Can a convicted felon own a fake gun replica?
7 attorney answers
You would have a defense in the event of an arrest, but as mentioned already by other attorneys you could still find yourself in court, having to assert your innocence. Remember, someone could easily have both a real and replica firearm so as to point to the replica as a defense when they may have used the real one in a crime. Also, there's a safety issue. You should be very careful before thinking a replica firearm is good for your protection. What if someone thinks it's real? You've just brought a useless gun-shaped object to a gun fight.
Is spending a minimum of 3 years in prison an acceptable outcome to you? How about 15 years? It is a second degree felony for a convicted felon to just be in possession of a firearm. Why even take the slightest chance? Oh, that is right, because you are a gun enthusiast. A picture of you with a replica can create the probable cause necessary to file charges against you. We will just have to see whether there will be a bond and how much it will be, and then, of course, we can make a motion to dismiss the case and argue that in court. For your information, it will cost you many thousands of dollars to hire an attorney.
R. Jason de Groot, Esq. We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I make do not constitute legal advice. Any statements made by me are based upon the limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in Florida.
The exact conduct that you describe is permitted under federal law. 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3) defines the term "firearm" as "(A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; (C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or (D) any destructive device." If the shell of the firearm is filled with metal, it cannot, as you mentioned, be "readily" converted to "expel a projectile by the action of an explosive." - Joshua Sabert Lowther, Esq., Atlanta, GA.
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A firearm is defined by federal law as any weapon which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive. If your replica does not fit that definition, you may legally possess it. If you post photos of yourself with it, prepare for a search of your house as the authorities look for firearms. Bad idea all around.
This answer is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended as the practice of law in any jurisdiction in which I am not licensed. The answer does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The answer is based only on the information provided, and may be inaccurate in the context of additional facts that have not been provided. The questioner should be aware that I am only licensed to practice law in the state and federal courts of Minnesota. Accordingly, before taking any action or refraining from taking any action, the questioner should consult with an attorney licensed to practice in his or her jurisdiction.
If you enjoy spending thousands of dollars and arguing in court for hours (your attorney that is), when you have problems later, feel free. I would steer clear of any guns, particularly in photographs. If the guns don't work, why do you have them? Decoration? OK, what about photographs of guns, as opposed to the real thing? Why would someone be posing with guns "with the family?" I understand that many people enjoy guns - and there's nothing wrong with that. However, using guns as "decoration" and in family photos is not incredibly common. I agree, if the guns are props, replicas that cannot function, or the like - likely you are OK, under the law. However, you may find yourself having to defend yourself (or pay an attorney to) for charges and hoping that defense wins. Worse, if you are seen with a gun that is not obviously non-functioning, you may get hurt. Is that fair? No. However, what you suggest skirts the line awfully close, especially family photos. Try not to create photographic or video evidence of you with anything resembling guns. To me, this is a rather risky and I would suggest you steer away from this. Hope I have been helpful and best of luck to you.
All information is provided as general legal information; no attorney-client relationship exists.
If you take pictures with objects that appear to be working firearms, you're going to have a bad time. As for displaying non-working firearms in your house, you should consult a firearms attorney privately.