If you own a gun, it’s important that you understand how the federal law relates to your individual right to bear arms.
Recently, the widely publicized events surrounding mass shootings have brought attention to the law as it pertains to gun owners and firearms in general. As a result, our second amendment rights are often brought up during debates by those on both sides of the gun-control argument.
Although many people cite the second amendment, its history is rarely fully understood by those who reference it. In fact, gun ownership is a sticky issue that has long been a source of confusion.
Misunderstanding your right to bear arms can have serious consequences, especially for gun owners.
Are you aware of how Texas state gun laws differ from federal law?
Read on to find out what you need to know to avoid a federal charge!
The Right to Bear Arms
It has been assumed that the second amendment is a protection of the individual’s rights for many generations. But, it wasn’t until 2008 that the Supreme court ruled in favor of it supporting an individual citizen’s rights.
Prior to the 2008 Supreme court ruling, it was held by courts that the right to bear arms was in place for states to protect themselves from federal interference if necessary.
The Supreme Court Ruling that Changed Everything for Gun Owners
In 1967, Governor Ronald Reagan signed the Mulford Act, banning the public carry of loaded guns in public.
26 years later, Reagan supported the Brady Act, a gun control law that was named after one of his aides that had been shot during an assassination attempt on the former president.
The National Rifle Association took a hard line opposition approach against the Brady Act. Although they had supported gun control measures previously, they began to widen their scope of what was acceptable when it came to owning firearms.
In 2008, the Supreme court made an unprecedented ruling regarding the right to bear arms.
In the case of the District of Columbia v Heller, the courts decided by a 5 to 4 vote, to overturn a handgun ban in the city.
According to conservative justice Antonin Scalia, “For the first time in history, the supreme court affirmed an individual’s right to keep a weapon at home for self-defense.”
Texas Law Versus Federal Law
Gun critics have argued that Texas laws regarding handguns are too permissive.
There is no license to carry a gun once it’s purchased in the state of Texas. However, a permit is required to carry a handgun.
Texas legislature passed a bill in 2015 allowing handgun permit holders to carry their handguns openly, causing controversy throughout the media and nation.
Texas does reportedly adhere to the federal law when it comes to regulations on who can and cannot own a gun.
However, Texas differs from the federal law in one important area. After five years, according to Texas state law, a convicted felon can own a gun again, if they keep it in their home. Based on federal law, this could result in an arrest of the gun owner.
Another gray area in the Texas state laws relevant to the right to bear arms is the gun owner’s mental health. While Texas state law states that those who are deemed mentally unfit cannot own a firearm, this is a law that is evolving and is somewhat subject to one’s perspective.
Texas Gun Laws Come Under Fire After Mass Shooting
In 2017, Texas was brought into the spotlight after Devin Kelley opened fire at a church in what was termed the deadliest church shooting in modern U.S. history, according to Fox News.
It was found that Kelley did not have a license to carry. Not only that, but his history included domestic violence as well as a bad conduct discharge from the military. These three factors should have prevented Kelley from purchasing and carrying the firearm used to commit the shooting.
Because the discharge was not classified as dishonorable, it did not set off a red flag.
Since the killing, Texas has been criticized by gun control activists nationwide. This publicity has created suspicion among lawmakers and activists.
Some might argue that this has put Texas gun-holders in a position for greater risk of getting charged with a federal crime, even if they are not guilty of breaking state law.
What to Do if You’re Charged with a Federal Gun Crime
Because the federal and state laws differ, Texans might commit a crime without knowing that they are doing so. If you understand the Texas state law but are not familiar with the federal law, you may be at risk of being charged with a crime.
Should you get charged and convicted of a federal crime, you could face sentencing.
Do you know what to do if you’re charged with a federal gun crime?
If you find yourself in this position, you may be able to reduce the consequences of your actions by hiring the right lawyer.
You should seek the counsel of an attorney who’s trained in the area of gun ownership and understands how gun laws vary. They can help you navigate the legal system and explain your rights to you. They can also provide representation that can help your case.
If you’re charged with a gun crime, it’s critical that you have an experienced attorney working for you.
Do You Need Immediate Legal Advice?
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