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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

8.2-14  Machine Guns -- § 53-202

Revised to December 1, 2007

The defendant is charged [in count __] with the possession or use of a machine gun.  The statute defining this offense imposes punishment on any person who possesses or uses a machine gun <insert appropriate subsection:>

  • § 53-202 (b):  in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of a crime of violence.

  • § 53-202 (c):  for an offensive or aggressive purpose.

For you to find the defendant guilty of this charge, the state must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt: 

Element 1 - Possessed or used a machine gun
The first element is that the defendant possessed or used a machine gun.

"Machine gun" means a weapon of any description, loaded or unloaded, which shoots, is designed to shoot or can be readily restored to shoot automatically more than one projectile, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger, and shall also include any part or combination of parts designed for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun and any combination of parts from which a machine gun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession of or under the control of a person.  "Projectile" means any size bullet that when affixed to any cartridge case may be propelled through the bore of a machine gun.1

“Possession" means either actual possession or constructive possession.  Actual possession means actual physical possession, such as having the object on one's person.  Constructive possession means having the object in a place under one's dominion and control.

Possession also requires that the defendant knew that (he/she) was in possession of the firearm.  That is, that (he/she) was aware that (he/she) was in possession of it and was aware of its nature.  The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew that (he/she) was in possession of the firearm.  <See Knowledge, Instruction 2.3-3.>

<If some form of constructive possession is alleged, see Possession, Instruction 2.11-1.>2

[<Insert if applicable:>

The statute defining this offense provides that if you find that the machine gun was in any (room / boat / vehicle), then you may find, but are not required to, that each person occupying that (room / boat / vehicle) was in possession of the machine gun.   This inference is not a necessary one, but it is an inference you may draw if you find it is reasonable and logical and in accordance with my instructions on circumstantial evidence.3]

Element 2 - Crime of violence / offensive or aggressive purpose
The second element is that the defendant possessed or used the machine gun <insert as appropriate:>

  • in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of a crime of violence.  "Crime of violence" includes (murder / manslaughter / kidnapping / sexual assault / sexual assault with a firearm / assault in the first degree / assault in the second degree / robbery / burglary / larceny / riot in the first degree).4

  • for an offensive or aggressive purpose.

[<Insert if appropriate:>

You may find, but are not required to,5 that the machine gun was possessed or used for an offensive or aggressive purpose if you find any of the following:

  • The machine gun is on premises not owned or rented, for bona fide permanent residence or business occupancy, by the person in whose possession the machine gun was found.

  • The person possessing the machine gun was an unnaturalized foreign-born person, or a person who has been convicted of a crime of violence in any state or federal court of record of the United States of America, its territories or insular possessions.

  • The machine gun has not been registered.

  • Empty or loaded projectiles of any caliber that may be used in the machine gun are found in the immediate vicinity of the machine gun.]

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant possessed or used a machine gun, and 2) the possession or use of the machine gun was (in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of a crime of violence / for an offensive or aggressive purpose).

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of possession or use of a machine gun, then you shall find the defendant guilty.  On the other hand, if you unanimously find that the state has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the elements, you shall then find the defendant not guilty.
_______________________________________________________

1 Definitions of "machine gun" and "projectile" are found in General Statutes § 53-202 (a) and (c).  See also glossary entry for machine gun.

2 Ascertain from counsel what form of possession is alleged.  The definition should be narrowly tailored to the allegations.

3 General Statutes § 53-202 (e).  The inference is permissive, rather than mandatory.  State v. Gerardi, 237 Conn. 348, 361 (1996).

4 General Statutes § 53-202 (a) (2).

5 General Statutes § 53-202 (d).
 


 

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