The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees citizens the right to keep and bear arms.
But what does that mean for those who face weapons charges? What rights do individuals have when defending themselves and their property?
Understanding how your rights are protected under the Second Amendment is essential if facing a weapons charge. This article explains the basics of understanding your rights in relation to the Second Amendment and weapons charges and how you can get help today.
The Second Amendment: An Overview
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees citizens the right to keep and bear arms. This amendment is essential in protecting our rights as American citizens, but it also raises questions about when these firearms can be used legally and what constitutes a weapons charge.
The Second Amendment protects individuals’ rights to possess firearms for personal use, such as hunting or recreational activities, and those of states for their militias. It does not, however, guarantee an individual’s unrestricted access to any firearm regardless of ownership or usage restrictions set by state laws.
Understanding your rights under the Second Amendment—how they are limited and protected—is key in knowing when you may face legal action if convicted of a weapons-related offense.
Weapons Charges: Types and Penalties
The definitions and penalties for weapons charges can vary depending on the state where the offense was committed. However, here is some information on the charges and penalties that may apply in Missouri.
Unlawful Use of Weapons
The charge of Unlawful Use of Weapons (RSMo 571.030) encompasses several offenses involving weapons.
Some examples of actions that could result in an Unlawful Use of Weapons charge include:
- Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit in a restricted area, such as an airport or school
- Exhibiting a weapon in an angry or threatening manner
- Discharging a firearm while intoxicated
- Discharging a firearm at or from a motor vehicle, person, or building
- Possession of a firearm and a controlled substance
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
It is illegal for certain individuals to possess firearms in Missouri. For example, convicted felons, certain domestic violence offenders, fugitives from justice, individuals habitually in an intoxicated or drugged condition, and individuals adjudged mentally incompetent are prohibited from possessing firearms.
If a person prohibited from possessing a firearm is found with one, they could be charged and potentially convicted of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm (RSMo 571.070).
Unlawful Transfer of Weapons
It is also illegal to transfer a firearm to certain individuals in Missouri. For example, selling or giving a firearm or ammunition to someone prohibited from possessing one (such as a convicted felon) is illegal. If a person transfers a firearm to someone prohibited from possessing one, they could be charged with Unlawful Transfer of Weapons (RSMo 571.060). It is also illegal to sell or give a firearm or ammunition to a person who is intoxicated.
It’s important to note that these are just a few examples of weapons charges and penalties that can apply in Missouri. If you are facing weapons charges, it’s important to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney who can advise you on the specific laws and penalties that may apply in your case.
Understanding Your Rights
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to bear arms. However, this right is not absolute and is subject to certain limitations and regulations. If you are facing weapons charges, it is important to understand your rights under the Second Amendment to protect yourself and ensure a fair legal process.
Here is a list of your rights as it relates to weapons charges:
- The right to keep and bear arms — As stated in the Second Amendment, citizens can own and possess firearms for lawful purposes, such as self-defense, hunting, and sport shooting.
- The right to purchase firearms— Federal and state laws regulate the sale and purchase of firearms. However, as long as you meet the legal requirements, you have the right to purchase firearms.
- The right to carry firearms — Missouri allows “permitless” carry of firearms for self-defense in most public places. However, you must follow local laws and regulations, and you cannot carry a concealed weapon in a restricted area, such as an airport or school.
- The right to use firearms for self-defense — If you are in immediate danger, you have the right to defend yourself or others from harm. However, the force must be proportionate to the threat and reasonable under the circumstances.
- The right to due process — If you are facing weapons charges, you have the right to due process, which includes the right to a fair trial, the right to remain silent, and the right to an attorney.
- The right to challenge the legality of the search and seizure — If the police searched your property without a warrant or probable cause, you might have the right to challenge the legality of the search and have any evidence obtained through the illegal search suppressed.
Understanding your rights under the Second Amendment is crucial if you face weapons charges. It is important to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help protect your rights and ensure a fair legal process.
What to Do If You Are Facing Weapons Charges
If you are facing weapons charges, it’s important to take the situation seriously and seek legal help as soon as possible.
Here are four steps you can take:
- Contact a criminal defense attorney who has experience in handling weapons charges. They can advise you on your rights, help you understand the charges against you, and develop a strategy for defending your case.
- Avoid discussing your case with anyone other than your attorney. Anything you say can be used against you in court, so you must be cautious about what you share with others.
- Follow your attorney’s advice on how to handle the case. This may include providing information or evidence to support your defense or taking steps to negotiate a plea bargain if appropriate.
- Stay informed and engaged throughout the legal process. Ask questions, provide feedback, and actively participate in your defense.
If you’re facing weapons charges in Missouri, Rose Legal Services is here to help. Contact our team to protect your rights today.