Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Convicted Felons Challenging Gun Laws

Ever since the United States Supreme Court struck down the Washington, D.C. law prohibiting the ownership of firearms, criminal defense attorneys are mounting challenges to Federal laws which prohibit convicted felons from possessing firearms. Many defendants who have previously been convicted of felonies and are now charged with possession of firearms are arguing that last month's Supreme Court decision gives them the right to own firearms for protection in their homes. Challenges such as these are a sign that legal challenges to laws prohibiting the possession of firearms will continue to increase as criminal defense attorneys start to explore the boundaries of the Supreme Court's decision. People on both sides of the issue expect many attacks on state and federal gun laws in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision. What will happen to attempts by cities to prohibit gun ownership in public housing projects? Why would someone be deemed to be untrustworthy of owning a gun just because they live in a public housing project? While a law prohibiting a person convicted of a violent felony from owning a firearm will probably not be struck down, what will happen to an individual charged with a non-violent felony? And what about the 50 or 60 year old individual convicted of stealing a car when they were a teenager? Why should they not be allowed to own a firearm? In the fall, the Supreme Court may address this issue. There is a case on the Court's fall docket, People v. Hayes, in which the Defendant, Randy Hayes, was convicted of possessing a firearm as a felon based on a 1994 conviction for a Domestic Battery in which he received one year of probation. The Supreme Court will decide whether the 1994 Domestic Battery conviction could serve as a bases for denying Randy Hayes the right to own a firearm.

The Supreme Court has opened the door to numerous legal challenges which will call into question gun laws throughout the United States. Some cases are simple, but some are more complicated and will be the subject of interesting arguments which will change our gun laws.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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