There has been a lot of discussion and even legislation on the local levels in a variety of cities and states to allow more people to carry firearms into more places. Regardless of whether you agree with this or not isn’t the issue here…the issue is if you, the one carrying the firearm, understand the laws and your responsibilities? Often times the answer is no!
Whether we are talking about firearms or anything else that requires people to better understand the law, if you don’t know what you can or can’t do within the law, you are at risk. And this doesn’t just belong with you but with anyone associated with you and the situation. Take for example the latest discussion of legalizing marijuana. Just because it is now legal and you can carry it and smoke it, does it mean you are completely free and clear if you don’t understand the local laws? You can still go to jail if you don’t and guns aren’t any different…not understanding the law is no excuse and won’t keep you out of jail.
I see this in regard to firearm carrying and transfer laws. Many don’t know what the actual laws are about legally carrying a firearm yet they carry the firearm. And the same goes for when they allow others to use their firearms. Do you know the local laws for who can shoot or carry your firearm? Do you know that certain accessories (such as suppressors) carry different laws than just your firearm? And if you are carrying or using someone’s firearm, do you know when they have to be present vs. just loaning it to you for the weekend?
The key for gun owners is to fully understand when and where certain laws apply. For example, there has been a lot of talk and changes relating to carrying firearms on college campuses, especially in Texas. What exactly does that mean? If you aren’t completely sure, then my recommendation is to not carry a firearm until you do. The problem for people is the consequences. Not understanding the law around firearms is treated very different than a speeding ticket. The fines are greater and the penalty can be significantly greater. Being handcuffed and put in jail is a very different experience than paying a speeding ticket.
Today we are seeing the most rapid rate of changes to gun laws because of all the awareness being brought by activist groups and criminals. The attention on firearms and the law surrounding them is “red hot” and so you will see lots of changes going on…some major that make all the news sources, and others not so major that you might miss. While I try to keep my clients up to date on most of these issues, it is also helpful to search different news sources for this information as well. As the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed. Stay in touch and stay out of jail.