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Possession

Bremerton man faces prison sentence for wife’s guns

Luke T. Groves was convicted of a felony in 1990. In 2008, he called police after his home was broken into. His wife owns two guns (and owned them since before they were married, I understand) so the guy goes to prison for being a felon in possession of guns. 31 to 41 months.

This is brilliant:

During closing arguments, Deputy Prosecutor Giovanna Mosca painted a simple picture for jurors: Groves had the guns in his “dominion and control,” and that was enough for a conviction.

Mosca used a metaphor to make her case: When you rent a movie or check out a book from the library, “you don’t own it, but you possess it,” she said.

But Groves didn’t “rent” the guns or “check out” the guns, did he? His wife did.

I will admit that I guess I didn’t realize this worked like this. The comments are full of people saying things to the effect of “c’mon, everyone knows felons can’t have guns” and even some who defend him say “he didn’t hurt anyone, he only wanted to protect his family.” Neither of these have any bearing on the case.

What matters is if guns owned by his wife were “possessed” by him. Apparently, the fact that he knew where they were made a big difference. If she had hid the guns from him, would he still have been in possession of them?

It’s not said whether the guns were secured, only that he led police to them and that they were in the couple’s bedroom.

I certainly am in favor of making people follow the rules. If the rules are bad, get the rules changed. Don’t break them.

But I’m not sure I’m buying the idea that a man who committed a crime when he was 17 can marry a gun owner when he’s 31 and she has to get rid of her guns. If that’s accurate (and it apparently is) I think it needs to be looked at again.

The story is short on details that may affect my opinion. Besides not telling us how the guns were stored, it doesn’t tell us what plea bargain he turned down and what evidence he wanted to use that was not allowed.

They plan to appeal the ruling.

Comments

  • Bram says:

    It’s easier than finding and prosecuting actual criminals.

  • Dann says:

    A. So if someone slipped a gun into Deputy Prosecutor Giovanna Mosca’s brief case when she wasn’t could she be charged with illegally carrying a concealed weapon since it was “in her possession”?

    B. Does a spouse of family member lose their second amendment rights when residing with a felon?

  • [...] Man faces prison sentence for wife’s guns Jury rules that former felon “possesses” his wife’s guns. Prison for 31 to 41 months. [...]

  • Squidpuppy says:

    I don’t know what I’m talking about, but it seems to me that without mitigating clauses, for example restoration of rights upon certain conditions, environmental exigencies (Grizzlies in Alaska), and third party accommodations (like this), a blanket law just flat out violates the 2nd A. The argument essentially being, I guess, that committing a felony justifies being thrown out of civilized society.

    I’m not sure why this is okay to begin with. Not just the right to bear arms, but there’s a whole slew of “rights” they’re barred from. Over the past few years various states have started restoring some of these, like voting. But turning people into a rights-less class, how American is this, really?

    Punishing bad guys is one thing, and I’ve no truck with severe punishment for severe crime – make the punishment fit the crime I say; but if we want to retain, strengthen, and empower our fundamental rights, don’t they have to apply to everyone? I can see suspension of rights for bad behavior, while incarcerated, or for reasonable public safety, but shouldn’t there be a mechanism to rescind such suspensions?

  • [...] yesterday I posted a story about a Washington state ex-felon who is going to prison because his wife owns guns and he’s not allowed to “possess” [...]

  • drifter says:

    We don’t know all of the circumstances, but let’s look at an example. What if the wife collected guns, maybe even had a class 3 license, and the hubby gets out of jail and goes to live there. He “owns” none of the guns, but certainly is in “possession” if he knows where they are in the house. Do we want all crooks getting out of jail to have that kind of access? I think not. If he knows she has guns, she should keep them elsewhere (easy enough), or apply to have his rights restored, which he can do. (There is a mechanism to rescind such suspensions.) Until then, he should not have put himself in that situation. Next you will say that a child molester who gets out of prison and moves in with his wife who happens to own a house across the street from a school (where he is prohibited from being that close) is OK because she lived there already. It’s a circumstance he should have not allowed to happen.

  • [...] to prision for possessing guns after his home was broken into because his wife owned guns. As I wrote at the time: I’m not sure I’m buying the idea that a man who committed a crime when he was 17 can marry a [...]

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