I was convicted of a white collar federal felony three years ago, and fully understand that I am not allowed to ever own a gun. I would like to know if as a felon I could have professional armed bodyguards that I pay to protect me? These bodyguards would all be ex military staff.
Federal Crime Lawyer
18 USC Section 922(g)(1) does not prohibit your hiring armed bodyguards to protect yourself; however, if you are ever able to "exercise dominion or control" over their firearms or ammunition, you would be in violation of that statute under a "constructive possession" theory.
Joshua Sabert Lowther, Esq.
NATIONAL FEDERAL DEFENSE GROUP
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No you cannot. I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Lowther. While 922(g) does not prohibit you from doing so, 18 USC sec. 922(h) does. Section 922(h) provides:
(h) It shall be unlawful for any individual, who to that individual's knowledge and while being employed for any person described in any paragraph of subsection (g) of this section [including felons], in the course of such employment—
(1) to receive, possess, or transport any firearm or ammunition in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce; or
(2) to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.
And at least one federal court has held that the Second Amendment does not protect carrying arms while employed by a felon, and that conspiracy charges can result for all involved in doing so. See, United States v. Weaver, No. 09-00222, 2012 WL 727488, at *4 n.7 (S.D. W. Va. Mar. 6, 2012).
That being said, there may be other options for you to obtain armed security. But you would need to speak with an attorney who is well versed in federal and state firearm laws before doing so. Before you take the step of hiring armed security, meet with an attorney who can explain your options and any risk. Firearms can mean big trouble for a convicted felon. Do not play that game.
Michel & Associates, PC
All my comments here are intended for general legal purposes. None of my comments here establish an attorney-client relationship with anyone. None of my comments should be relied on in taking legal action without first consulting an attorney.
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Federal Crime Lawyer
You should most certainly consult with counsel before hiring armed security guards for the reasons specified by the other commenters. In discussing the matter with counsel, I would suggest that you have the attorney write to the ATF and explain what you intend on doing. In many instances, the ATF will provide an opinion letter concerning the propriety of a felon's dealings with firearms. In a situation like this, it never hurts to cover yourself as much as possible.
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