The right to keep and to bear arms is central to the rights of United States citizens. Despite the presence of the 2nd Amendment in the United States Constitution, both the federal government and individual states have the ability to take reasonable measures to limit this right.
Many laws limit the types of firearms that people may own. Others limit where people may take otherwise legal weapons. Some of the more severe consequences are reserved for criminal activity that involves the use of a firearm. A violation of any of these laws could result in serious consequences.
A Chattanooga gun lawyer could help people to understand the State’s gun laws and provide a powerful defense in court. Whether a person is facing an allegation of illegal gun ownership or charges of the improper use of a firearm, a gun charge lawyer may be able to help.
The first class of state laws that control the possession of guns is those that outright prohibit ownership. According to Tennessee Code Annotated §39-17-1302, under no circumstances may a person possess, manufacture, or transport:
A conviction for any of these offenses is a felony. Most are Class E felonies punishable by one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000. A Chattanooga gun offense attorney could provide more information about the potential penalties for a conviction.
Understandably, it is critical to have a thorough understanding of this law. For example, the law only applies if a person possesses the illegal weapon knowingly. An experienced gun charge attorney could provide alleged offenders with a plausible defense that could result in a dismissal of a charge.
It is also essential to understand what the law means when it prohibits possession of a machine gun or short-barrel firearm. Under TN Code Ann. §39-17-1301, a machine gun is a firearm capable of shooting more than two shots automatically and by a single pull of a trigger without manual reloading. Similarly, a short-barreled rifle has a barrel of fewer than 16 inches, while a short-barrels shotgun is less than 18 inches. A Chattanooga gun arrest lawyer could help to defend against charges of possessing an illegal firearm.
Another class of charges exists that punish the illegal use of otherwise legal guns. At the most basic level, TN Code Ann. §39-17-1307 says that it is illegal to carry a firearm with the “intent to go armed”. Here, a first violation is a Class C misdemeanor. In addition, the law creates a number of potential defenses that include:
As a result, the possession of firearms laws in Chattanooga is a complex tangle of licensing issues, as well as the question of an owner’s intent. A Chattanooga gun crime attorney could work to explain the laws that apply to every person’s case.
Where there is no confusion is in the question of using a firearm to commit a crime. These are cases where a person faces charges of allegedly committing an already illegal act and used a gun to help in that crime. According to TN Code Ann. §39-17-1324, it is a Class C felony to use a firearm in the commission or attempted commission of a dangerous felony. These crimes include murder, aggravated burglary, and carjacking. A Class C felony carries a mandatory six-year sentence in addition to any punishment applicable to the underlying offense. In this way, having a gun at the scene of an alleged crime is an aggravating factor that can bring severe consequences. A Chattanooga gun defense lawyer could provide an aggressive defense against allegations of illegal firearm use.
The gun laws in Chattanooga are a complex web of prohibitions, licensing requirements, and illegal activities. In short, some weapons are always illegal, others are illegal under limited circumstances, and it is always against the law to use a gun to commit another crime.
No matter the exact nature of the gun crime charges that you are facing, a Chattanooga gun offense attorney may be able to help. They could work to explain the relevant firearm laws, to evaluate the strength of the evidence that the State plans to bring, and to develop a defense strategy that fits your case. The penalties for a conviction can range from a simple fine to a mandatory, multiple-year prison sentence. Let a Chattanooga gun crime attorney fight to protect your future. Contact a Chattanooga gun arrest attorney today to learn more.