Can I Go to a Shooting Range with a Criminal Record?



Shooting ranges have the right to review a customer’s criminal background before granting them entry. In Florida, people with a felony conviction are not allowed to possess, operate, or own a gun. Even if a convicted felon has committed to changing their life and becoming a better person, they are still denied from exercising their gun rights.

The Background Check Process at a Shooting Range

When you enter a shooting range, you must complete a waiver, which normally asks patrons to disclose their criminal history. When filling out this waiver, it is important to be honest, as lying on this form in and of itself is a criminal offense that could result in prison time.

In some cases, a shooting range may choose to conduct a background check. A background check completed by a shooting range may display the following information:

  • Criminal offenses
  • Driving records
  • Credit reports
  • Educational records

While all of this information may show up on a background check, most shooting ranges are solely concerned with the criminal records of their patrons. This is because a person’s criminal record allows the shooting range to identify any potential security or safety risks.

When the shooting range runs a background check, the software will examine criminal files for any criminal activity. This includes convictions and any criminal cases that were dropped or dismissed. Convictions do not expire on a criminal record, whereas dismissed cases can only stay on your record for seven years. The only way to remove a criminal conviction is to get your record expunged.

Shooting Range Laws and Restrictions for Convicted Felons

In 1968, the federal government passed the Gun Control Act to prevent any convicted felon from exercising their gun rights. Under the law, both non-violent and violent felons are legally prohibited from buying or operating a gun. Any person with a felony conviction who is caught possessing or transporting a firearm may face a class 6 felony charge, which could result in a ten-year jail sentence.

It is important to note that even if a felon does not own a gun but is found in possession of one at a shooting range, they may be arrested. For example, a felon cannot go to a shooting range for target practice. Many police officers and parole officers may be present at a shooting range for their personal shooting practice. If a felon is recognized by law enforcement at a shooting range, they could be arrested.

Restoring Gun Rights to Shoot at a Shooting Range

Felons can pursue certain procedures to restore their firearm rights. In order to be eligible for an application, a felon must meet two conditions:

  1. They must not have been convicted of a forcible felony within the past 20 years.
  2. At least 20 years must have passed since the end of their jail time for their felony.

In addition to these two conditions, when a felon applies to have their gun rights restored, their criminal history and reputation must suggest that they will not act in a way that is considered dangerous to public safety.

Another way that a felon could restore their firearm rights is by pursuing a presidential pardon. To receive a presidential pardon, felons can contact the federal government about receiving clemency. If this is the path you wish to pursue, it is important to seek legal counsel.

Contact a Gun Rights Restoration Lawyer in Florida

If you are a convicted felon looking to restore your gun rights, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel from a skilled gun rights restoration lawyer. At Fighter Law, our attorneys are well versed in the clemency application process. Our team of skilled attorneys sincerely care about our clients and are passionate about fighting for their rights. To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers, call today at 407-FIGHTER (344-4837) or fill out our online contact form.

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