Articles Posted in Firearms and Weapons

ar15-rifle-2-1453209-300x81This section went all the way to the United States Supreme Court in Deal v. United States 113 S.Ct. 1993 (1993), in which Mr. Deal got a bad deal at court of 105 years in prison for possessing a firearm during five bank robberies.   The Court explored whether “second or subsequent offense” meant that he would have to be convicted by judgment of the first bank robbery on a date before the second or subsequent convictions.   The highest Court found that these offenses could be stacked, even if all convictions happened on one judgment and from one trial.   The 105 year sentence was affirmed.

The “stacking” provision comes next in the statute, where it says:

“(D) Notwithstanding any other provision of law— (i) a court shall not place on probation any person convicted of a violation of this subsection; and (ii) no term of imprisonment imposed on a person under this subsection shall run concurrently with any other term of imprisonment imposed on the person, including any term of imprisonment imposed for the crime of violence or drug trafficking crime during which the firearm was used, carried, or possessed.

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Thus, if you bring a firearm to a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime, you will have a mandatory minimum of five years in prison.   If you brandish it, which means show it or make it visible to other people, it goes up to a mandatory minimum of seven years.   If the firearm is discharged one time, whether in the air or in the direction of a person, the minimum goes up to ten years.  If you bring a semi-automatic rifle or a shortened shotgun or rifle, the minimum is ten years.   Machine guns and guns with silencers are 30 year minimums.  That is a big jump.  However, things can get much, much worse on second and subsequent offenses.

The statute goes on to say:

“(C) In the case of a second or subsequent conviction under this subsection, the person shall—

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It is a very bad idea to possess a firearm while robbing a bank, committing any federal crime of violence, or trafficking drugs.   Congress has imposed stiff, sometimes unconsciounable penalties for doing so.   These include mandatory minimums that, with multiple offenses, could get your mandatory minimum sentence into centuries of years in the penitentiary.

18 U.S.C. section 924(c) (1) (A) states that

“(A) Except to the extent that a greater minimum sentence is otherwise provided by this subsection or by any other provision of law, any person who, during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime (including a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime that provides for an enhanced punishment if committed by the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon or device) for which the person may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries a firearm, or who, in furtherance of any such crime, possesses a firearm, shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such crime of violence or drug trafficking crime—

glock.jpgThe “prohibited person” statute under federal law, defining who can possess a firearm and who cannot, is pretty straight forward. You will be surprised to learn the many classes of people who cannot possess a firearm, not just convicted felons. If you meet one of these categories, it is a federal felony to possess a firearm or ammunition. I usually don’t copy and paste whole statutes, but the statutes are pretty straight forward. 18 U.S.C. 922(g) states, with the assistance of my commentary in caps and parentheses, that:

(g) It shall be unlawful for any person–

(1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year; (A CONVICTED FELON)

holster.jpgFederal law, especially 18 U.S.C. section 922, provides additional limitations on where you can carry. First, it outlaws a person “knowingly to possess a firearm that has moved in or that otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.” The term “school zone” means A) in, or on the grounds of, a parochial or private school; or B) within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of a public, parochial, or private school. “School” means a school which provides elementary or secondary eduaction, as determined under State Law. This Federal section does not apply to possession of a firearm 1) on private property not part of school grounds; 2) to a person properly licensed to carry in a school zone; 3) a firearm that is unloaded and locked in a container or on a rack; 4) for use in a program approved by a school in the school zone; 5) or that is unloaded and possessed by an individual while traversing school premises for the purpose of gaining access to public or private lands open to hunting. 18 U.S.C. section 930 additioanlly prohibits carrying weapons on the actual premises (buildings and parts thereof) of property owned or leased by the Federal government or by the Federal Courts.

The prohibitions mentioned here are not exhaustive, and you should read Chapter 46 of the Texas Penal Code at www.state.tx.us and the Federal laws online, or contact an attorney or the ATF if you have questions about your right to carry in Texas. You should also decide whether you personally should choose to carry a weapon, and whether you are ready for its responsibilities (including the laws and consequences of using deadly force on another human being). Also, making a loaded firearm accessible to a child (under 17 years old) is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas. Talk to people who know about firearms at Red River Firearms 903-893-8449, Shooters Supply 903-868-8543 or your firearms dealer to decide what is right for you. Read the statutes and become familiar with both the law and the safety issues concerning your particular weapon if you plan to carry regularly.

handgun.jpgIt is in the news daily that guns and ammunition are selling at record rates. This article is to help you understand some of the current law regarding your right to bear arms, primarily the places you are not allowed to carry in Texas. Concealed license holders have a more extensive set of rules that are not focused on here.

In Texas, if you are not disqualified from firearm possession, Penal Code section 46.02 now allows you to lawfully carry a handgun 1) on your own premises or premises under your control; and 2) inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle that is owned by you or under your control (so long as (A) the handgun is not in plain view (i.e. is concealed), (B) you are not engaged in criminal activity other than a Class C traffic misdemeanor and (C) you are not a member of a criminal street gang). “Premises”in the section includes real property and recreational vehicles that are used as living quarters.

This law expands the right of qualified citizens to carry in their cars and on their way to their cars. But, this law strictly requires that, while bearing arms, you not be committing any violation of the law outside of a class C traffic offense. DWI, carrying prescription medicine outside of a properly-labelled bottle, possessing marijuana, and even reckless driving can make you unlawfully carrying a weapon. A violation of this statute is a Class A misdemeanor (up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine), but if committed on any premises licensed to sell alcoholic beverages it becomes a third degree felony (2-10 years, up to $10,000 fine). The law prohibits doing so intentionally knowingly or recklessly. Recklessly means that you are aware but consciously disregard a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur.