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Firearms Owner Living With a Convicted Felon

February 15, 2010 Federal Firearms Laws, Legal Issues, State Firearms Laws No Comments

Question:  Can a husband legally own a firearm in their home if it is locked in a safe that the spouse doesn’t have the combination to?  The wife is a convicted felon in Colorado.

Answer: In order to receive a truly authoritative answer, you should contact a licensed attorney in Colorado and seek legal advice.  In order to try and help you out, I will give you my informed opinion.

If the firearms are stored in such a way that the convicted felon has absolutely no access, most jurisdictions agree that this is acceptable.  The question becomes more murky if there is any possibility of access at all.

Let’s say that you have the guns in a safe and the wife does not know the combination.  That should be OK.  Now let’s say that you have the combination recorded in a computerized address book and that your wife has access to the computer.  Now there is a case that could be made for what is referred to as ‘constructive possession’ on the part of the wife since she has the means to open the safe and get the guns.  From a legal standpoint, that could cause both you and your wife a problem.

You can solve the problem by either not writing down the combination or by putting the combination somewhere where the wife has absolutely no access to it…

I would also suggest that you consider looking into the process of expunging or ‘setting aside’ the conviction as soon as it might be possible to do that.  That would restore your wife’s citizenship rights and rights to own a firearm making this entire problem go away.  Most states have a process to expunge a conviction as long as the felony was not a violent one or as long as the felony was not ‘sex crime related’.

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