Understanding Federal Gun Charges
Under the Second Amendment, people have the right to bear arms, but that right is not absolute. Federal law regulates and criminalizes certain actions related to firearms. Violating these regulations could result in severe penalties, including hefty sentences and steep fines.
If you are facing firearm-related charges, it’s extremely important to speak with a Fort Worth federal gun lawyer as soon as possible. With years of handling gun cases, our experienced defense attorneys can greatly increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
Federal Gun Laws
Although Texas is a gun-friendly state, there are federal laws that govern the sale and possession of firearms. Two of the most common federal firearm charges include the unlawful selling or possessing of a firearm and the use of a firearm while committing a violent crime or drug trafficking.
Unlawful Sale or Possession of a Firearm
Federal law regulates gun sales through licensing requirements and limiting the transportation of weapons across state lines. For example, under 18 United States Code §922(a), it is a crime to sell guns without the required license across state lines. Violators can face up to five years in prison. Even with the proper license, it is still illegal to sell guns to certain people, including minors, felons, and undocumented immigrants.
When it comes to possessing firearms, federal law is stricter than state law. Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), convicted felons, fugitives, drug addicts, mentally ill individuals, illegal immigrants, people convicted of domestic violence, and those who have been dishonorably discharged from the military are all barred from owning firearms.
It is also illegal to possess a stolen firearm or possess a firearm in a school zone. Violation of any of these laws could result in serious legal consequences.
Use of a Firearm During a Violent Crime or Drug Trafficking
Individuals accused of using a firearm to commit a violent crime or drug trafficking often face a hard time in federal prison. Under 18 U.S.C. § 924, a defendant faces a minimum of five years in prison for possessing a gun during a violent or drug trafficking crime. The punishment escalates to a minimum of seven years in prison for brandishing a gun and a minimum of 10 years for discharging a gun during a violent or drug trafficking crime.
The type of firearm used also could affect the potential punishment. For example, if a defendant uses a rifle or shotgun, they face a minimum 10-year sentence. Using a machine gun escalates the punishment to a minimum of 30 years in prison. Defendants face harsher punishments if they acted in groups or committed multiple crimes.
A Fort Worth attorney knowledgeable about federal gun laws can help you understand the complexities surrounding your charges and work to build a defense that will minimize your exposure to federal prosecution.
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm (by a Prohibited Person)
This is prosecuted under 18 USC 922(g) and carries up to 10 years in prison. However, be careful of the Armed Career Criminal Act. A person with three or more prior felony convictions for crimes of violence or drug trafficking will a minimum 15 year sentence.
Possession of a Stolen Firearm
Under 18 USC Sections 842(h), 922(i), (j), and (u) this is punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison.
Possession of a Prohibited Firearm
These charges carry 5-10 year sentences.
– Possession of a firearm with the manufacturer’s serial number obliterated, removed or altered: 5 years
– Possession of a machine-gun made after 1986: 10 years.
– Possession of a semi-automatic assault weapon manufactured after September 13, 1994: 5 years.
– Possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device (holding more than 10 rounds) manufactured after September 13, 1994: 5 years.
– Possession of a sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, silencer or destructive device without registration. 10 years.
Making a false statement to a licensed firearms dealer in connection with the purchase of a firearm
This is a federal offense under 18 USC 922(a)(6). This carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Defending Against Accusations of Firearm Violations
There are a variety of defenses that a well-versed gun lawyer in Fort Worth can lodge in a federal gun case. For example, arguing duress or necessity may negate the criminal intent behind the crime.
Additionally, the Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, meaning the firearm may be excluded or thrown out if the police were found to have violated this right. For example, if a firearm was discovered in a vehicle, a skilled attorney can evaluate whether the stop and search were lawful. If not, the firearm may be excluded from trial, which often results in the case being dismissed because the gun is the key to the entire criminal case. This is why it is vital to have a seasoned federal defense attorney on your side from the beginning.
Reach Out to a Fort Worth Federal Guns Attorney
Facing a federal gun charge can negatively impact your personal and professional life for a very long time. That’s why it’s important to speak with a Fort Worth federal guns lawyer as soon as possible. The longer you wait to obtain an attorney, the more time the federal government has to build its case against you. Get ahead by calling an attorney at Varghese Summersett now and improve your chance of a successful defense. Our team has years of experience handling gun cases and understands the complexity of federal procedures and penalties. We have an outstanding track record and more five-star reviews than any other criminal defense firm in Texas. Call today for a free consultation.