Lakeland, FL (Law Firm Newswire) December 4, 2014 - Americans have a constitutional right to bear arms, but owning a gun to commit a crime is another matter. If a firearm is used during the commission of a crime, penalties are increased and there may be no chance for parole.
“According to the Constitution, owning a gun in the United States is a right enshrined in the Second Amendment. Most people know this as the right to "keep and bear arms." But there are restrictions on this right -- like requiring a permit to carry a concealed weapon,” explained Thomas C. Grajek, a Lakeland criminal defense attorney.
If a gun is used during the commission of a crime, penalties on conviction for that offense are enhanced and increased. How much they are increased varies by state. In general, if a gun is fired during the course of committing a crime, the perpetrator may receive 10 to 20 years in jail. If someone is injured or killed, that prison sentence may increase to 20 years to life. Other states increase their penalties for even having a firearm during the commission of a crime, even if it is never discharged.
Federal law states that an individual may buy a rifle or shotgun when they turn 18. A person must be at least 21 to buy a handgun. A purchase typically requires a waiting period and a background check.
Even though the right to keep and bear arms is a constitutional right, not all Americans have it. If an individual has a restraining order against them, a conviction for domestic violence, a criminal record for a felony offense with a year or more in jail or has been judged, by a court, to be mentally incompetent, they may not possess a gun or buy one.
“If you are facing a charge for a crime and were carrying a gun at the time you were arrested, you need to speak to a criminal defense attorney. You also need to find out what the law is in your state and discuss what you may face later, should you be convicted. In some cases, a criminal attorney may be able to mitigate the charges, get them reduced, set up a plea bargain or even get the whole case thrown out. Never attempt to defend yourself alone,” added Grajek.
Thomas C. Grajek
206 Easton Drive, Suite 102
Lakeland, FL 33803
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