27 Nov 23

Fighting Federal Firearms Charges: What You Need to Know in NYC

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Last Updated on: 15th December 2023, 12:48 pm

Fighting Federal Firearms Charges: What You Need to Know in NYC

Getting charged with a federal firearms offense can be really scary. Trust me, I know. I’ve helped a lot of folks in NYC deal with these kinds of charges over the years. The penalties can be harsh, but with the right legal strategy, you can get through this.

There are a few key things to understand about federal firearms laws. First, they apply not just to firearms dealers or manufacturers, but also to regular folks who own guns. So even if you have a legal gun license in New York, you could still end up facing federal charges if the feds think you broke one of their laws.

Some of the most common federal firearms crimes include:

  • Possession of a gun by a convicted felon
  • Possession of a gun while under indictment for a felony
  • Possession of a stolen firearm
  • Providing false information on firearm paperwork (like ATF Form 4473)
  • Possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number
  • Possession of a machine gun
  • Possession of a firearm while under a domestic violence restraining order
  • Possession of a firearm while being an unlawful user of controlled substances
  • Possession of armor piercing ammunition

As you can see, some of these laws prohibit possession even if the person has no intent to commit further crimes. That’s why it’s so important to fully comply with all applicable state and federal laws if you choose to own firearms.

Penalties for Federal Firearms Charges

If convicted of one of these federal firearms offenses, you’re looking at up to 10 years in federal prison and fines up to $250,000 for each violation. Yikes! And if the crime involves drug trafficking or violence, the potential prison sentence goes up to 25 years.

But here’s the thing – the maximum sentences are rarely imposed except in the most extreme cases. My job as your defense lawyer is to identify weaknesses in the government’s case and negotiate for the lowest possible penalty. Prosecutors know that many federal gun laws are overly broad, so they are often willing to reduce charges.

Fighting the Charges in Court

If we can’t reach an acceptable plea deal, then we’ll have to fight the charges at trial. Believe it or not, these cases are very winnable if you have an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer on your side.

LEARN MORE  NYC Felony Lawyers

For example, in a recent case I defended, the ATF raided my client’s apartment and found an unregistered handgun. Their case seemed air tight – until I discovered the gun actually belonged to my client’s roommate who had asked him to temporarily hold it. We were able to show the roommate’s fingerprints on the gun, and my client was acquitted at trial.

I’ve also won several cases by showing federal agents violated my clients’ Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. If the search was illegal, the judge may suppress any evidence found during the search so it can’t be used against you.

Using the Second Amendment as a Defense

In light of the recent Supreme Court case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, we now have more power to challenge the constitutionality of certain federal gun laws.[1] The Bruen case established that Americans have a broad right to carry weapons in public for self-defense.

While federal laws still prohibit felons and domestic abusers from having guns, Bruen may open the door to overturning bans on certain weapons or requirements like obtaining a permit. My colleagues and I are looking closely at how this ruling can benefit our clients facing federal firearms charges.

Getting Your Guns Back

If you win your federal criminal case, you may be able to get your seized firearms returned. The process varies, but generally you would petition the court and the seizing agency (like ATF or NYPD) to release the weapons.

However, if your guns were used as evidence at trial, the prosecutor may try to convince the judge to keep them. You may need to file additional motions to get the judge to order their return.

Avoiding Future Charges

Once you beat a federal firearms case, you’ll want to be extra cautious about following all applicable laws going forward. Even minor violations could lead to new charges or probation/parole violations.

I advise all my clients to get rid of any questionable firearms and ammunition after their case is resolved. Better to play it safe than risk going back to prison! I can also help you understand the restoration of rights process if you want to legally purchase guns again in the future.

Work with a Passionate Legal Advocate

As you can see, defending federal firearms charges in NYC requires an experienced attorney with in-depth knowledge of the law. Don’t leave your fate in the hands of an overworked public defender.


I know how devastating these cases can be for individuals and families. I fight passionately for every client because I want you to move on with your life. Call me today for a free case evaluation. There’s always hope!


  1. New York Times article on the Bruen decision
  2. Overview of federal firearms crimes from New York criminal defense firm
  3. New York ammunition possession laws explained
  4. News report on Hunter Biden’s federal indictment
  5. Hunter Biden’s lawyers cite Bruen decision
  6. NY Bar Association analysis of the Bruen ruling