This is a question that arises quite frequently. “If my (husband / wife / boyfriend / girlfriend / parent / roommate) is a prohibited person does that mean I can’t have my legally owned firearms in my own home?”
The answer, as is often the case with legal questions, is complicated. Let’s start with a few basic facts:
- Prohibited persons who have not had their gun rights restored are prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.
- Possession can be either actual or constructive.
- Constructive possession “exists when a person does not have actual possession but instead knowingly has the power and the intention at a given time to exercise dominion and control over an object, either directly or through others” and may be evidenced by “[p]roof that the person has dominion over the premises where the firearm is located” U.S. v. Hadley, 431 F.3d 484, 507 (6th Cir. 2005)
- A non-prohibited person does not lose their right to possess firearms or ammunition simply because they choose to live with a prohibited person but they are potentially subject to prosecution for aiding and abetting the possession of the prohibited person if they do not properly store their items. United States v. Huet, 665 F.3d 588 (3d Cir. 2012)
So … if you, as a law-abiding gun owner, wish to share a residence with a convicted felon (or any other category of prohibited person) then you will need to take great care to insure that they cannot be held to have either actual or constructive possession of any firearm or ammunition.
by John Pierce