The Rockin Johnny B

Friday, February 1, 2013

Okay, Here's the Real Skinny


With debates about gun laws louder than ever, misunderstandings and muddled deÿnitions abound. Today, IPT seeks to clarify some of the hazier points of discussion.

By IDAHO PRESS-TRIBUNE STAFF   © 2013 Idaho Press-Tribune

   Q: What do the White House’s proposed new firearm restrictions include?

   A. On Jan. 16, President Barack Obama put forth a multi-point plan that includes both executive actions and calls for new legislation. Among the proposals are:

   Requiring background checks for all gun sales. Licensed dealers are required to run background checks on those buying firearms, but sales at gun shows and between private owners are exempt. Proposals suggest requiring background checks any time ownership of a firearm is transferred, with some limited exceptions such as transfers between family members.

   Strengthening the background check system. The number of mental health records available through the system has increased 800 percent since 2004, but Obama’s proposal suggests including more records would increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the system.

   Banning possession of armor-piercing ammunition. It’s already illegal to manufacture or import armor-piercing bullets for civilian use. This proposal would ban possession by — and transfer to — anyone but police and military.

   Limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.

   Passing stronger restrictions on assault weapons, which brings us to our next question ...

   Sources: Assistant United States Attorneys Rafael Gonzalez and Aaron Lucoff,

   Q: What qualifies as an “assault rifle” under current federal law?

   A: “There is no legal definition of ‘assault rifle’ right now.” — Assistant United States Attorney Rafael Gonzalez Fully automatic weapons — firearms that fire more than one round per trigger pull — are classified as “machine guns” under the National Firearms Act of 1968 and have been restricted from civilian use for decades. The terms “assault rife” and “assault weapon” do not exist in current federal law. Under the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons ban, which expired in 2004, the definition of assault weapons included semi-automatic rifles with removable magazines and at least two of the following features: n Folding or telescoping stock n Pistol grip n Bayonet mount n Flash suppressor, or a threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor n Grenade launcher Since 2004, the definition of an assault weapon is simply not addressed by federal law. Any potential future legislation, Gonzalez said, will likely include a new definition that may not exactly match the previous one.

   Sources: Assistant U.S. Attorney Rafael Gonzalez, Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act

   Q. Can the government take my guns away?

   A. The proposal does not address the topic of confiscation. CONCEALED CARRY PERMITS

   Q: Can I carry a weapon in Idaho?

   A: You can legally carry a firearm as long as it is clearly visible. To carry a concealed weapon, you must obtain a concealed carry permit.

   Q: How can I get a concealed carry permit?

   A: Submit an application with your county sheriff. Typically, you’ll be required to complete a firearms training course first. Eligible courses include: an Idaho Department of Fish and Game hunter safety course, a National Rifle Association safety training course, or a program offered by local law enforcement or other qualified institution. Permits are valid for five years and cost $20 to apply, $15 to renew.

   Q: Are there places I can’t carry a firearm, concealed or otherwise?

   A: Yes, you cannot take a firearm into a courthouse, juvenile detention facility, jail, prison or school. Also, private property owners can prohibit firearms on their property, even if it’s open to the public. If in doubt, call ahead.

   Q: Can I carry a concealed weapon in Idaho if I have a concealed carry permit from another state?

   A: Yes, but you must have the permit on your person at all times while carrying the weapon.

   Source: Idaho Attorney General’s Office

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