Gun Control

Tue, Aug 20, 2013

General Legal Issues

Some rights reserved by Rhys A.You hear a lot about gun control. However, what does that actually mean?

Wikipedia states generally that the term ‘gun control’ means any law, policy, practice, or proposal designed to define, restrict, or limit the possession, production or modification, importation, shipment, sale, and/or use of firearms.” Well, that certainly covers a lot of ground!

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Gun Control Act of 1968 into federal law. According to Wikipedia, it “primarily focuses on regulating interstate commerce in firearms by generally prohibiting interstate firearms transfers except among licensed manufacturers, dealers and importers.”  This link contains some text of the law.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 created the requirement for gun dealers to have a Federal Firearms License. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has detailed information about how to become a Federal Firearms Licensee and how to keep proper records, etc.

Another Act of interest is the National Firearms Act. It is considered a tax, though the ATF site that discusses the act states, “While the NFA was enacted by Congress as an exercise of its authority to tax, the NFA had an underlying purpose unrelated to revenue collection. As the legislative history of the law discloses, its underlying purpose was to curtail, if not prohibit, transactions in NFA firearms.”

President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act into law on November 30, 1993. It requires criminal background checks on many who are purchasing a gun. It also details who cannot purchase a gun. It is named after James Brady, press secretary to Ronald Reagan. He was shot in the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley, Jr. in 1981. Mr. Brady and his wife became very involved in the gun control debate after Mr. Brady was shot. Further information can be found on the FBI website.

The United States government, state governments, and international law practice gun control. In the past, city and county governments would also be practicing gun control in Florida. However, as we wrote about previously, Florida has strived to streamline gun laws throughout Florida and have the state law be the primary law. Thus, city and county laws do not reign supreme over state laws in Florida anymore.

Florida’s Stand Your Ground law has been under constant scrutiny since the George Zimmerman trial. Some feel it is too liberal, along with many of Florida’s other gun laws. However, this USA Today chart reveals that Florida is not alone in some of their gun laws. Here, USA Today discusses where each state stands on gun laws involving schools, mental health, and more.  Ironically, it does not appear that the “Stand your Ground” law had any legal relevancy to the Zimmerman case, since this was not a “retreatable” confrontation, meaning that the impetus for the opposition to this law is misplaced by protestors.  It appears, on the contrary, that this case was a pure and simple common law self-defense situation, which is a natural right that has existed since the beginning of time.

One of the other things that a few critics of Florida’s gun laws say is that it is too easy to purchase a gun in Florida. This post discusses the ways you can purchase a gun in Florida. Of particular mention is the part about buying guns at a gun show. While not specific to Florida, this article discusses some things to keep in mind when purchasing a gun at a gun show.  Ironically, the vast majority of gun crimes are committed by persons who obtain guns illegally or by persons who have forfeited their right to possess a firearm due to a prior felony conviction, so there is a serious question about the efficacy of laws that seek to put limits on legal gun purchases.

SmithLaw respects the United States Constitution. This means respecting the rights of United States citizens to be able to keep and bear arms, something discussed in the Second Amendment.  SmithLaw has written several articles about guns.  The posts cover gun-related topics about concealed weapons, general gun laws in Florida, and more.  A free society founded on liberty must recognize that the lawful possession of firearms by law abiding citizens is both a testament to a government subservient to its people and a bulwark against governmental intrusions upon freedom.  It is also essential to the natural right of self-protection.

Attorney Christopher D. Smith is a Lakewood Ranch, Florida attorney with SmithLaw Attorneys. He concentrates in bankruptcy, civil litigation, probate, and elder exploitation cases in the Sarasota and Bradenton area. Call 941 907-4774 to learn more and to ask about our free consultations.

Image: Some rights reserved by Rhys A.


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