Wisconsin Upholds Ban on Firearms for Non-Violent Felons in Deer Hunting Case


A Wisconsin court ruled that a ban on felons who are convicted of non-violent crimes (in addition to those convicted of violent crimes) possessing firearms is constitutional yesterday.

Thomas Pocian was the subject of the 2nd District Court of Appeals ruling. Pocian, 44, of Hartford was convicted of forging checks more than two decades ago in 1986, a felonious, non-violent crime. In November of 2008 he wanted to go hunting and so he used his father’s gun to shoot two deer. The deer were registered with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, at which time officers discovered he was a felon and he was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

In the Washington County Circuit Court, Pocian asked Judge Todd K. Martens to dismiss the case because Pocian was not a violent felon and he felt that the ban is unconstitutionally broad and shouldn’t apply to him.

Martens denied his claim and so Pocian took his arguments to an appeals court. He made a comment that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has used stricter standards to determine whether weapons restrictions are legal since a U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down handgun bans in Washington, D.C. and Chicago.

The court still said tougher analysis of Pocian’s case was applied, but Wisconsin’s ban was in line with the government’s responsibility to keep the public safe.

The ruling stated that if Pocian wanted to change the law, a proper route through the legislature is necessary.

Pocian’s attorney says he still has a strong case and Pocian and he are discussing appealing to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

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