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House Bill May Allow Felons to Own Guns

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LAWTON Okla_ In the state of Oklahoma, committing a felony means handing over your weapons, even if your crime wasn't violent. One Republican lawmaker is pushing to see that changed.

A new bill is being considered by the Oklahoma House that would allow non-violent ex-felons who have completed their sentences to regain their rights to bear arms.

Max Iruegas is a convicted a felon. He inherited that title when he received his 5th DUI charge. Now, he is considered a "non-violent felon", but he still can't carry or even own a firearm. He said this puts him at a disadvantage when it comes to protecting his family, and it's a hit to his pride, too.

That's because before Max held the title of "convicted felon", he was a security guard at a local casino. He said handing over his weapon was like losing an arm or a leg.

"It was tough," Max said. "That was my livelihood. That's how I made my money. That was my career. Without that, I have nothing."

Now his numerous training hours and certificates proving he's capable of protecting others are useless. Since his conviction in 2009, he's completed his jail sentence, paid nearly all of his fines and taken his required DUI courses. He's been on the job hunt ever since.

"I fill out the job application that says ‘Have you ever been convicted of a crime?', I have to say ‘Yes', then I have to put ‘felon,'" Max said.

This proposal is giving him a glimmer of hope that maybe his life will start to take shape again.

"I can't really say I can go out and try to find a job as an armed security officer, because that's not going to happen," Max said. "That felony is still on my record, but if the bill does pass and I am able to get a weapon, my next step would be to have my felony expunged off my record."

Max is more concerned about his family's safety. He feels, convicted felon or not, as an American, it's his right to protect his home.

"If somebody was to break into my home and do harm to my family, am I just going to say ‘Hey, stop'? How am I going to defend my family if that happens?"

There has been so much opposition from other members of the House Public Safety Committee against the bill that Max Iruegas so desperately wants to see passed, that it's been put on hold.  That means the author can make changes if he wishes, and bring it back up at a future committee meeting. So, there's a chance it could still be voted on during this session.

We also asked for reaction from our Facebook fans. We heard from a few more convicted felons who could not speak with us on camera. One person who wanted to remain anonymous said she was deadly with a pen, but never a gun, and another woman told us she misses not being able to own a gun.

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