Laws on Convicted Felons

By Neal Litherland
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Convicted felons are people found guilty of crimes punishable by a year or more of prison time. As soon as a person becomes a felon, his status as a citizen is altered in terms of his rights. Some of these changes remain in affect after the felon's incarceration is over.


Any adult who is of sound mind in the United States has the right to vote, except for convicted felons. No felons who are in prison are allowed to vote anywhere in the United States. In many states, felons who are on probation are also not allowed to vote. According to Human Rights Watch, there are 10 states in the United States where ex-felons who have served their sentence and returned to being law-abiding citizens are banned from voting for life: Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia and Wyoming.

Gun Ownership

Anyone with a felony conviction is prohibited from owning or renting a firearm. The purpose of this law is to keep guns out of the hands of those convicted of felony crimes. This is the case even if there was no gun involved in the crime or the crime was nonviolent.

Sex Offenders

There are some felons who have to live according to court-mandated guidelines. Those convicted of sexual offenses (such as child molestation or statutory rape), for example, must register as a sex offender with the local police where they live. Child molesters specifically are not supposed to live within a certain number of yards (or sometimes miles) from children, schools, playgrounds and other areas where children might be found. Some advocacy and watch groups have argued that this constitutes a permanent, lifelong punishment for these individuals, and that such punishment may be unconstitutional.

About the Author

In addition to my writing experience, which has been mostly newspaper and blog freelancing, I have been an English tutor and proofreader. If the opportunities arose, I would be happy to edit articles in addition to writing them.