Gun ownership laws were put front-and-center of many news headlines after a series of deadly shooting incidents came to light. While many remain adamant in insisting that gun ownership poses risks, others are pushing for more people to own a firearm for self-defense.
Throughout this debate, the United States Constitution’s Second Amendment has repeatedly become a subject of debate, with many arguing that the federal law clearly states that anyone who doesn’t have a history of negative encounters with law enforcement has the right to carry weapons.
According to analysts, this federal law was propagated as an auxiliary right to support a U.S. citizen’s natural right to resist oppression and self-defense, as well as one’s duty to act in defense of the state. But, like any other right, the gun ownership law described in the Second Amendment has limitations.
Ownership and Right To Carry
Laws can be interpreted in different ways — even the Second Amendment. Because of this, supporting laws have been passed to clarify some of the vague statements of the law. This includes the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, a law that prohibits gun ownership for people who:
- Are not of legal age;
- Have a conviction for crimes punishable by incarceration of over one year;
- Are running from justice as a fugitive;
- Are involved in illegal use of controlled substances;
- Have been found mentally ill by any court or have been admitted to an institution for mental health;
- Have been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States;
- Have renounced his or her U.S. citizenship;
- Are living in the U.S. as an illegal alien;
- Have a misdemeanor or domestic violence conviction; and
- Are bound by a restraining order involving an “intimate partner” or his or her children.
Aside from the federal law, state laws also have various restrictions on who can own or carry a firearm. One differs from the others in many ways, making it quite confusing for some who have been granted a license to carry a gun in the state they came from but were reprimanded in another.
With that said, it is imperative for gun owners to understand the four categories covering the right of a gun owner to openly carry their firearms. The Licensed Open-Carry States have laws that allow firearm owners to carry their guns openly, provided that they are given license or permit, while Permissive Open-Carry States do not require such documents. The Anomalous Open-Carry States provide local governments the right to pass their own restrictions on open carry firearms, while Non-Permissive Open-Carry States considers it unlawful for gun owners to carry their weapons in public, allowing them to wield their guns when hunting or defending one’s self.
Gun Charges: What You Need To Do
Because of these confusing laws in different places, violations are inevitable. Since the main factor why gun owners face legal repercussions is their location, many lawyers see cases of airport guns & weapons violations. Be it guns, pocket knives, or cutters, anything found in their luggage that can be used to injure or kill a person can is considered by airport personnel as a violation of federal laws.
When this happens, you should take the initiative in understanding your rights, which include knowing the charges filed against you and contacting your criminal defense lawyer immediately. He or she should explain the elements of the crime you’re accused of, the possible defenses you can use, and the potential amount of penalties. You should also be aware of the length of imprisonment and community service that you may face if convicted.
The following are some factors that may increase punishments for gun possession charges:
- Infraction of probation or parole terms that forbid gun possession and prior convictions
- Possession near or on school grounds
- The community’s opinion on gun violence and possession of weapons