Can You Own a Firearm If Your Spouse is a Convicted Felon?
You’ve fallen in love with someone who has a past, but that doesn’t matter to you. They’re a good person who did something wrong and did their time. Now you’re trying to move on and build a future together, but there’s an issue. Because of their criminal charge, there are some things they can’t do. Owning a firearm is one of them.
As reported by CBS News, approximately 40.7% of adults in Pennsylvania own a firearm so it’s likely that some convicted felons are going to marry someone who owns one. How does that work out? Is a convicted felon’s spouse allowed to own a firearm? What happens if they do? The weapons charges attorneys at Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam explain.
Can You Be Married to a Convicted Felon and Own a Firearm?
To be clear, there are no rules that prohibit the spouse of a convicted felon from owning a firearm. Being married to someone who committed a crime does not mean you should or can be punished by the law for doing so. Even if you were married to someone while they committed a crime, there is no law that says that you are guilty of their crimes.
The question then becomes if a convicted felon is allowed to be married to someone with a firearm. There is no law that specifically prohibits a relationship with someone who owns a firearm. A convicted felon can associate and be in the presence of someone who owns a firearm, but they cannot knowingly be in the presence of it. The only exception is if the convicted felon is somehow the victim of someone with a firearm. There is no crime for being a victim.
This means if they marry, date, or are even friends with someone who owns and carries a firearm, they can be punished for illegal possession of one just for knowing of its existence. So you can own a firearm if you’re married to a convicted felon, but unless you live in different homes entirely, firearms cannot physically be in your home. If you want to live with your spouse without the risk of them going to prison, you need to remove your firearms from your home. Living in separate rooms or having it under lock and key is not enough. Convicted felons cannot be in the same residential property as a firearm.
What Are the Consequences?
If a convicted felon is found to have access to a firearm, they have committed a serious felony: illegal possession of a firearm. It doesn’t matter if it’s their spouse or a friend who owns it. If they have access to it, even if it was not on their person or concealed, they can receive a $25,000 fine with up to 10 years in prison. That’s a hefty punishment to receive just because your spouse owns a gun.
What Crimes Prevent Someone From Owning a Firearm?
Not every criminal charge prevents someone from owning a firearm. You must be found guilty of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor to be barred from being in the presence of a firearm. A convicted felon, by definition of someone who has committed a felony, meets this criterion.
Pennsylvania is more specific and arguably stricter about who cannot own firearms. When someone is convicted of these crimes, they cannot own a firearm:
- Organized crime
- Possessing a weapon on school property
- Manslaughter that involved the use of a firearm
- Assault as a prisoner
- Luring a child into a motor vehicle
- Burglary, and other forms of felony theft
- Receiving stolen property
- Theft of a motor vehicle
- Impersonating a law enforcement officer
- Rape, involuntary intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, and other forms of sexual assault
- Unlawful restraint
- Escaping from prison or jail
- Paramilitary training
- Criminal Trespass
- Corruption of minors
- Possession, using, making, repairing, selling, or otherwise dealing with offensive firearms. Offensive firearms include machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, firearms with silencers, and stun guns.
Contact the Weapon Charges Attorneys at MVSK Law
Firearms are designed to hurt people, so laws and crimes involving them are taken to a degree more serious than most. If you or your spouse has been charged with a weapon charge, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. If you or they are convicted felons, the courts can be merciless. Contact the weapons charge attorneys at MVSK Law today.