Gun crimes are typically divided into two general categories. The first category are crimes having to do with criminal possession of a gun.
The second category are crimes that begin as simple crimes (misdemeanors) and are made more serious (felonies) due to the use or presence of a gun in the commission of the crime.
What are Some Crimes Involving Gun Possession?
While the Second Amendment of the Constitution provided the right to own a gun, not everyone is entitled to own a gun and not every gun is legal to ordinary citizens.
Additionally, every state has their unique gun laws. The following is a generalized list of crimes that involve the possession of guns:
- Illegal Firearms: Certain guns are not legal for ordinary citizens to own. For example, all unregistered guns, guns that have been illegally altered (silencers), or guns that are only available for military personnel;
- Felony Possession of a Firearm: Convicted felons are not allowed to own a gun;
- Persons Convicted of Domestic Violence: Similarly, persons convicted of domestic violence and other related crimes (sex crimes or pedophiles) cannot own a firearm;
- Violations of Gun Control Laws: Again, each state has unique gun control laws that place restrictions on the types of guns that can be owned.
It should also be noted that people who have been deemed mentally unfit or unstable are typically not permitted to own a firearm.
Does the Use of a Gun Make a Crime More Serious?
The use of a gun in the commission of a crime almost always makes the crime more serious and allows for harsher punishment under the law. Typically, a misdemeanor crime will usually be increased to a felony charge if a gun was used or present during the crime, even if that gun is fake but appears to be real.
The classic example of this is the comparison between misdemeanor assault and assault with a deadly weapon. Misdemeanor assault is usually punishable by a short jail sentence and/or a monetary fine. In comparison, assault with a deadly weapon (such as a gun) will result in felony charge, which results in a higher fine and/or longer incarceration.
Battery, robbery, and carjacking are examples of crimes that have harsher punishments when a gun is involved.
Are There Any Defenses for Crimes Involving Guns?
Although the U.S. Constitution provides citizens with the right to own and bear arms, there are many restrictions regarding when and how guns can be used. Generally speaking, each state has a set of laws that regulate the use of firearms in the state.
Since guns are considered deadly weapons, they usually can’t be used for self-defense unless the attacker already used or threatened with deadly force.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Crimes Involving Guns?
Crimes involving guns can lead to very serious criminal penalties. If you are facing charges for a crime involving a gun, then you should contact a local criminal defense lawyer.
Your attorney will be able to assist you throughout the duration of your case, and can explain the options that are available under your state’s law and federal law.