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When Is it a Federal Offense to Possess a Firearm?

 Posted on February 21, 2020 in Federal Crimes

Tarrant County federal weapons charge defense attorney

Few topics have been as hotly debated in recent years as the possession and use of firearms. Federal and Texas firearm laws have been subject to a number of modifications in recent decades, and gun-related laws are often complicated and hard to understand. Title 18, Chapter 44 of the United States Code regulates the ownership of firearms in the United States and prohibits certain individuals from owning firearms or ammunition. Violation of federal firearm laws can result in significant criminal penalties, including considerable prison time. If you or a loved one is being investigated by the federal government for an alleged firearm violation, it is imperative that you speak to a criminal defense attorney experienced in handling federal weapons cases as soon as possible.

Individuals Prohibited From Owning Firearms and Ammunition by Federal Law

In the United States, the right to bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution. However, certain circumstances can cause a person to lose the right to own or possess a firearm. While many firearm offenses are prosecuted at the state level, weapons violations involving the transport of firearms or other weapons across state lines are often prosecuted at the federal level. According to the U.S. Code, it is unlawful for a person to possess a firearm or firearm ammunition when the ammunition or firearm was moved across state lines and the possessor is:

  • An undocumented immigrant; an immigrant legally admitted under a non-immigrant visa such as a temporary visa, employment visa, or student visa; or a citizen who has renounced U.S. citizenship

  • A convicted felon or defendant currently awaiting trial on felony charges

  • A fugitive from justice

  • An illicit drug user or drug addict

  • A person previously convicted of certain domestic violence-related crimes

  • A subject of certain domestic violence protection orders or restraining orders 

  • A veteran who was dishonorably discharged from the U.S. military

Criminal Penalties for Possession of a Firearm or Ammunition by a Prohibited Person

If you meet the above criteria for a “prohibited person,” and you transport a firearm across state lines, you could be charged with a major federal criminal offense. If you are convicted of possession of a firearm or ammunition by a prohibited person, you may face up to 10 years of incarceration. If you have three or more previous convictions for violent felony offenses and are convicted of possession of a firearm or ammunition by a prohibited person, the minimum prison sentence is 15 years.

Contact a Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer

Being accused of any type of firearm-related crime is a grave matter, but federal weapons charges are especially serious. If you have been accused of violating a federal firearm law or are being investigated by the federal government for an alleged firearm offense, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Plano, Texas weapons charge defense attorney Darlina Crowder has obtained more than 300 acquittals and not guilty verdicts for her clients during her career as a defense attorney. She and the skilled legal team at The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. can help you develop a powerful defense against federal weapons charges. Call our office today at 214-544-0061 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.



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