Perhaps no area of criminal law is as contentious, fluid and confusing to the public as laws related to firearms.
Gun laws can appear a patchwork of Federal, State and Local laws, with a great degree of variability from state-to-state, county-to-county, and town-to-town. And these laws are rapidly evolving as new court cases clarify firearm restrictions relative to the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
These factors, combined with an abundance of factual errors and misinformation on the internet and social media platforms, can sow confusion among otherwise law-abiding citizens about how and where they can buy, carry, transport and sell firearms for both sporting and personal protection purposes—leaving those citizens open to serious legal consequences in many cases.
More recently, many jurisdictions have moved toward unrestricted or “Constitutional” carry laws that allow firearm owners to carry their firearms without licensing those weapons with authorities in advance. Whereas in the past, gun owners likely would have participated in extensive training on local gun laws and safety as part of licensing programs, gun owners in unrestricted jurisdictions may have little to no exposure to even basic gun law or safety training before purchasing a firearm.
Effective Firearms Program
Most firearm arrests in every jurisdiction are prohibited person violations (e.g. underage, indicted or convicted felons, controlled substance users, undocumented persons, domestic abusers, etc.). These are obviously serious infractions that require a serious criminal justice response.
But many jurisdictions are also faced with prosecuting and adjudicating a growing number of firearm violations mostly related to confusion by firearm owners, particularly when those owners travel or move from less restrictive to more restrictive jurisdictions. These violations most frequently relate to:
Improper licensing, concealment or exhibition of firearms
Improper transport of firearms in vehicles
Possession of firearms in restricted areas, such as schools or government buildings
Improper transfer of firearms, either to prohibited users or using the wrong protocols.
So developing an effective program for diversion or alternate sentencing for “honest mistake” firearm offenders should start with developing a baseline understanding with the defendant that, contrary to what they may have read on Facebook, gun laws do exist and are enforced to different degrees throughout the U.S.
Likewise, a successful program should build on the assumption that, if the defendant was not knowledgeable about firearm laws, that defendant may also be lacking in firearm safety training. So basic training in safe firearms operations, transport and storage is also very important.
Finally, in the interest of general public safety, an effective firearms program should provide gun owners with information and resources they can use in special circumstances, such as during mental crises and confrontational scenarios.
The Advent Firearm Responsibility Course
Coming soon, Advent will release our online Firearm Responsibility course as part of the Advent eLearning platform. The course will include components of our Cognitive Behavioral programs from Dr. Amy Smith, as well as legal and safety instructions from appropriate subject matter organizations.
The course focuses on teaching offenders both legal and safe firearms ownership. The curriculum includes:
Concepts of punishment and deterrence in the criminal justice system, as well as the role that firearms and stolen firearms often play in violent crimes, accidents and suicides.
The legal framework of U.S. gun laws, including the role and intersection of Federal, State and Local laws concerning prohibited weapons, persons, and locations; open and concealed carry; unrestricted, shall-issue, and may-issue licensing; firearms transport; and background checks and private sales.
Firearm safety basics, including safe gun handling, firearm safety in the home and vehicles, and additional firearm precautions and storage around children and the mentally ill.
Cognitive behavioral methods gun owners can use to recognize if they may have anger issues and strategies they can use to diffuse anger situations and disrupt negative and potentially dangerous behaviors.
Additional resources, including state-by-state contacts for the appropriate authorities for gun-related questions, CCW training and licensing, and gun registration and transfers.
The course includes both required and optional text and video components and will take students four hours to complete at an eighth grade reading level or above. The course can be completed on most internet-enabled phone, computer or tablet, and browser and closed-captioning technologies allow for language translation and assistive technologies.
To Get Started
To learn more about Advent distance treatment programs and eLearning management platform, including demonstrations and reviews of our content, please email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your AdventFS sales representative. For a complete catalog of online programs, visit www.adventelearning.com