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Court Ruling on Felons and Guns

Eugene Volokh takes a look at a case in District Court in South Dakota, now on appeal, which essentially rules that you can’t have a felon in your home if the felon could possibly know where your gun is and have access to it. Based on the circumstances of the case, the man in question did indeed facilitate a felon having possession of a firearm, but it’s in the jury instructions that the District Court makes this very hazardous:

So if you have house-guests that you have “reasonable cause to believe” have a felony conviction, or have once been in a mental hospital, or are nonresident aliens (even if legal aliens), and they see where your gun is, you might well be guilty of a federal felony on the theory of this case.

And under this standard, how many out there among us are felons? I’ve had non-resident aliens over, I’m pretty sure. I generally don’t leave guns laying around the house when guests are over, but I could easily see an antique 1911 in a shadow box, or a rifle hung over a fireplace triggering this standard. Remember folks, they are less regulated than teddy bears.

8 Responses to “Court Ruling on Felons and Guns”

  1. terraformer says:

    This is related to the Huet case in the 3rd circuit and there the situation is better but not great. They are basically trying to make the mere possession of a firearm enough to be furnishing. This is something we are used to in MA but to see it happening in places like PA and SD is disconcerting.

  2. dustydog says:

    Guard Eric Holder, or almost any member of the Cabinet, or almost any member of the US Senate, become a felon.

    Holder, Sebellius, etc – objective felons. A federal agent who wears a firearm openly is clearly violating the law.

  3. Bubblehead Les says:

    So I hire a Painting Company though Angie’s List to repaint the Interior of my House. The Company has some guy who was a Convicted Felon, and now is trying to get his life turned around. They see the 12 Gauge I have in the Bedroom closet (in it’s Locked Rig of course), and they ask me to move it so they can Paint it, and I put it in the Gun Safe. That’s a Federal Offense?

    • Sebastian says:

      You’d have to know they were a felon.

      • Zermoid says:

        No, you don’t have to “Know” you only need to be accused of “reasonable cause to believe”, which makes it even more dangerous and hard to defend from the accusation of.

  4. Zermoid says:

    I guess I’m now a felon too, talked to the wife and she reminded me (I’d forgot about it) a friend of ours was in a mental hospital, hell, come to think of it I’ve been a felon under that interpretation since I was 17, when my Mom was in a mental hospital, and I lived at home and had a shotgun and 22 rifle!

    We’s all goin’ ta Jail!

  5. Highland says:

    This decision is stupid, if we as a society feel a person is safe to walk the streets then that person should have all of their inalienable rights restored to them.

  6. Alre says:

    Mar 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    This decision is stupid, if we as a society feel a person is safe to walk the streets then that person should have all of their inalienable rights restored to them.

    You got that right. But, don’t forget that we have a Dictatorship here and not a Republic. If we unite as citizens we can run off these damn beasts from Congress and from the State Houses who are oppressing us.

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