If my brother-in-law is a felon and living with my husband and I, are we allowed to have our guns since he has no access to them at all?

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If my brother-in-law is a felon and living with my husband and I, are we allowed to have our guns since he has no access to them at all?

We have guns in the house but they are in our bedroom which has a dead bolt on it. The bedroom is locked at all times.

Asked on December 12, 2012 under Criminal Law, Indiana

Answers:

David West / West & Corvelli

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Well there are two answers to your question - first, of course you and your husband are permitted to own, possess and store firearms in your home.  That is the right of all citizens in this country unless that right has been taken away.  Your brother-in-law on the other hand is not allowed to have a firearm and is not supposed to even be around guns.  This, unfortunately, includes living where firearms are kept.  While I personally agree with you that since the guns are locked up, the law should not apply to them - in most cases it would.  If his probation officer or police were to discover that he was living in a home where weapons are located (locked up or not), he would be subject to arrest for Possession of a Firearm By a Convicted Felon.  While a good criminal defense lawyer like myself might ultimately be able to convince a prosecutor or judge that he really wasn't in possession of them (which they may or may not agree with) the risk is still there that the police would likely arrest him.

Furthermore, if he is on probation, most probation officers have probationers sign forms indicating that they understand they are not to reside in a home where firearms are present.  This exposes him to trouble with probation as well.

If you want to guarantee that your brother-in-law doesn't get arrested, you need to get rid of the guns.  But if you are going to take the risk, then be prepared for the possibilty that he may need a good criminal defense lawyer in the future if they find out about the guns.  And in Georgia, this offense can land you in jail for five (5) years as a new felony charge so it isn't to be taken lightly.

Best Regards,

David S. West

Attorney at Law

David West / David West & Associates

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Well there are two answers to your question - first, of course you and your husband are permitted to own, possess and store firearms in your home.  That is the right of all citizens in this country unless that right has been taken away.  Your brother-in-law on the other hand is not allowed to have a firearm and is not supposed to even be around guns.  This, unfortunately, includes living where firearms are kept.  While I personally agree with you that since the guns are locked up, the law should not apply to them - in most cases it would.  If his probation officer or police were to discover that he was living in a home where weapons are located (locked up or not), he would be subject to arrest for Possession of a Firearm By a Convicted Felon.  While a good criminal defense lawyer like myself might ultimately be able to convince a prosecutor or judge that he really wasn't in possession of them (which they may or may not agree with) the risk is still there that the police would likely arrest him.

Furthermore, if he is on probation, most probation officers have probationers sign forms indicating that they understand they are not to reside in a home where firearms are present.  This exposes him to trouble with probation as well.

If you want to guarantee that your brother-in-law doesn't get arrested, you need to get rid of the guns.  But if you are going to take the risk, then be prepared for the possibilty that he may need a good criminal defense lawyer in the future if they find out about the guns.  And in Georgia, this offense can land you in jail for five (5) years as a new felony charge so it isn't to be taken lightly.

Best Regards,

David S. West

Attorney at Law


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