We’re less than two months into the new year, and so far, and there have already been 18 school shootings in the country. While some of the incidents involved either a school that was closed or an after-hours shooting on a campus, many had devastating consequences. In the latest one, which took place in Florida last week, 17 people were killed and 15 were injured.
When some of us picture a school shooting, we may envision some deranged adult bursting into a school and firing on children and teachers. In many cases, however, the shooter or shooters are themselves students or ex-students. Whatever the specifics of the shootings have been, it does call, we think, for a hard look at our gun laws. This includes some laws that may surprise you:
- Federal law requires that you be 21 years of age or older to buy a handgun, and 18 to buy a long gun. But not every legal seller of guns is federally licensed. Federal law requires you to be 18 to possess a handgun, but has no age restriction on the possession of long guns.
- Several states, including Arizona, allow a gun owner to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
- In Vermont, if you are 16 you can carry a concealed weapon and buy a handgun without parental permission. That’s less restrictive than the requirements to enter an R-rated movie.
- In numerous states, the law forbids an employer from preventing an employee from bringing guns to work and keeping them locked in their vehicles, even if they are parked on company property. In North Dakota, an employer may not even ask employees if their cars (on employer property) contain guns.
- The “no duty to retreat laws” are extended in dozens of states to included legally using deadly force against a perceived threat in a public place.
- “Open carry” is largely unregulated in most places in the U.S., with dozens of states allowing open carry of a handgun without a permit.
We could go on, but we’ll leave you with this. The semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, which was used in the recent Florida school shooting, can be purchased in Florida by anyone with a clean record who is at least 18 years old. There is no waiting period.
The Feldman Law Firm PLLC
1 E. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004