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If someone is arrested on weapons charges in the United States it means that he or she has committed a crime involving the illegal possession or unlawful use of a weapon. It is a criminal offense with serious consequences. When an individual is convicted of weapons charges, the court may sentence the offender to serve time in prison and impose a fine. The judge usually takes many factors into consideration when sentencing someone who has been convicted of this offense.
Committing a crime, such as robbery, while in possession of a gun can result in felony weapons charges. Even if the suspect never revealed the fact that he or she was carrying the firearm at the time the crime was committed, the punishment could be more severe than if the same crime was committed while the perpetrator was unarmed. If the criminal threatened to use the weapon or displayed it while committing the crime, however, the felony charge would be more severe. A conviction of this charge would normally result in a longer prison sentence.
Many arrests made for weapons charges involve individuals who are caught carrying unregistered guns. Quite often, the violation is discovered during routine traffic stops. These arrests are made because U.S. federal law prohibits an individual to own or possess a firearm that is not registered with The National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.
Some jurisdictions allow an individual to carry a concealed, or hidden, gun in public as long as the individual carries a valid permit to do so. In order to receive a concealed weapons permit, certain qualifications must be met depending on the requirements of the local government. Successful completion of a gun safety course, a background check, or other stipulations may be required prior to receiving the permit.
Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit is illegal in many areas. Consequences vary based on the location of where the offense occurred. Stricter penalties are usually imposed if someone carries a weapon into a school or hospital, which is not usually allowed by anyone except law enforcement.
If an individual does own a legally registered gun and possesses a weapons permit, he or she is usually still bound by very strict rules about the way the gun is stored, displayed, or otherwise used. Laws can vary greatly from region to region. In some areas, even improper storage of a gun within a vehicle can result in a weapons charges arrest.