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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

8.2-6  Altering of Firearm Identification Mark -- § 29-36

Revised to December 1, 2007

The defendant is charged [in count __] with the alteration of a firearm identification mark.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

no person shall (remove / deface / alter / obliterate) the name of any maker or model or any maker's number or other mark of identification on any firearm.

For you to find the defendant guilty of this charge, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant (removed / defaced / altered / obliterated) the name of any maker or model or any maker's number or other mark of identification on a firearm.

A "firearm" is any sawed-off shotgun, machine gun, rifle, shotgun, pistol, revolver or other weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged.  For purposes of this offense, you must find that the firearm was operable.1

[<Insert if applicable:>

The statute defining this offense provides that if you find that the defendant was in possession of or owned a firearm on which the maker's name, number, model or other identification mark has been (removed / defaced / altered / obliterated), then you may find, but are not required to, that it was the defendant who (removed / defaced / altered / obliterated) the identification mark, number, model or name of the firearm.   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.2

The defendant need not be the owner of the firearm to have been in possession of it.  "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.>3]

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant (removed / defaced / altered / obliterated) the name of any maker or model or any maker's number or other mark of identification on a firearm.  

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of altering a firearm identification mark, 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.
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1 This statute specifically incorporates the definition of "firearm" as found in General Statutes § 53a-3 (19), which requires that the firearm be operable.

2 The inference is permissive, rather than mandatory.  See State v. Francis, 246 Conn. 339, 352 (1998); State v. Turner, 62 Conn. App. 376, 393 (2001).

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


 

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