There are federal and state laws in place to regulate gun ownership. While most people have the legal right to purchase a gun, there are restrictions on doing so.
The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act states that you cannot have a gun for business or personal use if you fit into one of the following categories:
- Are a fugitive from justice
- Were convicted of a crime that was punished with a prison sentence of a year or more
- Illegally use or are addicted to any type of controlled substance
- Have been committed to a mental institution
- Have been deemed mentally defective
- Are an illegal alien unlawfully living in the United States
- Received a dishonorable discharge from the military
- Renounced your citizenship as a United States citizen
- Were convicted of domestic violence
The National Firearms Act is also in place to restrict the sale and possession of certain types of guns, such as machine guns and short-barreled shotguns. If you're interested in purchasing one of these, you must submit to an extensive background check; register the gun with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and purchase a tax stamp.
When you combine these federal laws with a variety of state laws, it's easy to lose track of your legal rights. This could lead you to make a mistake, such as illegally owning a gun, which results in serious criminal charges.
If you're facing any type of gun charge, focus on your legal rights and the defense strategy you can use to prove you are innocent, and avoid serious punishment.