People in Mississippi may benefit from learning more about federal firearm laws. Most people are familiar with the second amendment protecting the right to bear arms. Beyond that, there’s a history of federal regulations designed to restrict ownership of certain types of firearms. The federal government defines a firearm as any weapon, including a starter gun, that expels a projectile using an explosive. This includes frames, receivers and destructive devices involving explosives, incendiary or poisonous gas.
Federal firearms laws
The National Firearms Act in 1934 was the first federal law regulating how firearms were manufactured, transferred and sold in the United States. The act levied a tax on manufacturing, transferring and selling certain types of firearms, including short-barrels rifles or shotguns, silencers and machine guns. Since 1934, the NFA has been followed by a number of other federal policy regulations, including the Federal Firearms Act of 1938, the Gun Control Act of 1968, and the Brady Act of 1993.
Understanding firearms regulations
The FFA imposed a federal license requirement on importers, gun manufacturers and anyone selling guns in the United States. The FFA required federal firearms licensees to maintain customer records and made it unlawful to transfer firearms to prohibited purchasers like convicted felons. The Gun Control Act revised the NFA, repealed the FFA and maintained several provisions from both acts. The Brady Act revised the GCA, replacing the five-day waiting period with an instant check system to screen prohibited purchasers.
Assault weapons in the U.S.
The assault weapon ban of 1994, prohibited manufacturing, transferring and possessing semi-automatic weapons. The act also banned transferring and possessing large-capacity ammunition devices holding over ten rounds. The act contained a sunset provision and Congress allowed the ban to expire in September 1994. Federal firearm offenses may be punishable by five to ten years in prison.