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Felons Get CO Hunting Licenses Though They Can't Legally Possess Weapons

January 22, 2013 06:05:00 am

Most days Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials receive multiple calls from felons inquiring if they are allowed to hunt in the state, says the Denver Post. Nothing in the law prevents a felon from obtaining a Colorado hunting license. Unlike a gun purchase, no criminal background check is required. While law enforcement officials say it is pointless to buy the license, because it is illegal for felons to possess the firearms or archery weapons needed to bring down an animal, plenty of felons do.

"It happens all the stinkin' time," said Gary Ellis, owner of thecoloradohunter.com, the self-proclaimed go-to resource for Colorado hunting. In fact, the question tops the site's list of FAQs. More than 300,000 hunting licenses are issued for big game alone in Colorado every year and, of those, an untraceable number go to felons. The occurrence cannot be quantified because hunting licensee information is not public record. Yet every year, game wardens contact felons in possession of a gun, said Randy Hampton, spokesman for the park-wildlife agency. Those interactions are in addition to the phone calls from both felons and whistle-blowers warning that a known felon is armed and hunting. Hunting and gun advocates say the law should be changed to allow felons convicted of non-violent crimes to hunt. Are we having any problems?" said Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank. "If there is not a problem in practice, don't legislators and law enforcement have more serious problems to worry about in real life?"

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