, Winchester 1894 .30/30 or a Colt 1911 .45acp?
    The full definition is as follows
    "Antique firearm” means any firearm manufactured in or before 1918 (including any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar early type of ignition system) or replica thereof, whether actually manufactured before or after the year 1918, and also any firearm using fixed ammunition manufactured in or before 1918, for which ammunition is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade."
    So since commercial ammo is stilll manufactured for the weapons you mentioned they are not legal for felons.

  7. #7
    Distinguished Member PoliSciGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheels View Post
    The full definition is as follows
    "Antique firearm” means any firearm manufactured in or before 1918 (including any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar early type of ignition system) or replica thereof, whether actually manufactured before or after the year 1918, and also any firearm using fixed ammunition manufactured in or before 1918, for which ammunition is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade."
    So since commercial ammo is stilll manufactured for the weapons you mentioned they are not legal for felons.
    While I'm not arguing against any of this, it is important to note that the only reason some of the ammunition is commercially available now is due to the popularity of Cowboy Action Shooting. And even fixed cartridge firearms manufactured prior to 1899 are not considered firearms by federal law, so someone can purchase an original Winchester 1894 (if made between 1894 and 1899) or even an 1897 (if made prior to 1899) without any type of background check or 4473, I believe...

    How any of that would affect a felon, I have no idea nor do I wish to guess. I'm not advocating any way for a felon to aquire any form of firearm or gun, whether it is breech loaded or muzzleloaded.
    I am not a lawyer. Nor do I play one on TV. Anything I state is my opinion only and is not meant to be any type of true legal advice. If you need legal advice, seek a lawyer, that's what they get paid to do.

  8. #8
    Distinguished Member MPDC66's Avatar
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    Seems like I see lots of Mausers and variations available through the web without background qualifications. Since ammo for these is still pretty readily available, they are actually what I would consider modern rifles. Since no background check is done (IF I am reading the ads correctly) it might be illegal to own one for a felon BUT they are obviously easily obtained.




    "A marvel of German engineering! Take a gander at this rare breed... a Ludwig-Loewe and DWM Mauser® Rifle, ready to shoot. Just begging to be a cherished addition to your antique military firearms collection. A forgotten limited quantity was recently found in a warehouse, now ready for a new assignment after so many years.

    Commissioned for the Chilean government, these unusual short-barreled versions of the Mauser 95 speak of history defending support divisions from the unexpected. Very similar models were used to great effect against British soldiers by the Orange Free State in the Second Boer War. Metal and wood both bear the marks of long service... who knows where each Rifle could have spent its service life? The possibilities are endless.

    The real deal, brought 110 years into the future! These are no knock-offs. Each Rifle was manufactured by Mauser, as part of a German Military mission to the Chilean War College. Each component bears the mark of old-world workmanship. Lightweight, superbly balanced, intact with all the Mauser refinements the rest of the gun-making world still copies. A "sporting" sized military Rifle, ready to go without any modification. Here's your chance to own a genuine working piece of history!

    Rare Mauser relic:

    •No missing parts
    •No cracked stocks
    •Bolt action cocks on closing
    •3-position Mauser safety
    •Internal 5-rd. staggered box magazine
    •Large Mauser claw extractor, the same design in use today!
    •Chambered in 7 x 57 Mauser
    •Barleycorn front sight
    •Adjustable tangent rear sight
    •21" barrel
    •41" overall length, weighs approx. 8 1/2 lbs.
    •Fully shootable, in good working order!
    •Cleaning rod not included.
    Condition: used, in good shape. An extraordinary find for military historians. Order yours ONLINE NOW! "
    Last edited by MPDC66; 10-26-2010 at 10:50 AM.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoliSciGuy View Post
    While I'm not arguing against any of this, it is important to note that the only reason some of the ammunition is commercially available now is due to the popularity of Cowboy Action Shooting. And even fixed cartridge firearms manufactured prior to 1899 are not considered firearms by federal law, so someone can purchase an original Winchester 1894 (if made between 1894 and 1899) or even an 1897 (if made prior to 1899) without any type of background check or 4473, I believe...

    How any of that would affect a felon, I have no idea nor do I wish to guess. I'm not advocating any way for a felon to aquire any form of firearm or gun, whether it is breech loaded or muzzleloaded.
    I am not a lawyer and could definitely be interpreting something wrong, but to me it looks like those firearms would be legal for a felon to possess under federal law but still illegal under state law.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ron8903's Avatar
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    Think Dukes of Hazard, Tell him to use a compound bow for hunting and be on the safe side.
    "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."
    - Sir Winston Churchill

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