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Weapons & Guns + Laws, Charges & Statute of Limitations

June 26, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys
Weapons & Guns + Laws, Charges & Statute of Limitations
Firearms and weapons laws are complex. There are state and federal laws that govern who can own firearms, the type of legal firearms, and where you can possess said firearms. You should know that because there are so many different laws that regulate firearms, there is also the possibility of a variety of federal gun charges that are possible.

What Are The Federal Gun Laws?

The purpose of federal gun laws is to protect citizens against the illegal use of firearms. The unlawful use of firearms includes importation and the use of firearms in crimes.

There are penalties for gun law violations. The 18 United States Code Section 922 outlines federal gun laws. Each state has different gun laws. In most states, firearms are required to be purchased from a licensed dealer. In the case of purchasing from a private owner, you must legally document the transfer of ownership.

When transferring ownership of a firearm, the failure to properly report could lead to penalties. Also, you do not want to be responsible if the new owner participates in an unlawful act with the weapon.

What Are The Federal Gun Crimes & Charges?

Most of the federal gun laws have a specific target. The manufacture and importation of firearms are two of the main areas that are strictly governed by federal gun laws. In the United States, certain guns are not allowed. There are a few firearms that are prohibited from being sold (or manufactured) in the U.S.

Federal gun laws outline the permits and requirements to own a firearm in the U.S. Although, the U.S. federal government created legislation for gun laws and gun crimes, each state has its authority. Gun crimes are typically prosecuted differently from other crimes. Especially, if a firearm is used in a felony. Federal offenses with firearms can impact the charges and sentencing of the crime.

The most common gun charge is the illegal trafficking of guns. Illegal trafficking of guns can include the unlawful trafficking or distribution of guns across state lines. Another federal gun offense is the importation of firearms from foreign countries.

To import guns, you must be licensed. Manufacturers and dealers have a license to import guns. If you are not a licensed importer such as a manufacturer or dealer, you cannot do the following:

• Participate in the business of manufacturing guns
• Engage in dealing or importing guns
• Send or receive any firearms from outside of state lines
• Participate in the transport of restricted weapons. Firearms like short-barreled shotguns, rifles, or machine guns are illegal in the U.S. and therefore restricted and not allowed to be transported
• You cannot sell, trade, give, or transport any guns to someone that is not a resident of the state you live in

The restrictions listed above are only a brief overview of the full list of restricted activities. You should know that the above restrictions only apply to those that are not a licensed dealer, importer, or manufacturer of firearms.

Punishments Connected to Federal Gun Charges

Punishments and penalties connected with gun charges can vary widely. Each case is different. The punishment given in a gun charge is dependent on the state in which the crime is committed. Also, the laws that were broken during the crime.

The federal government has guidelines that require anyone that uses a firearm in crime to face a mandatory minimum sentence.

Sentencing Guidelines for Federal Gun Charges

As mentioned, the federal government makes it known that mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines apply to all gun-related crimes.

A mandatory sentence for a gun crime can range from 5-30 years. A 5-30 year sentence is given to anyone that possesses, uses, or shows a gun during a violent crime. An example of a violent crime is a drug crime.

The gun charges connected to the importation of a firearm is different. If you are charged with illegally importing firearms, you can face from 5-10 years.

Statute of Limitations for Gun Charges

Gun importation or possession has a 60-month statute of limitations. So, a noncapital crime has sentencing ranging up to 5-years. If the crime committed is considered a capital crime, more jail time is required.

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