South Carolina has some of the most citizen-friendly gun laws in the nation. For many types of firearms, there are no restrictions on responsible use and ownership. However, certain classes of guns are always illegal, and parties must obtain a permit to conceal-carry handguns. Many of these laws can be confusing, and as a result, criminal charges can arise out of apparent illegal ownership or the possession of a firearm in a restricted area. In addition, many other types of criminal charges can become more severe due to the presence of a firearm at the scene.
Whether your criminal charges stems from confusion over the state’s gun laws or are the result of allegedly using a firearm to assist in the commission of another crime, a Columbia gun lawyer might be able to help. They could work with you to provide an analysis of the situation, give sensible legal advice, and strive for the best possible result.
The law in Columbia presumes that an individual has the right to keep firearms. However, these rights are not without restrictions. For example, those wishing to conceal-carry in public must obtain a license under South Carolina Code § 23-31-215. While the law operates on the assumption that a party will qualify for this permit, they must always carry it on their person or face allegations of illegal firearm possession.
Charges involving illegal possession may also arise from situations where a person allegedly brings a firearm into a restricted location. These include law enforcement buildings, airports, courthouses, or any other government buildings. Gun charges are misdemeanors where a conviction can result in a jail term of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000. In addition, convictions will cause a court to suspend a conceal-carry license for five years. A Columbia gun attorney could defend firearm owners against charges involving illegal possession.
Even if a person legally owns a firearm and brings it to a non-restricted location, they may still face gun charges under the state’s criminal law. In many situations, this involves the presence of a firearm during the commission of a crime. For example, a simple assault is a misdemeanor-level offense. However, using a gun during this crime raises the severity of the assault to a felony.
In addition, S.C. Code § 16-23-490 says that a separate criminal offense is possible in any case where a person commits a crime while holding a gun. A sentence of five years imprisonment will accompany any punishment connected to the underlying case. A firearms possession lawyer in Columbia could help develop a defense against allegations involving the illegal use of a firearm during the commission of another crime.
The right to bear arms is central to the rights of Columbia residents. However, these rights are not unlimited, and the illegal use or possession of firearms may bring severe punishments in certain instances. These can include the payment of fines, a loss of a conceal-carry license, or even imprisonment.
A Columbia gun lawyer might be able to help you to avoid these outcomes. Whether your case involves allegations of improper possession, bringing a gun into a restricted area, or the apparent use of a firearm while committing a separate crime, an attorney could make the best possible case for you. Schedule a consultation to learn more.