Gun sales have skyrocketed across the country in the wake of the election and concern about civil unrest. The FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System has shown a 41% increase in activity this year, compared to 2019. They have processed nearly 30 million background checks between January and the end of September this year, already surpassing last year's record-breaking high of 28.4 million background checks. Shares of Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson, both popular gun manufacturers, have soared this year, and there is a nationwide shortage of ammunition. Our law firm represents many clients who unintentionally violate one of our state's gun laws. New gun owners should take the time to understand gun laws in their states to avoid facing gun crime charges.
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
Unlawful possession of a firearm is a criminal offense in every state. All US citizens have a right to bear arms under the Second Amendment, but states have a right to regulate the possession of firearms and other weapons. Most states require firearm owners to possess a license or go through a background check before legally possessing a firearm. Certain people are barred from owning firearms, such as convicted felons. It is illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm, even if he or she does not own the firearm. It is also illegal to possess or discharge a gun at a school-sponsored event. You can also face criminal charges for improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon or for allowing a minor child under the age of 16 to access a firearm that is loaded.
Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Many first-time gun owners do not understand all of the different laws related to firearms. They may think that since they purchased a firearm legally after going through a background check, they can take their gun anywhere with them. However, state law regulates the way residents carry firearms. You cannot conceal a firearm in a purse, bag, or jacket without obtaining a concealed carry permit. You will need to carry your permit with you whenever you have your gun with you. You are allowed to keep your gun locked up in your car, however. If you have questions about where you can take your gun, it is best to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Taking the time to understand all of your gun rights now can prevent you from dealing with criminal gun charges down the road.
Keep in mind that the open carrying of firearms is not allowed, and many people are unaware of this regulation. There are some exceptions to this rule, however. Got owners can open carry their guns when they are camping, fishing, or hunting. Also, even if you have a legally valid concealed carry license, it does not give you the right to carry your weapon in all locations. Businesses have a right to post a notice saying that there are no guns allowed in the facility, and concealed carry permit holders must follow those directives.
Additionally, there are many different locations where gun owners cannot bring their guns, such as schools, hospitals, prisons, and most government buildings. If you are unsure whether you can bring your gun or not, it is wise to check before you show up. It is not worth risking a criminal charge for a concealed carry violation.
Unlawful Purchase of a Sale of Firearms
The process of purchasing a firearm is also heavily regulated by the state governments and the federal government. It is illegal for any person under the age of 21 to purchase a firearm, and this law applies to both long guns and handguns. However, a person between the ages of 18 and 21 can own a firearm. You do not have to obtain a license to purchase a firearm, only to conceal a firearm. Additionally, you do not have to register your firearm with a public or private entity. The state also allows the sale of firearms between private individuals. Still, state law does prohibit transferring ownership of a firearm between two people who do not reside in the same state.
Gun dealers must meet several requirements, and they can face criminal charges for violating these laws. Finally, many people do not realize that people who legally use medical marijuana cannot purchase or possess a firearm because marijuana is still considered a controlled substance under federal law. If you have questions about whether you can purchase a firearm legally, we can help.
Some states require firearm owners to store their firearms in a particular fashion, such as in a fireproof safe. The state does not have any of these requirements. However, they require that you keep your firearm on your body or in a location close to you if a minor under 16 years old is around you. The purpose of this law is to ensure that you can retrieve it quickly or that you keep it stored in a locked container or box in a place that a reasonable person would consider to be safe. You can also secure your gun by placing a trigger lock on the loaded firearm as required by law.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you have been charged with a gun crime, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. The penalties for gun crimes are serious, and some of them have mandatory minimum sentences of 20 years in prison. The sooner you speak with an experienced lawyer, the more time your lawyer will have to prepare your legal defense. Attorney Mark Solomon, P.A has a proven track record of providing his clients with excellent legal defenses. Contact him today to schedule a consultation and learn how he can advocate for your rights.