Can A Felon Own a Crossbow?

There are millions of individuals that have had the unfortunate circumstance of being found guilty and charged with a crime.  So they do their time and pay the debt to society. Unfortunately, in our world,  if one is incarcerated as a felon, there are certain rights one forfeits. One of those most important rights lost is gun ownership.

Whether right or wrong you still want to figure out how to defend you and your family within the law. So looking for a weapon you can have for protection is extremely important.  Your search as a legal alternative for self-defense is difficult. After checking around for a good weapon, among the limited alternatives, a crossbow comes to mind.

However, the question arises; can a felon own a crossbow?  According to a decision in a US Supreme Court case, yes a crossbow can be owned by a felon because federal authorities stated it was not considered a firearm whereas gun ownership by a felon is prohibited by federal law.  Even though the federal government allows crossbows, one still has to be informed of state or local restrictions on the transport, use, and ownership of crossbows (even if not a felon).

Here is the Case in a Nutshell

A former US border patrol officer was charged with possession of an illegal substance and served a six-month prison sentence. At the time of his arrest, authorities removed several weapons from the officer including a crossbow. Once free, Henderson attempted to retrieve possession of his various weapons and handguns.  Denied, he took his case all the way to the US Supreme Court.

The law 18 U.S.C. 922(g)  prohibits anyone convicted of a felony to ever possess a firearm both inside or outside of a felon’s home. However, during the proceeding, the FBI willingly returned a number of Henderson’s weapons, namely a self-made muzzle-loading rifle and crossbow. Federal agents, along with the court, concluded those particular items were not classified as firearms.

Not So Fast

Although the federal government allows the ownership of crossbows, each state may set its own rules and regulations. There are definitely laws restricting the use of crossbows for hunting but it is unclear on the use of bows in self-defense.

There are, however, court cases whereby crossbows were used to fend off a personal attack or injury. In the cases I researched, the users were protected under “stand your ground” laws.  that is why it is extremely important to check with both state and local agencies to get the facts. Make sure you get a copy of the rules and laws governing crossbow ownership and use from these entities.

Why Crossbow Over Other Choices?

Outside of a gun, there are few other weapons that are as useful and powerful to use for protection and hunting. The crossbow stands above other alternatives.

It is one of the few weapons that is allowed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). As long as it is packed away as checked baggage and unloaded you are good to go. So, it is possible to have one of the best self-protection devices with you while traveling. Remember,  though it is allowed, the TSA authorities still have the right to prevent its transport by plane. It is advisable to check ahead with your airline to know the cost and required handling of your bow.

The crossbow has some unique qualities that make it a highly desirable weapon to own. According to experts, these weapons tend to be highly accurate more so than guns because they have less recoil. Although not as powerful as a gun, they still have a powerful enough force which if a target is within its range can pierce through many types of materials such as flesh, wood and even some metal objects.

Additionally advantageous, is its range of use. Unlike a knife or stun gun, you do not need to be close to the attacker or assailant to fend them off. A typical bow’s range is 25 to 50 yards; thus putting plenty of distance between you and your would-be attacker.  Most importantly, while a gun makes a noise, crossbows are extremely silent. This stealth-like quality can make it so you can hit your target without giving up your exact location.

I think this weapon stands out most because of its easy handling, loading, and firing and thus a favorite by those with physical disabilities, children, and women. It tends to be lightweight and these users are able to aim the bow with much accuracy and precision with little difficulty. One has to take into consideration the reasons stated above as serious factors in selecting this weapon of choice without reservations.

One of the best rated crossbows is available on Amazon. Click here to get the latest pricing.

Which Crossbow Is Best for Me?

Besides the type of crossbow, the weight of your crossbow will most likely be the factor that determines which one to get. Basically, the weight is attributed to the force you need to pull on the bowstring. The lower the weight in pounds the less force needed to pull it. It appears that crossbows between 50 to 80 lbs. are low enough to be handled by youngsters and older enthusiasts.

Be aware that the lower weight will not have as much power and works best at shorter distances for accuracy. Nevertheless, it will still be enough to penetrate flesh and bone.

What Are the Different Type of Crossbows?

Basically, crossbows are mounted on a stock (imagine a bow and arrow mounted on top of a pistol or rifle like contraption). So crossbows shoot out projectile-like arrows called bolts or quarrels. There a variety of crossbows to choose from and price range. In addition, some of these varieties work well with scopes. There are mainly six types ;

  • Rifle Crossbow
    One of the most popular, this kind of bow provides great accuracy for the user. It can shoot and hot a target as far as 250 feet dead on. However, to use this one, you need to have a fair amount of strength to pull back on the string and shoot your bolt. So it may not be the best suited for young users and those with disabilities. Here is one that may be right for you.
  • Pistol Crossbow
    This type is very compact and easier to use. Though small, it can shoot a bolt with enough force to penetrate a target at least 75 feet with ease. Probably a good choice for home defense and with those young and old alike. If you are curious to see one, I have one you can check out here.
  • Recurve Crossbow
    It is the favorite for most advanced shooters, hunters and archers. It has a longer bow and draw length. These allow for more acceleration of a bolt. You can check one out here One major downside for a recurve is it tends to be noisy and may thus need the use of a bowstring silencer.
  • Bullet Crossbow
    As its name suggests, the bullet crossbow “shoots’out various types of projectiles such as clay, stone, and lead.  Some models are double stringed while others are designed with a string slot and barrel. Unfortunately, searching on an online retailer like Amazon illustrates that this type of crossbow is hard to come by.
  • Compound Crossbow
    The one visible difference of the compound crossbow to the others are the pulleys and cables. As one is ready to shoot, the string is pulled back, the cables and pulleys move accordingly. This allows for greater velocity, power, and accuracy of the projectile. Although maintenance may be an issue, it is a favorite among hunters. I got one that is recommended on Amazon.
  • Repeating Crossbow 
    You probably have guessed it right. It is a crossbow where a magazine loaded with bolts or quarrels without fletches (feathers) on the top of the weapon, shoots out one bolt after another.  Because it does not have a fletching, it only has accuracy at close range. This is another crossbow type that is difficult to find on an online outlet.

These examples illustrate the vast choices one truly has available. In most cases, these can be found and bought online, at your local department stores or sporting goods. Although you should be able to get them with little to no restrictions, you need to check ahead of time to know if any local or state requirements.

Final Thoughts

I know owning a firearm is one of the most treasured right a citizen is guaranteed under our US Constitution.  And whether it is right or wrong for a person who has served a criminal sentence to be denied gun ownership, the fact remains that federal law currently forbids it. As mentioned above, you still have viable options that will make you and loved ones protected against anyone who would do harm to them.

Because of the relative ease of legal ownership of crossbows, especially for those limited to owning other types of self-protection weapons, it makes sense for one to have a crossbow at home to use just in case. These weapons are also relatively easy to maintain for those young, old or with physical limitations. With the variety of crossbows available, you have the opportunity to select one that will best work for you in self-defense.

If you are ready to move forward on crossbow ownership, one of the highest rated crossbows is available on Amazon. Click here to get the latest pricing on this superbly designed weapon.

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