SHARECOMMENTMORE

(AP) - Two Georgia men convicted decades ago for minor crimes involving an illegal firearm and theft have received pardons from President Barack Obama.

Larry Thornton of Forsyth tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,"it's like a weight lifted off me" since the Justice Department called him Friday to say he'd been pardoned for his federal firearms conviction. He was sentenced to probation for owning an unregistered shotgun that did not have a serial number in 1974.

Thorton says he started crying when he heard the news.

In southeast Georgia, Edwin Hardy Futch Jr. of Pembroke was also pardoned for a 1976 crime involving theft from an interstate shipment. Hardy told The Associated Press he didn't want to discuss his case. He said of the pardon, "I felt like I deserved it."