Misdemeanor Firearms Charges
Federal law lists categories of individuals disqualified from legally purchasing and possessing a firearm. This list comprises disqualifications that come from several different pieces of federal legislation, including the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act, and the Violence Against Women Act. If a person buys or attempts to buy a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee (“FFL”), he or she must not be disqualified under any of these laws. Before an FFL may sell or otherwise transfer a firearm, the purchaser must fill out an ATF Form 4473. This form has questions concerning each of the criteria that disqualify a person to purchase a firearm under federal law. These disqualifications specifically include (among many prohibited groups): fugitives from justice; anyone convicted of a felony; anyone who uses or is addicted to illegal drugs; and those under some form of domestic protective order, though this list is not exhaustive.
Additionally, misdemeanor violations may permanently restrict an individual’s right to possess firearms or ammunition. Anyone convicted in any court for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence is, pursuant to 18 USC §922(g), permanently restricted from possessing firearms or ammunition. This would include misdemeanors under either federal or state law that have as an element the use or attempted use of physical force or threat of the use of a deadly weapon against anyone who falls within the protected class (spouses, former spouses, a co-parent, boyfriend, girlfriend, former roommate, to name a few).
Restrict Your Ability to Possess
Moreover, state law misdemeanor firearms convictions may restrict either your ability to possess a Weapons Carry License, even though these charges are not felonies. Any person convicted of carrying a weapon without a license under O.C.G.A. § 16-11-126 or carrying a weapon or long gun in an unauthorized location under O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127 who possesses a Weapons Carry License will have the license revoked by the issuing probate court, and will not be eligible for reinstatement until the offender has been free from probation and other arrests for five years.
Loss of a Weapons Carry License
There is a myriad of other misdemeanor firearms charges in Georgia that can have a lasting impact on a gun owner’s possession of firearms and liberty. Misdemeanor drug convictions will result in loss of a Weapons Carry License for a minimum period of five years; while such a misdemeanor conviction in itself will not result in loss of firearms possession privileges, possession privileges will be restricted to those afforded a Georgia resident without a license: home, car, place of business, and other limited locations listed in O.C.G.A. §16-11-126. Possession of a firearm in an unauthorized location, such as a courthouse, jail, or government building with security screening may carry arrest and jail, depending on whether the offender is a Weapons Carry License holder; it is a misdemeanor for a Weapons Carry License holder to possess a firearm in a school safety zone in violation of the restrictions of O.C.G.A. §16-11-127.1 (those without a license in a similar situation will be charged with a felony); and it is a misdemeanor for anyone, license or not, to discharge a firearm without justification within 50 yards of a public highway.
Firearms laws can be. Whatever the charge, in a situation where you or someone you love have been charged with a firearms violation, the assistance of an attorney is critical. No matter the firearm charge, our professional attorneys will be there to help.