How An Ex-Con Can Carry An Assault Rifle And Claim Self-Defense

May 7, 2013

Under certain circumstances, people convicted of felony offenses can currently use self-defense as the justification for shooting someone, but that could soon change.

A bill authored by Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, would prohibit convicted felons from being able use such a defense in court.

"It is the intention of Senate Bill 1416 to negate the ability for a defendant who is a convicted felon to claim self-defense if that particular defendant is illegally in possession of a firearm. In one particular case a defendant claimed self-defense even though he had been carrying an SKS assault rifle," Deuell said.

Deuell said current law only prohibits a convicted felon from claiming a self-defensive shooting if they are using a short-barrelled sawed-off shotgun, a handgun or a machine gun.

"Since he armed himself with an assault rifle instead of one of the firearms listed in the current section he was allowed to claim self-defense even though he was a convicted felon. The proposed change to the self-defense law in Senate Bill 1416 would not apply to other citizens who lawfully carry firearms, but merely protects innocent citizens from those who carry them illegally," Deuell said.

The bill passed out of the senate on a unanimous vote.