When dealing with weapons charges of any type, it helps to understand how various weapons are classified. Some weapons, such as antique firearms, have different possession and use requirements than others. Knowing how a particular weapon is classified can help professionals create the right defense when someone is facing a weapons charge.

Antique weapons are those that were manufactured prior to 1898 and for which ammunition is no longer manufactured. The firearm must not have been retrofitted with newer ignition or firing mechanisms. A relic or curio firearm may be a valuable or collectible firearm that is at least 50 years old or is associated with some type of historical event or famous figure. The laws for purchasing and selling antique weapons may differ slightly from those related to newer weapons.

A concealable firearm is any gun that has a barrel that measures less than 16 inches. A silencer is any device that can be added to a firearm that muffles the noise of the firearm when it is fired. Both of these definitions could be used during investigations or court procedures to attempt to show how a person intended to use a firearm.

A projectile weapon is any weapon that can launch an object. Firearms are not considered projectile weapons, but bows and slingshots are. These are just a few of the weapons defined by Missouri law. The law also has definitions for knives. In addition to defining various weapons, the law provides restrictions on who can ask individuals whether they own certain weapons.

When facing criminal charges, understanding the legal definitions behind charges and terms is essential to crafting a solid defense. It’s also important to carefully weigh each word, as various terms can take on different meanings when it comes to sentencing or charges.

Source: Missouri Revised Statutes, “Chapter 571 Weapons Offenses,” accessed July 24, 2015