Throughout the recent presidential campaign, the topic of guns and rights protected under the Second Amendment was a central focus. You might have weighed in with your own opinions during water cooler talk at work, sitting at the bar while tossing a few cold ones back with some friends or in a more formal setting such as a town hall meeting or something of that nature. If you happen to be one of many gun owners in Kansas or Missouri, you’ve probably been following news related to this subject quite closely.
Lobbying to protect your right to bear arms is one thing. Being arrested and charged with a firearms violation is quite another. One of the best ways to avoid such problems is to become as educated as possible on the various state and federal laws regarding the purchasing, selling and owning of firearms.
Fact from fiction
When buying or selling guns, knowing the answers to important questions may keep you out of trouble with the law. Here are some common misconceptions pertaining to firearms, along with pertinent facts to correct misguided information:
· To sell a gun, you have to pass a federal background check: Background checks are only required when a licensed firearms dealership is conducting the sale. You can sell or buy a gun privately without this type of preliminary investigation.
· Background check expansion opens the door for federal registry: The law already prohibits a federal gun owner registry of any kind.
· Lack of background checks allows violent criminals to buy and sell guns: Although some people believe this, there are already laws in place that prohibit convicted felons, people with mental illnesses and others from owning or being in possession of firearms.
It’s true that not just anyone can hang a shingle over a door and set up shop as a firearms dealer. To establish an official business, a potential firearms dealer must fulfill all regulations and eligibility requirements. In addition, if you have something in your past that you think might have compromised your right to bear arms, it would be a logical choice to clarify the matter before buying, selling or using a gun.
Facing charges for firearms violations
Some types of guns, as well as certain parts or components that can be used to manufacture guns, are illegal at all times, meaning there is never a situation when it is okay to have these things in your possession, for example:
· Sawed off shotguns: This is a gun with a barrel that is typically under 18 inches. While shorter barrels make for lighter-weight guns and easier transportation, these weapons are illegal.
· Uzis: The pistol grip houses the magazine, thus creating a shorter weapon, but having one of these submachine guns in your possession places you at great risk for legal trouble.
· Silencers: While many states do have laws against equipping guns with silencers, it is legal in both Kansas and Missouri to attach a silencer to a gun.
The potential negative consequences of a firearm violation conviction are many. However, it is often possible to avoid going to jail and minimize the penalties of a particular situation. Generally speaking, the stronger the defense you are able to present in court, the higher your chances of obtaining a positive outcome. This is why many people facing criminal charges related to guns request immediate assistance from experienced defense attorneys.