The laws that govern firearms on a federal level can be very complex, and a conviction on federal firearms charges can lead to serious criminal penalties. In addition, these laws also give prosecutors a variety of ways to prosecute those suspected of such offenses. As a result, federal prosecution of gun-related crimes has increased in recent decades. With this in mind, it is important to understand the law and how it might apply if you are ever facing federal weapons charges.

Illegal Selling of Firearms

There are a number of federal statutes that pertain to selling firearms, including requirements for licensing and the restriction of moving certain types of firearms from one state to another. Under Title 18, Section 922 (a) of the United States Code, it is illegal to sell firearms across state lines unless the seller has a license to do so. If you are convicted of interstate selling of firearms without a license, you could face five years in federal prison.

Licensed weapons dealers could also face federal criminal charges for selling a firearm to anyone who is not legally allowed to own a firearm under federal or state law. This includes prospective buyers who do not meet the age requirements for buying a gun, as well as those who have had their right to own or possess a firearm restricted by a domestic violence-related order of protection. A licensed dealer who sells weapons illegally could face up to ten years in prison and the loss of his or her license.

Making False Statements

Those looking to buy a firearm are also responsible for following the law as well. When you buy a weapon, there is usually a substantial amount of paperwork that you will need to complete. You must answer the questions honestly and completely, and you must not misrepresent yourself to either the government or the dealer. If you are convicted of making false or misleading statements, you could spend up to ten years in prison.

Buying a firearm for someone who is prohibited from owning a weapon falls under this category as well. This is known as a “straw purchase,” and it carries the same penalty as making false statements.

Possessing or Using a Firearm While Committing a Crime

Federal law is especially harsh on those who possess or use firearms in the commission of other criminal offenses. It is expressly against the law to use or even possess a weapon during the commission of a violent crime or while involved in drug trafficking. Depending on the circumstances, a conviction for using or possessing a weapon while committing a crime could result in a federal prison sentence of up to 30 years. In many cases, this sentence may be added to the sentence for the original crime.

Contact an Illinois Federal Weapons Charges Attorney

These offenses are just some of the more common federal weapons crimes, and federal prosecutors can pursue many others. If you are facing a firearms charge in federal court, contact an experienced Chicago federal gun crimes defense attorney at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel. Call 312-270-0999 for a free consultation with a member of our team today.


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