As citizens of the United States, we are protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution with the right to keep and bear arms. However, access to guns is controlled by law under several federal statutes that regulate the manufacture, trade, possession, transfer, record keeping, transport and destruction of firearms, ammunition and firearms accessories.
These laws are enforced by state agencies and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Our criminal defense team takes a closer look at federal gun laws and what places are considered a “No Gun Zone”.
Federal Gun Laws
First things first, to own and possess a gun, only eligible persons can do so. This includes:
• United States citizens,
• Nationals but not citizens of the United States,
• Lawful permanent residents of the United States or “Green Card Holders”,
• Aliens who have been lawfully admitted to the United States under a non-immigrant VISA.
Bear in mind, each state has its own laws regarding who is permitted to own or possess firearms as well as various permitting and background check requirements.
“No Gun Zones”: Where Can’t I Carry?
Federal laws ban the carrying of firearms on most federal properties, which also applies to concealed carry permit/license holders. These prohibited areas include:
• Federal courthouses
• Federal buildings, including the Post Office
• Any building owned, leased or rented by the federal government
• Sterile areas of airports – An individual may not carry a firearm (or any other weapon) in any accessible property to the airport, a sterile area of an airport or when attempting to board (or while onboard) an aircraft.
• Buildings in national forests (visitors centers or ranger stations) – There is not a federal law that prohibits carrying in national forests -only the buildings. Each state controls the carrying of firearms in national forests in their state.
• Federal prisons
• National cemeteries
• Military bases – While each base may have different policies, any visitor who arrives at a military base with a firearm(s) must leave the firearm with the guards at the gate. The only people permitted to carry guns at a military base (concealed or otherwise) include:
o On-duty military police who handle routine security
o On-duty local or state police officers visiting the base for official business purposes
o A person who has been granted special permission to carry by the base commander
o Off-duty active military police, criminal investigators, Marine Corps law enforcement program police officers can carry personally owned weapons on base if they comply with the 2016 Department of Defense Directive.
For applicable properties, firearms are also prohibited in parking lots adjacent to, or part of, the facility if the federal entity owns or has control of the parking lot and has posted a “No Firearms” sign.
Other “no gun zones” include:
• Rented offices – Any part of a building rented by the federal government is illegal to carry. However, a person can carry in the rest of the building if state or local laws allow.
• Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – This pertains to any federal property on BLM land that is operated by the federal government.
• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – This department has jurisdiction over any particular dam site and all waters backed up by the dam. All firearms are prohibited on Corps property unless written permission has been received from the District Commander. Firearms can be unloaded and secured in a vehicle while on Corps property.
• Indian reservations – Carry on Indian reservations is controlled by tribal law, and therefore, permission to carry must be granted by the individual tribe. Certain tribes consider federal and state highways that run through their property as being under their control.
As you can tell from this exhaustive list, it is easier than you may think to violate Federal gun laws. Have a top-rated defense team on your side. Former Prosecutor turned criminal defense lawyer, Ben Stechschulte has the trial experience you need. Call 813-280-1244 for a free case review now.
Federal Firearms Defense
Whether you forgot to pack your gun separately when traveling, accidentally brought it onto federal property, or were involved with another gun crime, Stechschulte Nell Law will fight for your rights and freedom. If you’ve been charged with a federal firearm or gun crime, it could lead to serious penalties.
It is critical to hire an experienced federal criminal defense attorney to handle your case. Call our South Tampa law firm for more information or to schedule a free case review at 813-280-1244.