By Rudy Serra
Q: I have an old felony conviction for fraud and I was recently warned that the law about felons possessing guns has changed? Are there any changes I should know about?
A: Yes. As a general rule, a person who is convicted of a felony cannot possess a firearm in Michigan.
In May 2014, the law was changed. People who are less than three years past the completion of all terms of their sentence, parole or probation can no longer possess “ammunition” in Michigan. Previously the ban only applied to a firearm. For certain “specified felonies” the ban extends for five years.
“Ammunition” is defined as “any projectile that, in its current state, may be propelled from a firearm by an explo- sive.” The “purchase” of ammunition is not forbidden to a convicted felon under the law. Under the amended law, a convicted felon could theoretically place and pay for an order of ammunition, but it would have to be intended for the use of another, and sent or delivered to that third party rather than the purchaser. Home delivery of a box of buckshot to a convicted felon would be a crime for that convicted felon. The person making delivery could also face charges.
In addition, people with felony records need to know that the prosecutor does not have to prove that a gun operates in order to convict a felon of being in possession. The judge decides if the prior conviction was really a felony but the jury decides if the accused person was actually convicted of that felony.
Other changes in the law allowing restoration of the right to have a weapon take effect December 1, 2015. A person who has passed more than five years after successful completion of their n sentence can apply to get their right to carry a weapon restored under section 28.424 of Michigan’s compiled laws.
The application is made to the Circuit Court. The judge has to decide by clear a and convincing evidence that the applicant’s “record and are such that the person is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to the safety of other persons.” The judge also has to find that the person had paid all fines, completed all imprisonment and all terms of probation or parole. Failure to meet any condition requires denial of the application. A person cannot apply again until a year has passed from the denial of any application.
Judge Rudy Reports” is a regular feature in Ferndale Friends. This “ask the lawyer” format column welcomes questions from readers. If you have a legal question or concern, send your question e by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advice about specific cases or individuals cannot be provided, but general legal questions and topics are welcome.
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