Federal Firearm Crimes

Federal Firearms Laws: Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922 and 924

It is estimated that there are over 300 million firearms in the United States. That’s more than the entire population of our nation. As our country is diverse, so too are our firearms laws. Possession and sales laws vary from state to state – with some states being exceptionally permissive, while others are quite restrictive. The State of New York is arguably one of the latter with some of the harshest weapon and firearm laws on the books. Beyond the various states, layered on top is a complex and complicated set of Federal laws that further define one’s ability to sell or possess firearms. These Federal laws and crimes can affect licensed manufacturers, licensed dealers and firearms owners. Improper reporting, unlawful possession, distribution, transportation or use of a firearm can result in a lengthy mandatory minimum Federal prison sentence. For these reasons, if you are under investigation or have been charged with a Federal firearms offense, it is imperative that you understand the law and consult with and experienced Federal firearms lawyer or Federal criminal defense attorney to help guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf with your strongest possible defense.

Understanding the Elements of the Various Federal Firearms Criminal Statutes

As noted above, there are scores of Federal firearms statutes, rules and regulations. The following are some that are among the most prevalent.

Illegal Importing, Manufacturing or Dealing in Firearms: 18, USC, Section 922(a)(1)

Under Federal law, Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(a)(1), it is illegal for anyone except a licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer in firearms to engage in those activities as a business and thereby affect interstate or foreign commerce.

Sale to a Prohibited Person: 18, USC, Section 922(d)

Under Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(d), it is unlawful for any person to sell or give any firearm or ammunition to any person, knowing, or having reasonable cause to believe that such person:

  • is a convicted felon
  • is a fugitive from justice
  • is an unlawful user or addicted to any controlled substance
  • has been committed to any mental institution
  • is an illegal alien
  • has received a dishonorable discharge from the United States Armed Forces
  • has renounced U.S. citizenship
  • has a restraining order
  • has been convicted of any domestic violence crime.
Illegal Possession of a Firearm: 18 USC, Section 922(g)

Similarly, under Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g), it is unlawful for any person who:

  • is a convicted felon
  • is a fugitive from justice
  • is an unlawful user or addicted to any controlled substance
  • has been committed to any mental institution
  • is an illegal alien
  • has received a dishonorable discharge from the United States Armed Forces
  • has renounced U.S. citizenship
  • has a restraining order
  • has been convicted of any domestic violence crime

to possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, any firearm or ammunition.

False Statements Regarding Firearms: 18, USC, Section 924(a)(1)

Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(a)(1) makes it illegal for anyone to knowingly make any false statement or representation with respect to any records required to be kept regarding firearms. This can include any application, certification, authorization or licenses.

Possession or Use of a Firearm in a Violent or Drug Trafficking Crime: 18, USC, Section 924(c)

Under Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c), any person who, during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking offense, for which the person may be prosecuted in a court of the United States (making it a Federal offense), uses, carries or possesses a firearm shall be sentenced for the firearms offense in addition to any sentence for the underlying crime of violence or drug trafficking crime. Depending on the circumstances, this can result in an increase of 25 years to any other sentence.

Federal Firearm Crimes: Punishment, Sentence and Collateral Consequences

Any violation of these Federal firearms offenses is typically punishable by up to 10 years in Federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine for each offense. However, as noted above, if the crime involves drug trafficking or a crime of violence, the sentence can be as high as 25 years in prison, in addition to the sentence for the underlying offense.

New York State Firearm Crimes: Article 265 of the New York Penal Law

Not to be confused with Federal firearm crimes, New York weapon crimes involving pistols, revolvers, automatic weapons and other firearms are equally serious. In fact, if you possess a loaded firearm (New York’s definition of “loaded” does not require ammunition to be in the firearm), do not have a license to carry it in New York City or the State of New York, and you are not in your home or place of business, the minimum term of incarceration is 3.5 years and the maximum is 15 years. This offense, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, is only one of many New York gun and firearm crimes that do not require an intent to hurt or harm another person.

If you are caught in the middle of a Federal Firearms investigation, it is not merely important, but critical for you to identify and obtain a knowledgeable and experienced Federal criminal defense attorney. He or she can assist you in understanding the complex world of Federal Firearms law and advise you of your next move. Do not delay. The former prosecutors and criminal attorneys at Crotty Saland PC will advocate on your behalf to move your best defense forward. Let Crotty Saland PC’s experience, advocacy and knowledge work for you.

Call the Federal Firearms lawyers and former prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.
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