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I am not a felon and own guns. Can a felon live with me if I keep the guns locked in a safe?

Redgranite, WI |

I own a couple handguns and a couple rifles. Me and a friend of mine who is a felon are looking for a house to rent. I was wondering if there would be any legal issues with me keeping the guns in a locked safe with him living in the same house if he had no access to them. Also would there be any legal issues with me shooting the guns on the property (target shooting and hunting) if he was not home at the time? If this would be an issue but me just having the guns isn't I would find somewhere else to shoot.

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Attorney answers 2


If the felon is in the same residence where there are guns he is deemed to be in possession and can be arrested and convicted.

Michael C. Witt

Michael C. Witt


It is certainly true that constructive possession could be a problem, but the norm in Chicago is not the norm out in the Wisconsin countryside. Gun possession is a highly regulated proposition in the City of Chicago. Many places in WI, guns are owned by more people than not. If the felon in question is still on legal status (probation or extended supervision) the question should be addressed to his p.o. before he moves in. If the person has completed their sentence, how cranked up the authorities are likely to get over the situation you describe will vary from place to place in Wisconsin. Milwaukee is more likely to take the Chicago approach than Spooner or Withee, unless of course the local Barney Fife has something against your friend. In the end, the risk of prosecution is the felon's risk, not yours. If he won't move in if the guns are there, you'll have to choose one or the other. If he's comfortable, based on local practice, with defending a State or federal felon in possession allegation on the facts you describe, it's his risk to take.


I disagree. The broadest definition of possession is probably the federal definition. If your friend can control the guns, then he's in possession of them. For example, if I have my friend hold onto a gun for me across town, I am still controlling it, even if I can't touch it. That's possession. But just being in the vicinity of a gun is not possessing it.
If you keep the guns locked up in the safe, and your friend can't access them or tell you what to do with them, there's no problem.
It is true that you friend takes a risk by living in a residence where there are firearms. If he is actually on probation or supervision, you may want to get the arrangement cleared with the probation agent before moving in together.

My answer to your question is based on the facts that you provide in your question. Additional factual details about your situation could change my answer completely. The law in inherently uncertain and always subject to change.

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