Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer for State and Federal Gun Crime Cases Nationwide
Gun crimes are serious offenses that carry serious penalties. Whether prosecuted at the state or federal level, most gun crimes carry substantial fines and prison sentences. In many cases, prosecutors will have strong evidence of guilt, and defendants will face an uphill battle to avoid unnecessary consequences.
Federal Gun Crime Report Likely to Trigger Enhanced Targeting and Prosecution of These Offenses
In February 2023, the federal government released its first comprehensive report on gun crimes in the U.S. in over twenty years. As one media outlet summarized, the report showed, “a shrinking turnaround between the time a gun was purchased and when it was recovered from a crime scene, indicating firearms bought legally are more quickly being used in crimes around the country.” The report also found that ghost guns and converted semiautomatics are also on the rise.
Based on these findings, we expect to see a sharp increase in the prosecution of gun crimes at both the state and federal levels. We also expect prosecutors to pursue maximum sentences in most serious gun crime cases. If you are under investigation, under arrest, or facing charges, you need an experienced defense team on your side.
Our Former Prosecutors and Federal Agents Have the Experience You Need
At The Criminal Defense Firm, our former federal prosecutors and federal agents have the experience you need to avoid unnecessary consequences when facing serious gun crime allegations. If you need a gun crime lawyer anywhere in the country, you can put the full weight of our team on your side. Having spent decades investigating and prosecuting gun crimes on behalf of state law enforcement agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and other authorities, we know how these authorities pursue gun crime cases. We also know how to combat their strategies, and we have a proven record of success both before and during trial.
Common Charges in Federal Gun Crime Cases
All 50 states have gun laws, and the prohibitions on various types of weapons and munitions vary widely from one state to the next. If you are facing gun crime charges at the state level, we can examine the charges against you and build a custom-tailored defense based on the law in your state. But, since gun crimes are increasingly being prosecuted at the federal level, we’ll outline some of the most common federal gun charges here.
Illegally Importing or Dealing in Firearms (18 U.S.C. Section 922(a)(1)(A))
Under 18 U.S.C. Section 922(a)(1)(A), it is a federal crime to import or deal in firearms without a valid license. This includes, but is not limited to, shipping or receiving any firearm in interstate or foreign commerce in connection with such unlicensed business activities.
Illegally Manufacturing Firearms (18 U.S.C. Section 922(a)(1)(A))
Manufacturing firearms without a valid license is also a federal offense under 18 U.S.C. Section 922(a)(1)(A). This includes 3D printing and other means of manufacturing ghost guns. Shipping an illegally manufactured gun in interstate or foreign commerce is a federal offense under this statute as well.
Illegally Importing or Manufacturing Ammunition (18 U.S.C. Section 922(a)(1)(B))
18 U.S.C. Section 922(a)(1)(B) is similar to 18 U.S.C. Section 922(a)(1)(A), but it applies to ammunition instead of firearms. This federal statute makes it a crime to “engage in the business of importing or manufacturing ammunition,” or to ship or receive ammunition in interstate or foreign commerce in connection with such business without a license.
Illegally Shipping Firearms as a Licensed Importer, Manufacturer, Dealer, or Collector (18 U.S.C. Section 922(a)(2))
Even for licensed importers, manufacturers, dealers, and collectors, federal law still strictly controls the movement of firearms in interstate and foreign commerce. Shipping a firearm to any person other than another licensed individual or business is prohibited in most (but not all) circumstances under 18 U.S.C. Section 922(a)(2).
Illegally Buying a Firearm in Another State (18 U.S.C. Section 922(a)(3))
Under 18 U.S.C. Section 922(a)(3), it is a federal crime for any unlicensed person to buy a firearm in one state and then transport it (or have it shipped) to the state where the buyer resides. But, there are some exceptions, and these exceptions will provide crucial defenses in many cases.
Using False Information to Acquire a Firearm (18 U.S.C. Section 922(a)(6))
Under 18 U.S.C. Section 922(a)(6), it is a federal crime to, “knowingly . . . make any false or fictitious oral or written statement or to . . . exhibit any false, fictitious, or misrepresented identification, intended or likely to deceive,” in connection with the acquisition of a firearm. This includes using a fake ID or license, submitting false information on an application, inputting false information online, and other forms of fraud.
These are just examples. There are many more gun crimes under 18 U.S.C. Section 922 and various other federal statutes. If you are facing any federal allegations related to the acquisition, sale, transportation, or use of a gun or ammunition, you need to speak with an experienced gun crime lawyer as soon as possible.
Potential Penalties in Federal and State Gun Crime Cases
In federal gun crime cases, the penalties that are at stake depend on the specific charge (or charges) involved. Most violations of 18 U.S.C. Section 922 and other federal gun laws carry statutory fines and a maximum prison sentence of five or ten years. However, some gun crimes carry maximum sentences of 20 years; and, in cases involving the use of a firearm in connection with the commission of another federal felony, there is the possibility of facing 30, 40, or 50 years—or even life imprisonment.
While federal penalties tend to be more substantial than state penalties, gun crimes are frequently an exception to the rule. Each state sets its own penalties for gun crimes and other offenses, but it is not unusual for state gun crimes to carry several years or decades of imprisonment.
FAQs: Defending Against State and Federal Gun Crime Charges
How Does the Second Amendment Apply in Federal Gun Crime Cases?
While the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives U.S. citizens the right to bear arms, this right is not absolute. Congress can enact laws that restrict the right to own or possess firearms in the interests of public safety, and the federal government has had gun laws in place for decades. With that said, it is possible to assert the Second Amendment as a defense to certain gun-related charges in some cases; and, when you speak with a gun crime lawyer at The Criminal Defense Firm, your lawyer will examine all of the possible defenses to the charge (or charges) against you.
How Does the Second Amendment Apply in State Gun Crime Cases?
The Second Amendment applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. This means that the Second Amendment defenses that apply in federal gun crime cases will generally apply in state gun crime cases as well. While the states can also enact controls on firearms and munitions that are intended to protect public safety, these laws can—and do—go too far in some cases.
What Are Some Potential Defenses to State and Federal Gun Crime Charges?
Like all criminal charges, there are a variety of potential defenses to gun crime charges at the state and federal levels. Along with Second Amendment defenses, these include defenses such as: (i) lack of knowledge or intent, (ii) compliance with applicable licensing requirements, (iii) execution of an unconstitutional search or seizure; and, (iv) insufficient evidence to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
What is 'Constructive Possession' in a Gun Crime Case?
Constructive possession is a legal theory that allows prosecutors to pursue gun crime charges even when a defendant is not directly in physical possession of a gun at the time of his or her arrest. If prosecutors can show that you were able to exercise “dominion and control” over the firearm (or firearms) in question, this can be enough to establish the possession element of a state or federal gun charge.
How Does Gun Possession Affect Other Felony Cases?
If you are being charged with using a firearm in connection with a drug crime, manslaughter, murder, or any other violent crime, this can significantly increase the risks involved. This is true at the state and federal levels. Even if you were legally in possession of the gun in question, using a firearm (or even simply possessing a firearm) during the commission of another offense can significantly increase the penalties that are on the table.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation with a Senior Gun Crime Lawyer
Unlike other law firms, we do not employ junior associates. All members of our team are senior-level attorneys and defense consultants, many of whom have decades of prior DOJ or FBI experience. To discuss your case with a senior gun crime lawyer at The Criminal Defense Firm in confidence, call 866-603-4540 or request a free consultation online now.