Wisconsin Court: Ban on Felons having Guns Constitutional


The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has upheld the state's ban on felons having guns, even in cases in which a person was convicted of a nonviolent act.

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports that court ruled such a ban is constitutional because it is "substantially related to the important governmental objective of enhancing public safety."

The ruling pointed out that no court has ever struck down state or federal bans, and that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals "recently held that it is constitutional to categorically ban felons from possession guns."

The ruling stems from the case of Thomas Pocian, who was convicted of three felonies for check forgery when he was a teenager in 1986. He was sentenced to three years of probation.

In 2008 he was caught hunting with his father's gun and was charged under the statute banning felons from handling weapons. The charge carries up to 10 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine.

Pocian's attorney argued that the charge should be thrown out because the law is too broad and unconstitutional. A lower court judge refused, and the appeals court upheld that decision.

"There is a serious flaw in the statute," Pocian's attorney Craig Powell said. "There ought to be a mechanism by which someone in Mr. Pocian's position, a nonviolent person with a nonviolent crime, ought to be able to exercise his fundamental right."

It is not clear if Pocian will appeal the latest ruling.


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