The United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia ruled in United States v. Weaver yesterday that an employee is prohibited from carrying a gun while working for a felon. Eugene Volokh of The Volokh Conspiracy reports “the court held that 18 U.S.C. § 922(h), which bars people from knowingly possessing guns ‘in the course of … employment’ ‘while being employed for any person’ who is himself a felon possessing guns. (Here, the defendants were allegedly members of the Pagans Motorcycle Club, and were allegedly taking instructions from a club leader who was a convicted felon.) Brief excerpt from the ruling after the jump . . .
Section 922(h) is … limited in [important] respects: temporally, an individual is only precluded from possessing a firearm while acting in the course of his employment for a prohibited person, and he is free to regain his right to possess firearms by simply parting with the employment relationship. To be quite clear, even an individual who maintains an employment relationship with a prohibited person may lawfully possess firearms, provided he is not acting in the course of employment at the time of the firearm possession. From this discussion, it is clear that Congress tailored the prohibition in § 922(h) to cover only certain individuals at certain times and when they act in certain ways. In other words, the scope of § 922(h) is effectively limited to vicarious possession by prohibited persons, although it penalizes the proxy rather than the prohibited person. It is a commonsense extension of the prohibitions contained in § 922(g). Just as § 922(g) strips firearms from the possession of prohibited persons, § 922(h) effectively strips firearms from their control.