Can a Felon go to a Shooting Range?

A lot of people follow gun shooting as a leisure sport. It’s a sport that requires practice and skill and we often find people bragging about their knowledge of guns. This actually makes others more curious about guns.

A person who has used guns before their conviction might want to pursue shooting as a hobby or sport even after serving their jail term but there are a few challenges they might face due to their felony convictions.

What is a Shooting Range?

A shooting range is a place where people can practice gun shooting by aiming at targets set at specific distances. It is usually enclosed but some of them are outdoors as well.

Shooting ranges have the necessary equipment and safety measures that ensure that gun enthusiasts can practice without causing harm to themselves or others.

Shooting ranges are often connected to gun stores from which a person can buy or rent a gun. Guns like pistols, rifles, and other kinds are available at shooting ranges mostly at a flat rental fee.

Do gun ranges do Background Checks?

Gun ranges require a person to sign a waiver that states that the person understands the guidelines and will abide by the law set by the state or the local authorities regarding the use of guns.

This also includes disclosure of your criminal history and it is subject to background checks. Gun ranges can conduct background checks on people who want to buy a gun. Just like employers, gun ranges also conduct background checks that involve financial and criminal history.

However, background checks are not allowed if a person wants to rent a gun as long as the gun is used within the store’s premises. This is because the gun remains licensed to the store or shooting range and not to the person using it.

So they make the person sign a waiver that states that they are legally allowed to use a gun. This is essential for ensuring the safety and well-being of other people at the range.

So it is necessary to be honest on the waiver form as any wrong information provided at this stage can be considered fraud and can be punishable.

Can a Felon go to a Gun Range?

A simple answer would be “No”. Among some other rights, felons also lose their right to possess a firearm when they are convicted. In fact, felons are required to surrender any existing firearm they possess at the time of conviction.

So the rules regarding the use of a firearm by a felon are pretty straightforward. Even inside a shooting range, a convicted felon is not allowed to handle a firearm. Shooting ranges often have this on their waiver form and withholding this information can be considered a class 6 felony offense that can result in imprisonment.

States do not issue gun licenses to convicted felons no matter what the nature of their offense is. The Gun 1968 Control Act prohibits any convicted felon from possessing any firearm.

So even if a felon tries to rent a firearm, he or she will be in violation of federal law, and it can have serious consequences.


Even if the felon is not using a gun themselves, being present at a shooting range can land them in trouble. So even accompanying a friend or a partner to a shooting range might not be a good idea if you have a felony conviction record.

Even if you can own or possess a firearm as per federal law, you can appeal for restoration of gun rights if you haven’t been involved in any forcible felony in the past 20 years. This is a lengthy legal process and you can consult a lawyer if you are really passionate about shooting.