Is it illegal to be in the presence of an illegal firearm

Discussion in 'Legal' started by tcoz, Dec 31, 2015.

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  1. tcoz

    tcoz Member

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    I have a quick question that I'm sure has been asked here before but I searched and was unable to find an answer...

    Am I in violation of the law if I'm in the presence of an individual who possesses and is shooting an illegal firearm such as an SBR without the required permit, even if I'm not shooting or handling it myself?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. rondog

    rondog Member

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    IMO, I don't see how you could be, as long as you're not in possession of it or using it. But who knows in this day and age.....

    And it might depend on what "in the presence of" means too. Next to him at the range? Or riding in the same vehicle?
     
  3. tcoz

    tcoz Member

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    That's my concern. We won't be in the same vehicle, but we'll be together at the public range. Everyone present can't be held in violation of the law but I'll actually be "with" him.
     
  4. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    Depending on the circumstances, you may be "acting in concert" with him. In other words, being with someone committing a crime may be conceived as your also committing the crime.

    Fine line I'll leave for the legal experts.
     
  5. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Member

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    Why would you knowingly put yourself in such a situation?
     
  6. Ryanxia

    Ryanxia Member

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    Because this is America where every man can live his own life. If your buddy wants to break a law that doesn't harm anyone that's not up to you to stop him. It would be like saying, why would you knowingly walk with someone who is walking outside the crosswalk, thus breaking the law by jaywalking? Well personally, that's his choice and I'll still walk with him.

    And to the OP's question, I would also agree that you're all set but like has been pointed out, getting into the same vehicle might be getting pretty close to the line.
     
  7. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

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    The OP didn't ask if he should STOP his friend. Only if he should avoid going to the range with him if he's bringing an unregistered NFA firearm.

    I assume you didn't mean to say that if your pal is going to jay walk that's his choice and you'll still jaywalk with him?

    It may be unlikely that if your pal is arrested with his unregistered gun that you would also be arrested but remember, if it is unregistered then there is no paperwork to show who that gun belongs to. All they have to go on is that they've found two guys in possession of that firearm. I wouldn't want to be in that situation at all.
     
  8. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

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    Nice choice. While the "Fudd" wouldn't be the one with arrest powers, the guy he calls after your your little bit of diplomacy there probably will be.

    And then you'd get to discover that when NFA items are made, registration is the law of the entire land.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  9. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    Personally, I wouldn't put myself in the position to be accused of breaking a law like the NFA, but I have a severe allergy to felonies and prison orange just isn't my color.
     
  10. BSA1

    BSA1 member

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    You are knowingly and willingly accompanying a individual who you know before hand has a illegal firearm and remaining in his presence while he is shooting the illegal gun committing Federal and State felony crimes.

    Then to compound the issue you are doing so in public where witnesses can see you not only be with the offender but meeting, talking, interacting and coming and going with him.

    And your defense is "I didn't touch the gun"?.

    Especially with the recent terrorist attack in California and the arrest of two suspected terrorists trying to enter the country from Mexico earlier this week?

    How well do you think this defense will work if you know your "friend" has illegal drugs on him, or in his range bag with his ammunition or his nearby car?
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  11. jrdolall

    jrdolall Member

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    I am sure Frank will sort it out.

    Gun laws are more confusing than most laws but I think you will, at the very least, have to deal with a lawyer. If you knowingly get in a car with a person in possession of illegal drugs then you may not stay in jail but you probably will GO to jail.
     
  12. rtroha

    rtroha Member

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    Is such a violation a felony? Here in Ohio we have the following:

    http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2921.22

    Does South Carolina have anything similar?
     
  13. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    Perhaps more importantly:
     
  14. danez71

    danez71 Member

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    OP, Why would think that this is ok?



    Now it sounds like you're trying to convince people that you're only his 'look out guy' or something (acting in concert, aiding and abetting in the commission of a felony) and not actually operating or in possession of the illegal SBR.

    I wonder how much $ you spent in court to get to that point? :banghead:
     
  15. HRnightmare

    HRnightmare Member

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    It is one thing to accidentally find yourself in the situation but given you are aware of it a head of time I would think that could potentially add some "responsibility" to it.

    I think you would be hard pressed to find a jury to find you guilty had you not known, but statements showing you may have known and still got in the presence of the action probably would not lend to your credibility.

    Your find if he is doing what you say is committing Federal Felonies at a time when the administration really wants to make examples out of people to prove a point.

    Your friend is willing to risk giving up his right to ever own firearms again and maybe a decade in prison because of a few inches off of his barrel? and you want risk being around him when he does it? You may not be convicted but there is a real possibility you get arrested until it all gets sorted out.

    Bottom line IMO is you need to do the right thing as a friend and steer him right or if he cannot be steered stay far far away.
     
  16. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    I read and agreed with most that thought this might not be the best idea a fellow could have...

    Here's a few practical observations from years on the street.... Anytime I found a group with something illegal going on... it rarely took much persuasion before everyone began pointing their fingers at the other guy.... (I've even seen brothers do this when the deal goes down and they know someone is going to jail for it...).

    Next if you're on a decent basis with your attorney - I'm sure he/she would much rather counsel you on how to avoid stuff that might not work out well for you - before it's one of those late night phone calls where your lawyer then has to get you out of jail before doing anything else....

    Lastly, over the years I've found I'm much less up for adventure than I was as a young man... but that's another one of those "ask me how I know" propositions. Getting arrested isn't nearly as much fun as you might think (and to this day, like most former cops, I can still remember the terrible sound of those sally ports clanging down behind me when bringing a prisoner into the jail - and I was only visiting....).
     
  17. newfalguy101

    newfalguy101 Member

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    I would put this in the category of:

    If in doubt, don't.

    Were it me, I would request my buddy leave the SBR at home. If your buddy is ANY kind of friend, it wont be an issue, if on the other hand, he refuses..........you might want to ask yourself if YOU should be hanging out with him at all.
     
  18. yugorpk

    yugorpk member

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    I knew a guy who took a friend shooting. The friend had two illegal machineguns with him. On the way back from the range the driver got pulled over. Cops found the guns. The guy who owned the guns got a year and a half. The driver got a day under a year.
     
  19. Blackbeard

    Blackbeard Member

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    In the presence of -- no, not that I know of. In possession of -- yes absolutely. Now, what constitutes possession? That's a question for very expensive lawyers. Sometimes being in the same car with contraband means everyone in the car is in possession of the item.

    You could argue that you didn't know the gun was illegal since it's not your gun and you didn't measure the barrel length (although you posted here that you think it is). But do you really want to fight that battle?
     
  20. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    lemaymiami said: "Lastly, over the years I've found I'm much less up for adventure than I was as a young man... but that's another one of those "ask me how I know" propositions. Getting arrested isn't nearly as much fun as you might think (and to this day, like most former cops, I can still remember the terrible sound of those sally ports clanging down behind me when bringing a prisoner into the jail - and I was only visiting....)."

    Hmm, you've got that right. One arrest I made caused me to have to lodge the prisoner at the Tombs, an ancient jail in NYC's lower Manhattan which has since been torn down because a Federal judge ordered it closed for humanitarian reasons.

    It had no windows or ventilation, solid glass blocks only, and was filthy and stifling with a particularly unpleasant miasma of unwashed bodies and various bodily fluids that hit you like a baseball bat as soon as you walked in the door. Dante would have given it it's own ring. You surrendered your weapon, then walked your prisoner through the place, jailers turning huge keys in noisily reluctant locks, and heavy jail doors creaking on un-oiled hinges. The doors loudly clanked closed behind you, not the most pleasant sound in the world, locks turned again.

    You went through this several times until you got to the arraignment cell, and dropped the prisoner off. Then some prison key controlled elevator took you to the attached courthouse where you exited through the court pens.

    I hope to never see (or smell) the inside of a police station, jail, or courthouse ever again.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  21. gunlaw

    gunlaw Member

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    Looks like a case of constructive possession. A person is could be found guilty of possession of an illegal substance or item if that person is aware of its presence and nature. In other words stay away. You can always make occasional visits to your friend in the federal prison.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  22. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    BATFE likes Constructive Possession. i.e. a person has knowledge (already proven in public by OP) of an object plus the ability to control the object, even if the person has no physical contact with it.

    Not sure if you standing next to it at the range would qualify?, However, you've already met one of their requirements. Find new friends.
     
  23. Geno

    Geno Member

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    I obey the firearms laws, 100%, period. I NEVER have, never will have access to, or possession (even by association) of any unlawful firearms.

    JMHO, if you knowingly go to the range with him, you are just as-bad-as him, and you both should be prosecuted.

    Geno
     
  24. tcoz

    tcoz Member

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    Thanks to everybody for the opinions all of which make a lot of sense. As it turns out, I told him that I wouldn't be going unless he took the shoulder stock off (CZ Scorpion Evo) and he decided To stay home and shoot it on his private property.
     
  25. DoubleMag

    DoubleMag Member

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    Smart answer there in post #25
    ...and very High Road;)
     
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