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Supreme Court rules on felon-in-possession case

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Carrying a gun can be an important right for many Americans. For some owners, carrying a firearm is about personal protection; others simply want to exercise their rights.

In some cases, the state or federal government may revoke someone’s right to carry a gun based on prior criminal charges or convictions. Carrying a weapon illegally can lead to more criminal charges.

Here’s how the more recent case involving Gregory Greer clarified the ruling from Rehaif.

Rehaif vs. the United States

Hamid Mohamed Ahmed Ali Rehaif was here on a student visa when he jeopardized his status by failing his Florida Institute of Technology classes. After continued academic problems, the school kicked him out with the warning that he would need to find another school or risk termination of his student visa.

After leaving the school, Rehaif took up recreational shooting at a local firing range. When law enforcement caught Rehaif both in violation of his student visa and in possession of a firearm, they charged him with felon-in-possession.

Ultimately, the court decided that a defendant should only be guilty of felon-in-possession if they know both factors:

  • They have a gun
  • Their possession of a gun is illegal

In Rehaif’s case, he was aware that he had the weapon but unaware of his status as a felon.

Clarifying Rehaif

In a more recent case, defendant Gregory Greer was charged with felon-in-possession for allegedly carrying a firearm with a felony conviction.

Resting, in part, on the ruling in Rehaif, they argued that they were unaware of their status as felons. While Rehaif was unaware that his dismissal from school resulted in a felony, Greer had been to court several times to address his multiple felonies. In this case, the defendant knew he was a felon, making him ineligible for the exception granted to Rehaif.