Is Ownership of Guns Itself Evidence of Drug Dealing?

A police officer discovered marijuana inside a car during a stop for tinted windows. On the suspicion that this was drug proceeds, he also discovered a large amount of cash. Chief Judge Martin Reidinger, W.D.N.C. said no. In U.S. V. $13,205.54 In U.S. Currency Seized From Rahkim Franklin: “[T]The totality and quality of evidence provided by the Government does not establish that proceeds from the August 21st traffic stop seized by the defendant currency were traceable to an alleged exchange for controlled substances. § 881(a)(6).” (Apparently, the cash was intended as a down payment for a house. Chief Judge Reidinger made the following observation:

The Government notes in a footnote that Franklin has several guns, which it claims “have been long recognized as tools of the drug trade.” [Doc. 87 at 6 n.2 (quoting in part United States v. Ward, 171 F.3d 188, 195 (4th Cir. 1999)]. However, it is clear that Franklin legally owned the firearms; he isn’t a felon nor an illegal person. Furthermore, Mr. Franklin did not forfeit any of his firearms.

There is no evidence that the Government can show this Court to support its conclusion that the firearms were used for criminal activities. The Government’s suggestion that citizens possess firearms can make them implicated in drug trafficking would be a stretch of credulity. Counsel apparently hasn’t considered Second Amendment issues in the argument of Government.

Congratulations to James W. Kilbourne, Jr. and Jesse M. Swords of Allen Stahl & Kilbourne, PLLC on the victory.