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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

8.2-9  Criminal Possession of a Pistol or Revolver -- § 53a-217c

Revised to December 1, 2007

The defendant is charged [in count __] with criminal possession of a pistol or revolver.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of criminal possession of a pistol or revolver when such person possesses a pistol or revolver and <insert appropriate subsection:>

  • § 53a-217c (a) (1):  has been convicted of (a felony / <insert specified crime>).1

  • § 53a-217c (a) (2):  has been convicted as delinquent for the commission of a serious juvenile offense.2

  • § 53a-217c (a) (3):  has been discharged from custody within the preceding 20 years after having been found not guilty of a crime by reason of mental disease or defect.

  • § 53a-217c (a) (4):  has been confined in a hospital for persons with psychiatric disabilities within the preceding 12 months by order of a probate court.

  • § 53a-217c (a) (5):  knows that such person is subject to <insert one of the following:>

    • A):  a restraining or protective order of a court of this state that has been issued against such person, after notice and an opportunity to be heard has been provided to such person, in a case involving the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person.

    • (B):  a foreign order of protection3 that has been issued against such person in a case involving the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person.

  • § 53a-217c (a) (6):  knows that such person is subject to a firearms seizure order after notice and an opportunity to be heard has been provided to such person.4

  • § 53a-217c (a) (7):  is prohibited from shipping, transporting, possessing or receiving a firearm pursuant to federal law.5

  • § 53a-217c (a) (8):  is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States.

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

Element 1 - Possessed a pistol or revolver
The first element is that the defendant possessed a pistol or revolver.  A "pistol or revolver" is any firearm having a barrel less than twelve inches.6

“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.>7

Element 2 - Possession prohibited
The second element is that at the time (he/she) possessed it, the defendant was prohibited from possessing a pistol or revolver because (he/she) <insert as appropriate and tailor to facts and evidence>.8

  • § 53a-217c (a) (1):  had been convicted of <insert alleged conviction>.    "Convicted" means having a judgment of conviction entered by a court of competent jurisdiction.  This conviction must have occurred prior to the date it is alleged the defendant possessed pistol or revolver.

  • § 53a-217c (a) (2):  had been convicted as delinquent for committing a serious juvenile offense, specifically <insert alleged offense>.

  • § 53a-217c (a) (3):  had been discharged from custody within the preceding 20 years after having been found not guilty of <insert crime> by reason of mental disease or defect.

  • § 53a-217c (a) (4):  had been confined in a hospital for persons with psychiatric disabilities within the preceding 12 months by order of a probate court.

  • § 53a-217c (a) (5):  knew that (he/she) was subject to a (restraining / protective) order of (this state / the state of <insert state>).  <Review evidence of order.>  All (restraining / protective) orders prohibit the subject of the order from possessing firearms.

  • § 53a-217c (a) (6):  knew that (he/she) was subject to a firearms seizure order.  <Review evidence of order.> 

  • § 53a-217c (a) (7):  was prohibited from shipping, transporting, possessing or receiving a firearm pursuant to federal law.

  • § 53a-217c (a) (8):  was an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States.

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant possessed a pistol or revolver, and 2) (he/she) was prohibited from possessing the pistol or revolver at the time because <insert specific allegations>.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of criminal possession of a pistol or revolver, 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 The non-felony offenses specified in the statute are violations of General Statutes §§ 21a-279 (c), 53a-58, 53a-61, 53a-61a, 53a-62, 53a-63, 53a-96, 53a-175, 53a-176, 53a-178 and 53a-181d.

2 As defined in General Statutes § 46b-120 (3).

3 As defined in General Statutes § 46b-15a.

4 Pursuant to General Statutes § 29-38c (d).

5 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g) (4).

6 This statute specifically incorporates the definition of "pistol or revolver" found in General Statutes § 29-27, so operability of the pistol or revolver is not a requirement of this crime.  See glossary entry for pistol or revolver.

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

8 Parties often will stipulate to the reason why the defendant is prohibited from possessing a firearm.  See Stipulations, Instruction 2.6-9.
 


 

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