Thanks to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Americans have the right to keep and bear arms. While this is true, it's important to realize that there are a variety of federal and state gun laws in place that govern what you can and can't do.
For example, the National Firearms Act places restrictions on the sale and use of many types of guns, such as machine guns and short-barreled shotguns.
Furthermore, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act prohibits you from possessing a gun for personal or business reasons if you fall into one of these categories:
- Convicted of a crime punishable by a minimum of one year in prison
- Fugitive from justice
- Have been committed to a mental institution
- Have an addiction to any type of controlled substance
- Are an illegal alien unlawfully living in the United States
- Received a dishonorable discharge from the United States Armed Forces
- If you are a United States citizen who has renounced citizenship
- Have a court restraining order involving a partner or that person's child
- Have a domestic violence conviction on your record
In addition to these laws, you should become familiar with the laws in the state in which you reside (or are visiting).
Gun safety tips
There are many gun safety tips you can follow to avoid trouble and protect those around you.
- Follow all federal, state and local gun laws at all times, even if you don't agree with them
- Handle all guns with extreme care
- If you take your gun off your property, follow all applicable laws for possession and ownership
- Keep your gun(s) locked up when not in use, especially if you have other people in your home, such as children
- Never use a gun while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
With so many federal and state laws associated with gun possession and use, it's possible you could make a mistake at some point. Furthermore, the gray area associated with these laws could lead to some type of gun crime charge.
If you find yourself in this position, learn more about the law you broke, your charges and the defense strategy you can use to help prevent a conviction. You don't want to simply hope for the best, as a gun crime conviction can carry serious penalties.