Another Supreme Court case that had a major impact on the right to bear arms was Columbia v. Heller, which took place in 2008. Heller challenged a ban placed on handguns in Washington D.C. that restricted the carry of a firearm throughout the city. He argued how this was a clear violation of his second amendment rights as a law abiding citizen to carry a gun. Heller eventually won the case, and the ban on handguns was lifted. These cases show several things. One, the government has the right to regulate what types of guns are appropriate and safe for the streets. Two, the government does not have the right to take the guns away from qualified citizens that aren’t mentally ill or convicted felons.
Every state has their own gun control laws, but certain federal laws preside over every state. These laws are mandatory for all states and they can carry some hefty penalties. For instance, if someone uses a firearm in a violent or drug-trafficking crime it’s punishable by a compulsory prison term of up to 20 years. Also, if the firearm has a silencer on it or it’s a machine gun, there will be a second conviction. This conviction leads to life imprisonment without release. There are particular groups of people, who are not allowed to possess, receive, ship, or transport a firearm or ammunition. Anyone who is an illegal alien cannot possess a gun. Felons who are convicted of crimes punishable by imprisonment for over a year cannot have firearms either. However, there is an exception for state misdemeanors punishable by less than two years. Certain unlawful drug users can not possess any firearms. These include certain depressants, narcotics, or stimulant drugs. Citizens that have renounced their citizenship are ineligible to possess. Certain people who are mentally unstable or committed to a mental institution cannot have guns. There’s also a federal law that bans anyone who was dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces from firearm and ammunition possession. The age limit for purchasing a rifle or shotgun is 18 years of age or older. The age limit for purchasing a firearm other than a rifle or shotgun is 21 years of age or older. Any person convicted of a misdemeanor crime relating to domestic violence has no permission to have a gun. Also, anyone who has a court order which restrains them from stalking, harassing, or puting the life of an intimate partner at threat, cannot possess a firearm or ammunition. There are several ways in which a person can acquire a firearm according to federal law. One way is through gun dealers. This transaction can only legally occur for handguns if the buyer is 21 years of age or older and the dealer is federally licensed to sell firearms in the individual's state of residency. An individual of 18 years of age and beyond, can purchase a shotgun or rifle in any state as long as the dealer is federally licensed. It’s against the law for any licensed manufacturer, licensed importer, or licensed dealer to deliver, transfer, or sell a firearm unless the federal firearms licensee receives approval from a prescribed source approving the transfer. There is a document called the federal form 4437 that needs to be filled out every time a firearm is sold. This form identifies who bought the gun and included other information about the buyer. It also records what kind of gun was purchased and what the serial number is on the firearm. There’s a particular notification that firearm dealers must send to the ATF if an individual purchases multiple handguns in a five-day period. If the dealer refuses to notify the ATF, there can be a punishment of up to $1000 and one year of imprisonment. There are also certain laws when individuals sell firearms amongst each other. A person who doesn’t have a federal firearms license cannot sell a gun to residents from another state without transferring the gun to a certified dealer in the purchaser’s state. The federal laws state that individuals cannot ship, transfer, or sell firearms to another state unless it’s the transferor’s state of residency.
Everyone has their own opinion about gun laws and gun control In America. There are studies that have been done which show statistics relating to gun ownership and statistics relating to firearms around the country. A survey shows that roughly 16,272 murders were committed during 2008 in the United States of America. Out of these killings, about 10,886 were committed with firearms. That’s 67% of the murders in the country. This shows how influential guns are in the American culture. Citizens of the United Kingdom are not allowed to have handguns under any circumstances. The only handguns allowed are by military and police. The United States has some the highest city murder rates in the world.
Gun control has been discussed in the United States for hundreds of years. It’s topic that has reached every corner of America. Many cases have been brought up in the Supreme Court that has challenged the second amendment. In the earlier years right after the civil war, the federal government gun control laws were abused by the southern states who saw flaws that they used to their advantage. The federal government has also played a major role in deciding what kinds of guns are acceptable to have. They’ve also set laws which decide who is allowed and who is not allowed to carry guns. The federal level has decided on these laws according to what they think is best for the country at large and not just the states. However, they’ve also allowed room for state government to make their own set of gun laws pertaining to their region.
Right from the year 1791, to the present day today, there have been a timeline of gun legislations and policies which have thrived trough out the American history. Closely tied to the gun control issue, together with the Second Amendment of the Constitution, several American National Organizations made and reached milestones and important federal legislations which were intended to govern the use and the possession of guns and firearms in the United States. Some of these decisions by the national organizations are such as; The National Rifle Association which was founded in the year 1871 by two Union soldiers, Gen. George Wingate and Col. William C. Church. Curing this time, the NRA was founded for the purposes of encouraging and promoting rifle shooting for scientific purposes.
Later, in 1938, the Federal Firearms Act (FFA) was enacted by the Congress and was aimed to govern the activities of those that were involved in the sale and the shipping of guns and firearms through foreign channels. This legislation required that every firearm seller and dealer should obtain a Federal Firearm License from the then, Secretary of Commerce. Like today’s gun control act, the Federal Firearms Act prohibited the gun dealers from selling to people who were convicted of felonies or those that lacked the permit to own a gun. About 30 years later, the Federal Gun Laws were revised in 1968, after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, who was killed using a mail-order gun. In the same year, the Gun Control Act was passed after the subsequent assassination of Martin Luther King and the presidential candidate Robert Kennedy. With the passage of this policy, came the expansion of the license requirements which included more detailed record keeping of guns sold by every dealer, with its primary aim being the ban of all mail-order gun sales.
In between the Gun Control Act of the year 1968, to 1994, were a series of policies which all were aimed at regulating the sale and the use of firearms. In 1994, however, a new policy named the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which was well renowned as the “Assault Weapon Ban,” was passed. Unlike many other policies that only restricted and banned the sale and the possession of firearms, this Act banned the manufacture, possession and importation of more semiautomatic assault weapons for the use by individual civilians. Additionally, this passage of this law prohibited juveniles from owning or even selling handguns. With this, this law also directed the attorney general to evaluate every proposed or existing state gun laws that involved minors.
In 2007, “The National Instant Criminal Background Check System” (NISC) improvement act was passed and became among the modern day American gun control acts. Its main objective was to provide a financial initiative for all states to provide the relevant information regarding whether a person is prohibited from owning a firearm or not. This law required that this information is given to the NICS, which is the database that conducted a background check every time a gun or any other firearm was purchased from a federally licensed dealer. Additionally, this legislation addressed the issue of the mentally ill about them owning any kinds of firearms. According to this legislation, for any mentally ill person to be eligible for the purchase of a gun, they needed to have a “relief from disabilities” implementation from their respective states.
From the above chronology of policies passed about gun control laws, it is evident that at this point, where the American gun control laws merit a whole lot concern and attention, several conflicting rules and legislations have been issued by the Federal American court of appeals.
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