If you do not understand the laws in your state, then there is a good chance you might break a few of them. Possession of a weapon or a firearm, in most states, is a serious felony. A felony is a crime that involves jail time and serious limitations on your activities. For example, you are not legally allowed to own a firearm in many states if you are convicted of any type of felony.
The problem some people run into is that they are not clear as to the difference between a firearm and a weapon. There is some overlap in these two categories, but there are also plenty of different interpretations that people need to be aware of.
A firearm is any type of weapon that is categorized as a gun. That list includes:
- Semi-automatic pistols
When an antique gun has been modified for display (the parts that allow it to shoot are removed), then it is considered a relic that is legal to own. But some people prefer to own display guns that can still fire, and that can cause problems. If you buy a firearm only to display it, that does not change its status as an active weapon. You still need to be licensed to have that weapon, where you do not need to have a license to own modified relics.
A weapon is a classification used when the device involved in a crime is not a firearm. However, legal authorities still often refer to a firearm as a weapon. Anything that can harm another person can be considered a weapon, but possessing potentially dangerous items does not mean you are in possession of a weapon.
For example, the long and sharp knife you use to carve the Thanksgiving turkey was bought at a department store and is not considered to be a weapon. While it can be used as a weapon, it is not considered to be an illegal weapon. A real sword with a sharp edge, in some parts of the country, is considered to be a weapon and might be illegal to own. If you own a sword that is illegal in your state, then you are in possession of a weapon.
Illegal Possession Of A Weapon
Illegal possession of a weapon occurs when you are legally not allowed to own a weapon, yet you still do. Each state has its own list of weapons that are illegal for certain types of people to own, such as convicted felons, and it is important that you know what is on those lists in your state to avoid violating the law.
The legal authorities separate weapons and firearms because there are often specific laws that deal with firearms that might not apply to any other type of weapon. It is a good idea to become familiar with the weapons and firearms laws in your state and what specific types of devices are illegal to own.