In a unanimous decision written by Justice Elena Kagan, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that the government cannot prohibit a convicted felon from selling his weapons after they are confiscated by authorities.
Justice Kagan wrote that as long as the court is satisfied that the buyer/transferee won't give the convicted felon access to or control over the weapons, he can indeed sell them. "A felon cannot evade the strictures of (the law) by arranging a sham transfer that leaves him in effective control of his guns," Kagan said.
Kagan said the district court could have ordered the guns turned over to a federally-licensed firearms dealer, who would sell them with proceeds going to Henderson. She said the lower court also could allow Henderson to transfer the guns to another person who will not allow him "to exert any influence over their use."
She said the government's reading of the law goes too far in saying Henderson would illegally "possess" the weapons just by being allowed to sell them.
This ruling seems to also seems to leave open the idea that use of an irrevocable gun trust may also be one way for a convicted felon to dispose of his weapons, if he intends to benefit specific persons, such as his descendants that may still be too young to possess them.