Gun owners in Kansas are fortunate that the state laws protect their rights despite national outcries for government control of certain weapons. While the recent horrific shootings that resulted in dozens of injuries and fatalities certainly raise the question of what to do to prevent future tragedies, you may be frustrated when these events raise more calls for gun control.
While Kansas is among the top states with strong protections for gun rights, you may still be at risk of facing weapons charges, both federal and state, under certain circumstances. Additionally, buying a weapon means following the rules carefully.
Qualifying to purchase a firearm
When you attempt to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives requires you to complete a Form 4473. The form asks for basic information about you, such as your name, date and place of birth, and identifying characteristics like your height and weight. In addition, you will answer questions about your criminal history, drug use and mental health. These questions will help the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System determine if you are eligible to own a firearm.
If you read the form carefully, you will see that it lists many reasons why the privilege of owning a gun may be denied, for example:
- You have a felony conviction for a violent crime on your record or a conviction for domestic violence.
- You are under indictment.
- You have renounced your citizenship in the United States, or you are in the country illegally.
- You have a drug addiction or a mental illness that prevents you from conducting your own affairs.
- The armed forces discharged you dishonorably.
- You are a fugitive from justice.
- You are purchasing the gun for someone besides yourself.
Your behavior during the transaction will also be important, as many licensed gun dealers are willing to deny sales to a customer if they don't feel comfortable with the person's demeanor, even if that customer passes the background check.
When the truth hurts
After you have completed the form, the gun dealer will submit the responses to the NICS. Of course, you must complete the Form 4473 honestly, but this may mean the NICS will reject your application to purchase a weapon. Nevertheless, lying on the form is a felony offense, and a conviction may result in up to 10 years in prison and as much as $250,000 in fines.
You may feel that lying on the form is the only way to procure a firearm if you already have a felony conviction or other disqualifying factor. However, there may be other options open to you, options that will not jeopardize your freedom. Speaking with an attorney about any issues regarding gun rights is the surest way to get solid advice and guidance in the best alternative for your situation.