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Judge upholds felon gun-ban

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The gun found in the suspect's vehicle.
The gun found in the suspect's vehicle.

NEILLSVILLE, Wis (WRN) A Clark County judge says Wisconsin’s law banning convicted felons from possessing firearms is constitutional. The decision comes from Judge Jon Counsell, who made headlines last October when he ruled Wisconsin’s ban on carry concealed weapons is unconstitutional. This time, he’s siding with District Attorney Darwin Zwieg on charges brought against a felon accused of possessing a firearm.

Merlin Tackes was charged last year, after he was caught hunting in Clark County. He was convicted of felony theft in 1983.

Tackes’ attorney, Matthew Prior, filed a motion to dismiss the case, claiming the state has no compelling interest to prohibit a non-violent felon from owning a gun. But Judge Counsell concurred with Zwieg, who argued two recent Supreme Court rulings draw distinctions between the rights of felons and non-felons.

In one of those cases, District of Columbia v. Heller, the prevailing opinion specifically states the decision should not “cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons.”

In a case Counsell ruled on last fall, the judge said the prohibition on carrying concealed weapons was overly broad and violates both the Second and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.

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