Dozens of convicted felons in Wisconsin were issued gun deer hunting licenses last year despite a state law that bans them for life from possessing firearms, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. People applying for a hunting license must check a box saying they are not a felon, though their names are not run through a crime database at the point of purchase.
If a felon lies and marks the box stating that he or she is not a felon, it’s considered a false statement, a misdemeanor carrying a one-year jail term. Hunters are basically on the honor system, said Mark Ostermann of the Maine fisheries and wildlife department. “We are asking them to attest that they are not a felon, and if they lie on their application the clerk at Wal-Mart won’t catch them,” Ostermann said. “Does it work? A bad boy is gonna be a bad boy. Does having one more stick to beat them with encourage them to be a good boy? Maybe.” Wisconsin cited fewer than 20 felons last year for carrying firearms while hunting – meaning that most felons with gun deer licenses were not caught.