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Man Charged with Illegal Possession of Firearm Due to Prior Domestic Violence Conviction

Posted by William Bly | Sep 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

A Maine man was arrested for possession of a firearm – something he was prohibited from having because of a prior domestic violence conviction. The judge then denied bail at his subsequent arraignment.

Both of these developments are common for people who have been convicted of a crime of domestic violence in the past.

Arrest for Possession of a Firearm Based on Prior Domestic Violence Conviction

A 37-year-old resident of Bangor was arrested recently for possessing a firearm. While this would normally be a standard exercise of someone's Second Amendment rights, this particular person had been convicted of domestic violence in the recent past.

Police had received a tip that the suspect had a weapon. Because of his prior domestic violence conviction, police responded to the scene with a search warrant. When they found a gun, they made the arrest on a weapons charge.

Another charge was filed against the suspect for domestic violence terrorizing based on statements made to police during the investigation – possibly at the same time as the tip was reported.

Tips Can Close the “Relinquishment Gap”

We've covered the so-called “Relinquishment Gap” before. A federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), makes it illegal for people to possess a firearm if:

  1. they were found to present a credible threat to an intimate partner at a court hearing, and
  2. the court issued a restraining order against them.

While the federal law makes it illegal for these people to have a gun, it does not say what would happen with guns already in their possession. In theory, it is up to states to get these people to relinquish their weapons, but many states do not have a process in place.

Lawmakers, particularly in states like Maine, do not want to be associated with a law that could be seen as taking away someone's guns. Nonetheless, in Maine, police can arrest someone for illegal possession of a firearm if they see the person in possession of the weapon. However, the police will hardly ever go looking for the weapon. Therein lies a gap in the law: the police do not usually proactively look for a weapon.

The gap in law enforcement that this creates can be closed, though, if someone notifies police that a person with a prior conviction for domestic violence has a gun. That seems to be what happened in this case.

No Bail Issued in Weapons Charge

To add to the problems the defendant faces, the judge refused to grant him bail while his case awaits trial. The denial of bail is not uncommon in these types of domestic violence situations where a weapon is involved. In many cases, judges err on the side of extreme caution.

Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers at WTB Law

People who have been accused and convicted of domestic violence in the past face an uphill struggle for the rest of their lives. Police and the court system see them as a threat to other people and take measures to insulate themselves from even the perception of leniency.

Defending against a domestic violence accusation is absolutely essential if you want to avoid these long-term repercussions. Call the criminal defense lawyers at WTB Law at (207) 571-8146 or contact us online if you have been arrested in Portland, Saco, Biddeford, or the surrounding region.

About the Author

William Bly

William T. Bly, Esq. is a graduate of Rutgers College where he majored in Political Science with a minor in U.S. History. Attorney Bly attended and graduated the University of Maine School of Law. During his time in law school, Attorney Bly focused on criminal defense.

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