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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

8.2-11  Possession of a Sawed-Off Shotgun or Silencer -- § 53a-211

Revised to December 1, 2007

The defendant is charged [in count __] with the possession of a (sawed-off shotgun / silencer).  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of possession of a (sawed-off shotgun / silencer) when (he/she) (owns / controls / possesses) any (sawed-off shotgun / silencer).

For you to find the defendant guilty of this charge, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant (owned / controlled / possessed) a (sawed-off shotgun / silencer).  <Insert the appropriate definition:>

  • A "sawed-off shotgun" is a shotgun with a barrel that measures less than eighteen inches or an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.  You must find that the shotgun was operable at the time the defendant possessed it.1

  • A silencer is any instrument, attachment, weapon or appliance for causing the firing of any gun, revolver, pistol, or other firearm to be silent, or intended to lessen or muffle the noise of the firing of any gun, revolver, pistol, or other firearm.

“Possession" means either actual possession or constructive possession.  Actual possession means actual physical possession, such as having the object on one's person.  Constructive possession means having the object in a place under one's dominion and control.

Possession also requires that the defendant knew that (he/she) was in possession of the firearm.  That is, that (he/she) was aware that (he/she) was in possession of it and was aware of its nature.  The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew that (he/she) was in possession of the firearm.  <See Knowledge, Instruction 2.3-3.>

<If some form of constructive possession is alleged, see Possession, Instruction 2.11-1.>2

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant (owned / controlled / possessed) a (sawed-off shotgun / silencer).

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of possession of a (sawed-off shotgun / silencer), then you shall find the defendant guilty.  On the other hand, if you unanimously find that the state has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the elements, you shall then find the defendant not guilty.
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1 "Shotgun" is incorporated in the definition of "firearm," which requires that the firearm be operable.  See glossary entry for pistol or revolver.

2 Ascertain from counsel what form of possession is alleged.  The definition should be narrowly tailored to the allegations.

Commentary

See General Statutes § 53a-211 (6) for exceptions to culpability.  "[W]here exceptions to a prohibition in a criminal statute are situated separately from the enacting clause, the exceptions are to be proven by the defense."  (Internal quotation marks omitted.)  State v. Valinski, 254 Conn. 107, 123 (2000) (rule also applies when the exception is found in a separate statute).
 


 

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