Gunshow Lawyer – Family Problems

By K. L. Jamison


Every family has it’s black sheep. The spouse who did something stupid in his youth, a mental health history, a misdemeanor domestic violence claim that was easy to plead out and became a bar to gun ownership years later. Years after that; the courts ruled that this was not an ex-post facto law.

Under federal law, a prohibited person may possess muzzle-loading guns designed before 1898. This would not allow possession of a modern designs such as in-line muzzleloaders. However, this is federal law. Many states consider muzzleloaders to be the same as modern arms. A New Jersey collector was stopped with a new acquisition: a 200 year-old flintlock. He was arrested for unlicensed possession of a firearm. He was pardoned by Governor Christie, but the law remains.

When a family member is a prohibited person, he or she cannot have access to firearms, ammunition or a bullet-proof vest. An ex-convict in Iowa found a .22 bullet in his new apartment. He tossed the bullet into an ashtray and moved on with his life. The police appeared one day and of all the objects in the apartment, noticed the bullet. He received eighteen years in prison.

The key word is access. If the person knows where the gun, ammunition or bullet-proof vest is and can get to the object, he has committed
2 a federal crime. In one case an ex-convict was acquitted of having access to the gun in his wife’s purse. This appears to have been on the theory that no man knows what is in his wife’s purse.

If a family member cannot have access to firearms and ammunition, this requires precautions. Guns and ammunition and a bullet-proof vest if any, must be locked up. Nothing belonging to the prohibited person must be stored in the safe. No fingerprints or DNA of the prohibited person must touch the interior. This should prevent problems. There was a recent trial in New Jersey which found that a husband could not possess firearms because his wife had a record for domestic abuse. Even though the guns were locked in safes, the judge ruled that the wife had access. This is the funhouse mirror that is New Jersey gun law. We can hope that it will be successfully appealed.

Kevin L. Jamison is an attorney in the Kansas City Missouri area concentrating in the area of weapons and self-defense. Please send questions to Kevin L. Jamison 2614 NE 56th Ter Gladstone Missouri 64119-2311 Individual answers are not usually possible but may be addressed in future columns.

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