Gun laws can be confusing. A gun owner could easily violate a gun law they didn’t know existed. Criminal penalties or civil liability may result—possibly without you even being aware of what you did wrong.
Whether you are facing gun violation charges or want to seek clarification to avoid a violation, a Seward gun lawyer can help you seek a positive resolution to your case.
Legal Terms Applicable to Gun Ownership in Seward
Nebraska Revised Statutes §28-1201 defines the term “gun” to include “any weapon which is designed to or may readily be converted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive or frame or receiver of any such weapon.” However, there are also more specific definition of certain types of firearms that Seward gun lawyers can help you interpret.
A firearm with barrel less than 16 inches long or one which is intended to be held and fired with one hand is classified as a “handgun.” Any firearm that is capable of shooting more than one shot automatically by a “single function of the trigger” without manual reloading is considered a machine gun, regardless of its size.
“Antique handguns” are those either manufactured before 1898 or made to replicate a pre-1898 firearm and that are unable to fire modern ammunition. These types of handguns are exempt from state handgun restrictions.
Overall Restrictions on Guns
State law allows firearms to be carried virtually without restriction so long as they are openly visible. One notable exception is on school property, where firearms are prohibited in most circumstances. Moreover, there are situations where it is illegal to possess certain loaded firearms, such as on a snowmobile or in a vehicle operating on the highway.
Local laws also name some additional restrictions. For instance, Seward Municipal Code §9.36.100 prohibits possession of a firearm by those convicted of certain offenses such as stalking or violation of a protection order, as well as those included in federal and state restrictions.
In order to carry a concealed handgun, it is usually necessary to have a permit. Those who carry a hidden handgun without a permit may be charged with a minor misdemeanor for a first offense, but subsequent violations may be charged as felonies. A seasoned attorney can work with a plaintiff to identify which specific regulations the court has accused him/her of violating and determine a specialized strategy to address the issues at hand.
Penalties for Gun Violations
The penalties for violations of local, state, and federal gun laws vary according to certain circumstances, such as the subsequent violation factor noted above. Some common violations of state gun laws—and their corresponding criminal classifications that gun lawyers in Seward often deal with—include:
- Possession of a handgun by a minor – Class I misdemeanor
- Possession of a firearm at school – Class IV felony
- Unlawfully transferring a firearm to a minor – Class III felony
- Possessing a firearm during commission of a felony – Class II felony
- Using a firearm to commit a felony – Class IC felony
A Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year of imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000. The penalties for a Class IV felony include up to five years in prison, and the sentences for more serious felonies can extend to a maximum of 20 or more years of imprisonment, plus thousands of dollars in fines.
Consult a Seward Gun Attorney Who Understands Local Laws
Alleged violations of gun laws can be more complicated than they may seem at first. There are numerous valid defenses to many statutory restrictions, so it is often possible to build a successful defense by proving that you or the circumstances you found yourself in meet the qualifications for such an exception.
If you are facing criminal charges involving firearms, a Seward gun lawyer who understands how local courts prosecute different types of violations can help you build an aggressive defensive strategy based on your unique circumstances. For help with firearms law in Seward, Nebraska, call Berry Law now to schedule a consultation.