In what areas does a firearms consultant aid lawyers, law firms, businesses and individuals?
In general, a firearms consultant assists lawyers and law firms in criminal and/or civil and/or regulatory cases in a variety of ways. The most common is to help precisely identify, and then analyze, any particular legal issue under the facts of a case. The slightest change in facts may change the applicable law.
For example, take the issue of a criminal charge by a felon in possession of a firearm; a firearms consultant would be able to clarify or determine if the firearm that is the subject of the charge is indeed a firearm, versus an air rifle or an antique firearm. An antique firearm is one made in or before 1898 that does not use fixed cartridges (such as a cane gun). These are not regulated by Title I or Title II of the Gun Control Act (“GCA”). However, an antique firearm with new firearms parts may be a firearm subject to the Gun Control Act or state criminal law. Black-powder guns raise a number of related issues. These issues routinely trip up litigants and lawyers.
In some cases, the mere determination of whether a firearm is subject to Title I or Title II of the Gun Control Act is a very complex analysis. Thus, a firearms consultant should be able to address issues that range from ordinary firearms sold at gun shops and gun shows, such as handguns, shotguns, and rifles, which are known as Title I firearms, to machine guns, short-barrel shotguns, short-barrel rifles, suppressors, or other destructive devices that require an “SOT” to sell and transfer paperwork from ATFE, which are known as Title II guns or devices.
For every such issue, there are hundreds of local, state and federal laws and cases that may apply to the firearm’s issue, along with significant regulatory direction and guidance, such as from ATFE. In cases where there are multiple legal issues, such as in winding down and closing a large gun shop, thousands of laws may apply; and an attorney, working with a firearms parts and identification expert and/or firearms consultant, provides invaluable assistance, and with such precision, that effectively no amount of legal research could determine to properly wind down.
Most broadly, a firearms consultant assists with issues ranging from ATFE enforcement matters with Federal Firearms Licenses to purely criminal matters, such as the justification to use deadly force. In other words, the issues that a firearms consultant may be tasked to address may cover legal issues ranging from those unique to an FFL holder to an ordinary criminal defendant.
However, the complexity in the application and analysis of an issue under just the primary federal gun laws, the GCA and National Firearms Act, can necessitate hours upon hours of legal research and work on a relatively straight-forward issue. Therefore, firearms consulting for attorneys is one that focuses on the complexity of the potential applications of these bodies of primary, secondary, and regulatory law and known areas of conflict or those undeveloped. This is distilled for the attorney’s use relevant to his or her client’s legal issue and objective.
A firearms consult for attorneys is generally someone who has a long-term interaction and relationship with firearms, formal shooting experience in an on-going capacity, and is familiar with the policies that drive state and national laws, as well as industry trends and firearms industry litigation, such as negligent discharge of firearms in a gun shop, as it relates to regulated small arms (those .50 caliber and under).
In particular, a firearms consultant from Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. may be able to act as an expert witness and/or weigh in on topics ranging from deadly force doctrines to firearms & parts identification; workplace firearms policies; state-preemption and common legislative policies underpinning state/federal law; trends firearms industry litigation; criminal defense support (from causation to jury instructions); knowledge of the major federal firearms acts and ability to identify firearms issues in a case; gun shop/show operations; along with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) and import/export issues; and law drafting and legislative support.
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