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What constitutes possession of a firearm?

springfield 1911

Founder's Club Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
484
Location
Racine, Wisconsin, USA
We all know that to possess a concealed weapon it has to be concealed , It has to be within reach and you have to know it's there.
Now lets remove concealed weapon , and replace it with felon, It's within reach and you know it's there.
Does this constitute felon in possession of a firearm? If not why not?
 

user

Accomplished Advocate
Joined
Feb 12, 2009
Messages
2,516
Location
Northern Piedmont
Caveat: I'm not an attorney in Wisconsin

But the standard language defining "possession" is "subject to the immediate dominion and control". In other words, it doesn't have to be "on" you, but close enough that you could lay hands on it and use it. "Close enough" is a sliding concept, depending on where you are. If you're by yourself, walking around in a shopping mall, it pretty much means "on" you. If you're in the basement of your house, the third-story bedroom might be "close enough". The issue is your ability to exercise "immediate dominion and control", not necessarily proximity.

There, is that clear as mud?
 

rcawdor57

Campaign Veteran
Joined
May 18, 2009
Messages
1,643
Location
Wisconsin, USA
I Would Have To Say "Nope"....

We all know that to possess a concealed weapon it has to be concealed , It has to be within reach and you have to know it's there.
Now lets remove concealed weapon , and replace it with felon, It's within reach and you know it's there.
Does this constitute felon in possession of a firearm? If not why not?

The felon would have to have "control" or "access" to the firearm. Let's say you have your 1911 on and a felon walks by you. It is still under your control, not his/her control so they are not in possession of it. Same goes for a dwelling, if the felon doesn't have control or access to it then the felon is not in possession. The same goes for the police: If an officer is near a felon is the felon in possession of the firearm? How about the long arm secured in the police vehicle when a felon is within reach of it?

This same question was asked by a female police officer (one of my neighbors) to the Chief of Police because her husband was a convicted felon. As long as her weapon(s) were on her or secured with no access by her husband her husband was not in possession.

Link which may help and also discusses how transport of a weapon is NOT "going armed": http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lc/publications/im/IM2011_10.pdf
 

grinner

Regular Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2010
Messages
101
Location
Pewaukee, WI
Quote directly from the notes of 941.29:

In this section, to possess means that the defendant knowingly has control of a firearm.

There is no minimum length of time the firearm must be possessed for a violation to occur. Intention in handling a firearm is irrelevant unless the handling is privileged under s. 939.45. State v. Black, 2001 WI 31, 242 Wis. 2d 126, 624 N.W.2d 363, 99−0230.

===

Now my editorial (non-lawyer) comments. To me, having control of something means being able to readily make the object do something that it otherwise wouldn't do on its own. Do I have control of my TV if I have the remote in my hand? Yes, because I can turn it on/off and change the channel. Do I have control of a gun sitting on a desk next to me? No. Because there's no way I can make it do something that it otherwise wouldn't do without taking some action that gives me actual control of it (such as picking it up). However, can control be indirect? I think so. If a gun is in a backpack, and I have control of the backpack, and I can move the gun around by moving the backpack around, then I would say I have control of the gun via the backpack. So just because you're not touching the gun doesn't mean you don't have control of it. The statute doesn't say touch. It says control.

You may wish to read the notes in the statute yourself. Just google 941.29 Possession of a Firearm and look in the official PDF.
 

Motofixxer

Regular Member
Joined
May 14, 2010
Messages
968
Location
Somewhere over the Rainbow
I believe if it's locked up in some way and key is not accessible, it's not considered in possession by a felon, but much of that is grey area. It's also dependent on the PO and the house rules. I know of one felon who has it in his signed house rules that there can be no firearms or alcohol on the premises at all, NONE. He was told by his PO...I can't control what anyone else does on your property...but I can control you. So therefore...if his PO finds out about anything there...instantly back to prison without passing GO.
 
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