When it comes to laws that govern firearms, those who choose to own them must deal with both federal and state laws, which can often prove very complicated to navigate. At the state level, laws may change drastically as soon as you cross a border, and permits that apply in one state may not apply in another.
Furthermore, state-level laws change regularly, as we just saw in Florida in the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. In a matter of weeks, motivated legislators responding to local pressures may alter gun laws drastically. However, for the first time in over a decade, gun restrictions may also change significantly at the federal level.
If you have concerns about remaining on the right side of the laws that govern gun ownership, you can always consult with an experienced attorney who understands defending those accused of weapons violations. Personalized legal counsel can help you protect your rights and understand the changing laws surrounding gun ownership.
The National Firearms Act
Two major acts make up the bulk of federal firearms legislation as it stands currently, the National Firearms Act (NFA) and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (Brady Act). Under the terms of the NFA, those who wish to own certain kinds of firearms deemed particularly dangerous must go through a number of very complex steps.
Among other things, the NFA requires individuals who want to possess certain silencers, fully-automatic weapons, or "sawed-off" shotguns to submit to an extensive background check, obtain a tax stamp to allow the manufacture of the particular device, and of course, register the weapon.
The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
Under the Brady Act, it is not lawful for many different individuals to own a handgun. These restrictions may apply to those:
- Who consume illegal substances
- Are fugitives from the law
- Convicted of crimes punishable by more than one year of incarceration
- The court rules are mentally ill
- Illegal aliens within the country
- Individuals who renounce their U.S. citizenship
- Who receive dishonorable discharges from the military
- Who currently have a restraining order against them by an intimate partner or that partner's children
- Convicted of domestic abuse charges
If you face charges that may involve either of these federal acts, you should be very concerned about your future rights and privileges. Do not miss opportunities to build a strong defense to protect yourself from the serious consequences for weapons convictions.