Supreme Court Says Convicted Felons Can Sell Their Guns

Supreme Court Says Convicted Felons Can Sell Their Guns
Gun Kenneth Lu/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

The U.S Supreme Court has given a verdict that now allows criminals to sell their arms if convicted of felony as long as it has has nothing to do with their weapons and if they no longer use their firearms.


Justice Elena Kagan decided on the possession right of firearm of a felony when the matter of Tony Henderson came into the court. Henderson was arrested on marijuana distribution charges. He was later convicted but according to under section 18 U.S.C. §922(g), a convicted criminal won’t have the right to possess a weapon, and in that case, the convict requested the FBI to transfer ownership of his gun to his friend. But the FBI refused, claiming he might have access to his gun from his friend.

“It allows the government to use a statute that bars possession of firearms to dispense with formal forfeiture procedures and effectively strips citizens of their entire ownership interest in what are often significant household assets even when their convictions have nothing to do with those assets,” wrote Henderson’s lawyer John P. Elwood.

Justice Elena Kagan argued that a keeping away a felon from is firearm does not cut him the right to transfer his weapon to anyone with guarantee that he does not get hold of it in the future.

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Citing Henderson’s example, Kagan said that a criminal has nothing to do with his firearm except selecting the new owner. “The felon has nothing to do with his guns before, during, or after the transaction in question, except to nominate their recipient.”

“Such a felon exercises not a possessory interest (whether directly or through another), but instead a naked right of alienation—the capacity to sell or transfer his guns, unaccompanied by any control over them,” she said.

In order to avoid law violation, the Court could “seek proper assurances” from the third party with a promise that the arm shall never be handed over to the felon in any case.