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Old June 11, 2013, 08:44 PM   #1
Ruark
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Felony conviction and guns you already own...

I know of a guy who was a Class III dealer, CHL instructor, and sold a bunch of weapons like full autos, silencers, etc. To make a long story short, he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer and got himself convicted of a serious felony.

Of course, he lost his CHL and dealer privileges, and can't buy a firearm. But I understand that people with felony convictions not only can't buy guns, they can't even possess one. If that's true, I'm curious how it works. He had a TON of weapons, including a big arsenal of Class III toys. So what happens when you become a felon? Do the police go to your house and confiscate your guns, or are you supposed to "turn them in" in good faith or something? I personally have nothing to do with the guy - he's not a friend of mine or anything - but he was just locally very well known in his field, at least until now. He was also my CHL instructor.
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Old June 11, 2013, 08:55 PM   #2
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I would suppose you might get a chance to sell them. If so it would not be in good faith. They would most likely give you a time frame to get rid of them and if you failed to do so in the time allotment they probably just come confiscate them if they don't in the first place. I'm sure if they allow this there is some sort of receipt involved.

However class 3 requires a hard to get permit right? You can bet those permits are gone asap. Which means it is no longer legal for him to have those even if he is not yet convicted.
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Old June 11, 2013, 08:56 PM   #3
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MY understanding is he has to get rid of them - sell them, give them away, they are his property, he just can't own them or be around them
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Old June 11, 2013, 10:19 PM   #4
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This came up in a thread not that long ago. California has a team that does nothing else than retrieve firearms from those deemed no longer eligible to possess them.

I find it rather hard to believe that in this particular case, that a Class III dealer with NFA inventory was permitted to continue to possess them during a felony trial, and that it is being left to chance post-conviction that he will "do the right thing" and dispose of them legally.
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Old June 11, 2013, 11:34 PM   #5
Ruark
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In this case, I think he lost his NFA license before the trial, and I'm sure he forfeited his inventory stock. I was referring more to personally owned weapons (NFA and non-NFA), not his retail inventory. This is in Texas, by the way. Say tomorrow I got convicted of a felony. Would some LEO knock on my door and clean out my gun cabinet?
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Old June 11, 2013, 11:47 PM   #6
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Being a felon would not preclude one's spouse from owning a bunch of firearms, would it? Meaning if I were convicted of a crime couldn't I sell all my guns to my wife (if I had one)? I would think the only requirement would be I not possess them. Of course, I could completely misunderstand the law.
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Old June 12, 2013, 12:05 AM   #7
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Overhead you may be onto something there, but that is very similar to a straw sale in nature. It is so obvious in fact I'm sure there has to be some sort of exclusion.

But then again we have a lot of stupid loopholes in our laws. This would be interesting to know for sure.
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Old June 12, 2013, 12:14 AM   #8
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G. Gordon Liddy claimed Mrs. Liddy owned a number of firearms.
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Old June 12, 2013, 12:49 AM   #9
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The safest route would be to find a gun shop willing to take them on consignment. Otherwise, I'd hand them off to a relative to sell.

He could give them to a spouse, but he wouldn't want to be caught in possession of them.
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Old June 12, 2013, 03:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
G. Gordon Liddy claimed Mrs. Liddy owned a number of firearms.
...and she even kept a few on his side of the bed.
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Old June 12, 2013, 04:15 AM   #11
JimmyR
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Quote:
Being a felon would not preclude one's spouse from owning a bunch of firearms, would it? Meaning if I were convicted of a crime couldn't I sell all my guns to my wife (if I had one)? I would think the only requirement would be I not possess them. Of course, I could completely misunderstand the law.
From what I have seen, the courts have been interpreting "owning" as "having access to," although this has been mostly lower court ruling I have seen. There may be higher court rulings that agree/disagree, but I haven't seen them.
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Old June 12, 2013, 07:48 AM   #12
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Interesting. So if I have prescription pain pills with a prescription written to me and she were in the same house with the pills and technically had access to the pills (not locked up) could she be charged with possession of prescription drugs just for being in the same room with the pill bottle?

I don't know the answer to this question.
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Old June 12, 2013, 08:12 AM   #13
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Actually, "ownership" is not so much the issue as "possession." While the terms are often used interchangeably, they are actually separate issues. As was noted, California has squads that go around rounding up firearms from convicted felons. Most states do not, though. My best guess: when the conviction is entered, the judge (or the intake officer, or someone with a badge) tells the newly-minted felon, "If you've got guns, you need to call your wife, your buddy or your grandmama, and have that person go pack them out of the house, so that they're not there when you get back. If you give them to your wife, they'd better be in a safe, and you'd better not have the keys. We've seen that trick before."
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Old June 12, 2013, 08:57 AM   #14
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I tried to do a search on court cases but I came up empty, or course my law library is pretty much wikipedia so I could have missed it. I guess it gets even more complicated, I assume there is a federal statute and there also is probably a state statute and they maybe different. I don't have time to fall down the internet rabbit hole searching for this stuff today, maybe I will have time later tonight.
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Old June 12, 2013, 09:06 AM   #15
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In some jurisdictions, like Florida, you can be convicted of a felony but they withhold adjudication meaning you have the record and you receive a punishment but you don't loose your rights. This usually occurs for first offenses of non violent crimes. Maybe this guy has a similar conviction.
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Old June 12, 2013, 01:02 PM   #16
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In WA, if you are prohibited person, and spouse is not, they can own guns, and have them in the house with you. You cannot have "access" to them. This means the guns have to be secured (safe or locked storage), and you do not have the keys, or combination.

If the safe key is on the ring with the car keys, and hanging up, where anyone can grab them, you have "access", under the current view of the law.

G.Gordon Liddy can say, (and do) anything he wants, and I have no idea of the specifics of the law where he lives, but in WA, if Mrs Liddy "stored guns on his side of the bed" where he had access, then they would be breaking the law.
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Old June 12, 2013, 06:45 PM   #17
KyJim
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I'm not going to talk about any specific state or federal law. There are laws, however, that bar a felon from possessing a handgun and/or firearm of any type. Most jurisdictions also have a concept called constructive possession where a person is deemed to possess something while not in actual possession. Here is one definition I found that is pretty good:
Quote:
Constructive possession is a legal theory used to extend possession to situations where a person has no hands-on custody of an object. Most courts say that constructive possession, also sometimes called "possession in law," exists where a person has knowledge of an object plus the ability to control the object, even if the person has no physical contact with it (United States v. Derose, 74 F.3d 1177 [11th Cir. 1996]). For example, people often keep important papers and other valuable items in a bank safety deposit box. Although they do not have actual physical custody of these items, they do have knowledge of the items and the ability to exercise control over them. Thus, under the doctrine of constructive possession, they are still considered in possession of the contents of their safety deposit box. Constructive possession is frequently used in cases involving criminal possession.
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedicti...ive+Possession.

I am aware of persons convicted of constructive possession of drugs and, relative to the question posted, I am aware of persons convicted for felons being in possession of a handgun or firearm.

I don't care what G. Gordon Liddy says. A spouse's "possession" of a gun may be deemed to be in the constructive possession of the other spouse if the government can show access to it.
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Old June 12, 2013, 06:55 PM   #18
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyJim
...Most jurisdictions also have a concept called constructive possession where a person is deemed to possess something while not in actual possession...I am aware of persons convicted of constructive possession of drugs and, relative to the question posted, I am aware of persons convicted for felons being in possession of a handgun or firearm...
With regard to constructive possession of a gun by a prohibited person, when the Third Circuit (Pennsylvania) looked at the issue a while ago, it let stand an indictment for aiding and abetting the unlawful possession of a gun by a prohibited persons in a situation in which a gun owner had a cohabitant who was a prohibited person.

The point in that case, United States v. Huet, 665 F.3d 588 (3rd Cir., 2012), was that the gun the prohibited person was charged with possessing was not secured against the prohibited person's access, supporting both the prohibited person's conviction for unlawful possession of a gun and the indictment of his cohabitant. From the opinion (at pg. 593, emphasis added):
Quote:
...on June 6, 2008, a valid search warrant (the “search warrant”) was executed on the couple‟s Clarion County home. Agents seized an SKS, Interordnance M59/66 rifle (“SKS rifle”) from an upstairs bedroom.

Although Huet is legally permitted to possess a firearm, Hall was convicted in 1999 of possessing an unregistered firearm, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d), and is therefore prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm. After being informed of the raid, Huet allegedly told investigators that the guns in the house belonged to her and that it was not illegal for her to purchase weapons. Despite Huet‟s assertions that she alone possessed the SKS rifle, the Government sought and obtained an indictment charging Hall with illegal possession of the weapon, and Huet with aiding and abetting Hall‟s possession....
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Old June 12, 2013, 10:12 PM   #19
Paul B.
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"Say tomorrow I got convicted of a felony. Would some LEO knock on my door and clean out my gun cabinet?"

Yes and no. When my neighbor got convicted of a felony, I helped him and his son load them ito an unused freezer and then haul the freezer to a storage locker. While in the process of filling the freezer in such a manner that the firearms would not be damaged his probabtion officer and a bunch of sheriff's deputies showed up with the intention of confiscating the guns. They were told the guns had been sold to his son and were being removed from the premises. They even went to the storage place and had their own lock placed and kept the key. is son hunts and he couldn't even get to his own guns.
When my neighbor finished his sentence, I had the pleasure of helping him bring his guns home. Took a while as his P.O. couldn't seem to locate the key.
If the fellow mentioned by the OP committed a federal felony, then he has no recourse and will never legally be able to regain his personal firearms. The state may be forgiving the the federal government is not.
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Old June 12, 2013, 11:08 PM   #20
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul B.
...When my neighbor finished his sentence, I had the pleasure of helping him bring his guns home....
There's a disconnect here. Under federal law one is generally prohibited from possessing a gun whether he is convicted of a federal felony or a state felony. It's not enough that one has served out his sentence.

!8 USC 922(g)(1) defines a prohibited person to include anyone (emphasis added):
Quote:
who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;

18 USC 921(a)(20) provides:
Quote:
(20) The term “crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” does not include—
(A) any Federal or State offenses pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, restraints of trade, or other similar offenses relating to the regulation of business practices, or

(B) any State offense classified by the laws of the State as a misdemeanor and punishable by a term of imprisonment of two years or less.
What constitutes a conviction of such a crime shall be determined in accordance with the law of the jurisdiction in which the proceedings were held. Any conviction which has been expunged, or set aside or for which a person has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored shall not be considered a conviction for purposes of this chapter, unless such pardon, expungement, or restoration of civil rights expressly provides that the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms.
So unless your neighbor's conviction fell under the exceptions specified in 18 USC 921(a)(20)(A) and (B), or he went the extra step and got his conviction expunged, he would still be committing a federal crime by taking his guns back.
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Old June 19, 2013, 11:38 AM   #21
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I don't care what G. Gordon Liddy says. A spouse's "possession" of a gun may be deemed to be in the constructive possession of the other spouse if the government can show access to it.
I wonder how many folks found themselves in hot water by unquestioningly following his "example" without knowing the actual requirements.
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Old June 19, 2013, 01:14 PM   #22
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Upon conviction of a felony a person finds themself banned from owning or possesing a firearm under federal law, and most state laws as well. Will a policeman come and get your gun(s)? that depends on where you live and the attention to detail of the court. In many states the court, and the police will have no idea of what gun's you own. But in a state like california they will know everything about what gun you own. The sourt might (probably) will order you to dispose of what ever firearms you own, and are in possesion of. How you do this depends on the state laws. In NYC... a policeman will come and pick them up. My experience in Florida is they will allow an FFL to pick up the firearm(s). The further disposition of the guns is up to you... You can sell them through the FFL, give them away through the FFL, or abandon them to the FFL.
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Old June 19, 2013, 05:09 PM   #23
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"So unless your neighbor's conviction fell under the exceptions specified in 18 USC 921(a)(20)(A) and (B), or he went the extra step and got his conviction expunged, he would still be committing a federal crime by taking his guns back."

I asked him about that and he has a written court order restoring all his civil rights signed by the same judge who sentenced him. A call to the local BATFE office confirmed that if a judge restored his rights, he was OK. He even has a CCW permit now.
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Old June 19, 2013, 05:38 PM   #24
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@Frank, I'm guessing the assumed/inferred timeline is compressed relative to the actual timeline (ie the time elapsed between release from incarceration and the subsequent restoration of his firearms rights) is much greater than it might appear from the original wording.
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Old June 20, 2013, 12:29 AM   #25
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My nieghbors brother was convicted and sent to jail or prison. When he got out, he went to live with his sister, my nieghbor. Before his parole officer would lit him stay there my nieghbor had to store all his guns at my house until he left.
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