Deja Taylor, the mother of a 6-year-old boy who shot his teacher in Virginia, faces potential prison time for possessing a firearm while using marijuana, a violation of U.S. federal law. Her son, using her handgun, shot teacher Abby Zwerner in January. Investigations revealed marijuana and evidence of frequent drug use in Taylor’s home.
Despite marijuana being legal in Virginia and widespread gun ownership in the U.S., federal law still prohibits drug users from possessing firearms. Similar cases, including Hunter Biden’s, have faced charges under this law. However, some U.S. courts challenge this ban.
Prosecutors seek a 21-month sentence for Taylor, emphasizing the dangers of combining drug use with firearms. Taylor pled guilty in June, admitting to marijuana use and providing false information on a gun purchase form. Her defense requests probation and home confinement, citing her need for treatment for schizoaffective disorder and marijuana addiction.
Taylor’s attorneys also note the possibility of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the federal ban on drug users owning guns. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled against automatic gun bans for drug users.
Taylor faces separate state-level sentencing for felony child neglect and is connected to a $40 million lawsuit by Zwerner against the school system.
Previously, Taylor had used her gun in a public altercation. Since the school shooting, she has failed multiple drug tests while awaiting sentencing. Her attorneys portray her as remorseful and humiliated, emphasizing her mental health and addiction struggles. Her son is now in the custody of his grandfather.