Each state has their own laws and penalties regarding the unlawful possession of firearms. There are also federal laws governing unlawful possession of a firearm on federal property, such as a military base and most domestic and international airports.
In general, the law divides firearm offenses into two categories: carrying concealed firearms and using a firearm to commit a crime.
Carrying concealed firearms is usually a misdemeanor for first time possession and is usually not punishable by a prison time. An unarmed robbery, even though a felony, is not as serious as using a firearm to commit a robbery. Moreover, using a firearm that actually ends up in the death of another, whether intentional or not, falls under the felony-murder rule, which can lead to a conviction of murder in the first degree. What’s more concealing a weapon is considered a separate offense, which can result in further punishment.
The use or display of a firearm or other deadly weapon may elevate an offense to a more serious crime or increase the punishment. For example, an assault committed with a deadly weapon is a felony, while an unarmed assault is usually a misdemeanor.
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