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Miller v. Commonwealth

Court of Appeals of Virginia
492 S.E.2d 482 (1997)


Facts

Martin Miller (defendant) was a convicted felon. Miller was a lifelong hunter and wanted to continue to hunt, but knew that it was illegal for him to own firearms after his felony conviction. Miller sold his hunting guns and began hunting with a bow and arrows. After his bow was stolen, Miller sought to determine whether he could legally own a muzzle-loading rifle. Miller knew that muzzle-loading rifles were treated differently under Virginia gun law and hunting regulations from other firearms. Miller asked his probation officer if he could legally own a muzzle-loading rifle, and also inquired with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (department). All of the government officials affirmatively assured Miller that he could legally own a muzzle-loading rifle, and Miller purchased one. Miller was then charged and convicted of knowingly and intentionally possessing a firearm following a felony conviction. Miller appealed, alleging that the conviction violated his right to due process of law.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Annunziata, J.)

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