Most people agree that keeping weapons out of the hands of hardened criminals is a good thing (I certainly do!). For this reason, lots of states have laws on the books which prevent convicted felons from possessing or owning a firearm. However, a case that is currently pending in Wisconsin reveals the problems that these types of broad statutory prohibitions can create.
A 44 year old Wisconsin man, who was convicted more than 25 years ago for the felony crime of forging checks, was recently arrested for the crime of being a felon in possession of a firearm because he used his dad’s hunting rifle to shoot a couple of deer. This, in spite of the fact that he is clearly not a violent offender and has no history of violent acts. The case has been upheld at several levels, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court could still rule in his favor and in the process strike down this unnecessary restriction.
I’m all for keeping us safe by limiting criminals’ access to firearms, but I think this is the kind of case that merits special consideration, and I wish this man the best of luck in his case.