Generally, people in Tacoma have the right to own and possess firearms. The right is not inalienable, however, and in certain situations may be taken away. For example, people convicted of felony offenses are typically barred from possessing firearms, and may face criminal charges if they are caught with a gun in their possession. As with all criminal offenses, to establish the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm the state must prove each element in order to demonstrate the defendant’s guilt. Recently, a Washington court issued a ruling in which it discussed the government’s burden of proof in weapons crime cases. If you are a Tacoma resident and are charged with a weapons crime, it is prudent to confer with a skilled Tacoma weapons charge defense attorney to assess your possible defenses.
History of the Case
It is reported that the defendant was charged with two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and one count of unlawful possession of ammunition in violation of federal law. Prior to trial, the defendant filed numerous motions in limine, asking the court to preclude the government from introducing certain evidence at trial. The parties also presented a proposed stipulation regarding certain elements of the charged offenses. As the specifics of the stipulation were unclear, the court reserved judgment on the issue.
The Government’s Burden of Proof in Weapons Crime Cases
The court explained that the offenses that the defendant was charged with required the government to prove that the defendant was previously convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term that exceeds one year. The defendant indicated that he would stipulate at trial that he had at least one felony conviction that was punishable by imprisonment for more than a year prior to being charged with the subject crimes, however. The government accepted that stipulation and stated it would not attempt to introduce specifics of his felony conviction at trial. Continue reading