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Assault Weapons and America Part 1

Baseball, apple pie, and assault rifles. Globally, many people believe that these are the three staples of life for every American, especially the last one. In this article series, we will discuss the public perception of assault weapons. We also will discuss the federal and state laws that regulate whether or not you can access these weapons. If you have been accused of a crime with a deadly weapon, you need the services of an aggravated assault attorney in Tampa.

Mass Shootings and Public Opinion

Public opinion has recently turned against assault weapons; more specifically, the masses are questioning whether or not we should have access to semi-automatic assault rifles. Every American remembers the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. More recently, there was the San Bernardino incident in 2015, Orlando’s Pulse nightclub tragedy in 2016, and, earlier this year, the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. As these tragic incidents have unfolded, America’s voice has grown louder and louder. The majority of Americans want stricter laws on assault weapons.

Know Your Rights

Although there is often a direct parallel between tragic incidents and the popularity of polls in favor of banning or restricting something, the fact remains that many Americans want assault weapons to be banned. However, the problem is that many Americans aren’t aware of many federal and state gun laws that are in existence today.

American Gun Laws

Everyone knows of the “law of the land” which is the Second Amendment of the Constitution. This gives United States citizens the right to bear arms. However, because gun laws have progressed since the Wild West, there are federal gun laws regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Here are some of the most important federal gun laws:

  • Prohibited people cannot possess a firearm or ammunition (this includes felons, unlawful people, illegal immigrants, mentally deficient people, and those who have been dishonorably discharged from the military). You can also not “knowingly” sell a firearm to a prohibited person.
  • Use a firearm in a drug felony or federal crime
  • Cannot unlawfully take a firearm from another person
  • Carry a firearm in a school zone
  • Knowingly possess or assemble an illegal assault weapon (machine guns, fully automatic firearms, silencers, sawed-off shotguns/rifles, certain types of semi-automatic rifles, any firearm that lacks a serial number, etc.)

Federal Weapons Ban

The last piece of federal legislation related to banning assault weapons was the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994. This law, enacted 24 years ago, had a 10 year shelf life and expired in 2004. As we will discuss in the second section of this article, there have been many federal proposals to replace this ban; however, they have all been unsuccessful.

For a free consultation with an experienced aggravated assault lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.