Federal, state and local gun laws are sometimes driven by emotion following a high profile event in the news as well as policy. Understanding four key dynamics of the law will allow you to stay out of jail and be a respectful gun owner.
- First, firearms are by design, much like chain saws, gasoline, and baseball bats, inherently dangerous items. This means that there is significant danger to life and limb by improper use. However, because of the political “camps” that are often defined as “pro” or “anti” gun, negligence is more likely to be addressed in the criminal system versus a civil law suit for injury. So extraordinary caution should be exercised with firearms to avoid criminal risk.
- Second, the “castle doctrine” that allows an individual to stand his or her ground and not retreat in his home or curtliage has limits. The use of force, including deadly force, must be “reasonable.” This is generally judged by police, prosecutors, judges or juries under an objective standard. This means that if there are obvious and safe choices to avoid the threat, you should take them.
- Third, in Indiana, a permit is technically a license to carry a handgun. It does not apply to possession or carry of any other firearm, such as shotguns or rifles. However, you may need a second type of license to hunt with a handgun or long gun. Indiana does not require registration of firearms, except for a federal “tax stamp” for NFA weapons. Failure to understand these distinctions may result in conviction for carrying a handgun without a license or illegal hunting.
- Fourth, a pellet or BB gun is not a firearm, but is still a dangerous weapon that you may injure or kill another person with improper use (i.e., not being aware of the backstop and where the projectile may end up). People have been killed in Indiana and across the United States with these weapons. They are not toys and, failure to recognize this, may result in injury or death of another and your conviction for reckless homicide.
We hope you find this blog post on unique aspects of gun lawful helpful to promote safe handling and ownership of firearms and similar weapons. If so, it has met it objective. This blog is not intended to provide specific legal advice to any given situation or a solicitation for representation. Ciyou & Dixon attorneys defend criminal cases in Indiana and consult on firearms issues of varying types across the United States.