Felon in possession of a firearm

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Being a felon in possession of a firearm is a felony in most U.S. states and in the federal system, per 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). Jay Dobyns has described it as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' "bread and butter" charge.[1] Per 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2), it is a class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines describes felons as being "prohibited persons" who, if caught in possession of a firearm, have a base offense level of 14, although the offense level jumps to 20 if "the defendant committed any part of the instant offense subsequent to sustaining one felony conviction of either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense."[2]

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit has ruled that this is not a crime of violence under the Bail Reform Act.[3] A felon in possession charge was thrown out by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit because, although the defendant was found sleeping with one gun on his lap and another leaning against his leg, the house was essentially open to the public and someone else could have placed the guns there.[4]


  1. ^ Dobyns, Jay. No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-307-40586-9. 
  2. ^ U.S.S.G. §2K2.1
  3. ^ United States v. Bowers, No. 05-4908 (3d Cir. Dec. 27, 2005)
  4. ^ Ellis, Steven M. (November 21, 2008), Ninth Circuit Reverses Sleeping Felon’s Firearm Possession Conviction, Metropolitan News-Enterprise 

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