Morley Swingle giving the closing argument in a murder case where the defendant stalked his victim before murdering her new boyfriend and kidnapping her.
Morley Swingle giving the closing argument in a murder case where the defendant stalked his victim before murdering her new boyfriend and kidnapping her.

Gun crimes are an area where the Second Amendment and statutory weapons offenses collide. The Second Amendment right to bear arms, however, has not been construed to allow a person to commit a felony while using a firearm, to possess a firearm after being convicted of a felony, to carry a concealed weapon, or to possess a weapon while intoxicated.

It is a felony under both federal and Colorado law for a convicted felon to possess a firearm. Other Colorado weapons offenses include possessing a defaced firearm, carrying a concealed firearm without a permit, possession of a firearm while intoxicated, recklessly or negligently discharging a firearm, knowingly aiming a firearm at another person, and possession of a handgun by a juvenile.

The law of self-defense applies to many gun crimes. In many cases, it will be the best defense your criminal defense lawyer can present in your defense.

A person is allowed to use a reasonable amount of force to defend himself from an attack. This would include aiming or flourishing a gun at a person who is attacking you or trying to enter your dwelling. Information you knew about your attacker that made you believe it was reasonably necessary to use force to defend yourself is admissible at trial and can be considered by the jury in deciding whether you were acting in lawful self-defense when you flourished the weapon.

Colorado has also enacted the “Make My Day” law, also known as the “Castle Doctrine,” which allows a person to use physical force, including deadly force, upon an intruder in one’s home when: (1) the other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling; and (2) the occupant has a reasonable belief that the other person has committed or is about to commit a crime in the dwelling (other than mere trespass), or the occupant reasonably believes that the intruder might use physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant. See C.R.S. Section 18-1-704.5. The “Make My Day” defense can apply to various gun crimes.

Presenting a self-defense claim can be complicated and tricky, and requires knowledge of the law of evidence. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you present your best defense.

Both James T. Anest and Morley Swingle are former prosecutors. Swingle has prosecuted dozens of gun cases as a prosecutor, in both state and federal court.

If you believe a particular gun crime is unconstitutional, and neither the United States Supreme Court nor the Colorado Supreme Court has yet dealt with the constitutionality of that particular criminal offense, Parker Lawyers is willing to make that argument for your as a part of your defense.

If you or a loved one is facing a gun charge, feel free to call Parker Lawyers at (303) 841-9525.