When one is convicted of a felony, he or she is stripped of the right to possess a firearm. However, does that mean others in the felon’s life forfeit that right as well? The answer is not quite black and white, and thus discussing one’s unique situation with a Miami gun law attorney is essential before bringing a gun into the same residence in which a felon resides. In the meantime, our attorneys are shedding some light on the matter below.
What the Law Says
Florida gun law does not specifically provide an answer for whether spouses of felons may possess guns. That said, assuming the individual is not otherwise prohibited from purchasing a gun, he or she would be afforded that right by the second amendment just as any other law abiding citizen. However, having that right does not necessarily mean he or she will not have legal hoops to jump through. The spouse who owns the gun will need to take special precautions in order to avoid facing criminal charges related to the firearm’s presence in the home — and even then, such charges may not be completely avoidable.
Legal Issues That May Arise
The biggest concern for the spouse of a felon who intends to purchase a firearm is the likelihood that their partner may be charged with constructive possession. As previously stated, felons are not legally allowed to possess firearms. Unfortunately, the legal definition of “possession” is not as concrete as one might hope. Essentially, the gun would be considered to be in the felon’s possession if he or she were deemed able to access it, which is ultimately up to the court to decide. While there are steps the gun owner can take to prevent the court from coming to the conclusion that the felon had access to the gun, there is no guarantee on how a judge would rule if presented with the issue. Furthermore, if the felon in the home is charged with constructive possession or even found to have actually possessed the weapon, the spouse who legally owned the gun could also face aiding and abetting charges for allowing access to occur.
Navigating Gun Ownership When Married to a Felon
There are some steps one can take in an effort to avoid legal issues, such as locking up the gun and ensuring only the legal owner has access to the key. Ammunition and empty cases should be locked up as well. However, even after one has taken these steps, the potential for being charged with constructive possession is still present. Ultimately, one will need to weigh the pros and cons of the situation to determine whether having a firearm in the home is worth the legal risks it poses. If the answer is “no,” he or she may wish to explore alternative forms of protection.
If you are considering purchasing a firearm and share a home with a convicted felon, it is advisable to first consult a Miami gun law attorney. This will ensure you are informed about your rights, as well as the restrictions of those rights, before you or your spouse are met with criminal charges due to ignorance. On the other hand, if you have already found yourself in such a position, our team is here to help you seek justice. Schedule a free consultation today to get case-specific advice from our legal professionals.