Possessing a firearm requires complying with state and local regulations. As gun laws go, Missouri is generally considered one of the more lenient states in the country. With that said, however, it is important to understand that possession of firearms can carry criminal penalties if not done so within the boundaries of the law.
A charge of illegal gun ownership can result in serious consequences, so it is important to have knowledge and understanding of the laws that govern firearm possession in Columbia. A skilled gun attorney can explain these regulations in further detail during a consultation.
Understanding who is legally allowed to possess a firearm is the first step to staying on the right side of the law in Columbia. The laws in this area are complicated and depend upon factors including criminal backgrounds, age of the person carrying the firearm, and the circumstances of the possession. Missourians at any age can open carry any firearm, unless otherwise prohibited. In order to carry a concealed weapon without a permit in Missouri, you must be at least 19 years old. As long as someone is 19 or older, a permit is not required to carry a concealed weapon.
Purchasing a firearm adds another layer of complexity. Federal law imposes minimum age requirements for selling firearms from a licensed dealer. Under federal law, you must be 21 years old to purchase a handgun and at least 18 years old to purchase a rifle from a dealer. Additionally, a background check is required if purchasing from a dealer, but not for a private sale.
Despite these complexities it is clear that possession of a firearm by anyone previously convicted of a felony or domestic violence is prohibited. It is also important to understand that possession of certain firearms such as machine guns, silencers, short-barreled rifles or shotguns, or any firearm with an obliterated serial number is prohibited.
In Columbia, the penalty for unlawful possession of firearms is a class D felony, which can carry a prison sentence of up to seven years and/or a fine of up to $10,000. According to Missouri gun laws, the illegal possession of firearms charge would rise to a Class C felony in a couple of ways. The first is if he/she has been convicted of a felony in the past, either in Missouri or in another state. The second is if he/she is a fugitive from justice or found to be in a habitually intoxicated or drugged state, or alternatively, found to be mentally incompetent.
If found guilty of Class C felony possession of firearms, a person is looking at serious criminal penalties. These can include up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of $5,000. Additionally, pursuant to section 571.020, of the Missouri Revised Statutes, a Class C felony charge can be brought if the individual “possesses, sells, repairs, manufactures, or transports an explosive weapon, an incendiary, or a poison substance with the intention of manufacturing or selling an explosive weapon, a gas gun, or any bullet or projectile that detonates or explodes on impact due to an independent explosive charge.”
A charge of illegal possession of a firearm is a serious offense in Columbia. If you are facing such a charge, it is important to seek legal assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will thoroughly investigate the details and circumstances of your case and be able to provide you with legal advice about how best to proceed.
They will review the evidence, including police reports, witness statements, and any other documents that may be relevant to your case. In the event your case goes to trial, an experienced criminal defense lawyer will work diligently to protect your legal rights and seek the best possible outcome. This includes working to get the charges reduced or dismissed altogether.
At the Law Offices of Chris Miller, our team of criminal defense lawyers has extensive experience defending clients against illegal firearm possession in Columbia. We understand that these cases are complex and require sophisticated strategies and tactics to defend clients.
Our attorneys will work diligently to ensure your rights are protected and help you get the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.