Federal Gun Law Has Severe Consequences for First-Time Offenders

Posted on in Criminal Defense

federal laws, weapons possession, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinios criminal defense attorney, A centerpiece of many national political candidates’ platforms included some discussion about gun rights and gun laws in the United States. In the wake of various school shootings in the past few years and countless violent crimes committed daily, it is only natural that the country engages in a conversation about what regulations and laws are necessary to eliminate these tragic occurrences. Usually the conversation turns to a discussion of what federal gun laws are already “on the books,” including laws such as 18 USC Sec. 922(g) and (n). Under this law, which prohibits the possession of a firearm or ammunition by certain individuals, even first-time offenders face severe consequences.

Federal Statutes Prohibiting Possession of Firearms and Ammunition

 The federal statute prohibiting possession of a firearm or ammunition is found at 18 USC Sec. 922(g) and (n). Under this statute, certain groups of people are prohibited from possessing, receiving, shipping, transporting, or otherwise affecting interstate or foreign commerce with firearms and ammunition. The groups of people that are prohibited from doing so include:

  • Individuals convicted of a felony crime (or any crime that is punishable by more than a year of imprisonment);
  • Those under indictment for a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment that is greater than one year;
  • Individuals who are considered fugitives from justice;
  • Those who are unlawful users of or addicted to controlled substances;
  • Individuals adjudicated as being a mental defective or those committed to a mental institution;
  • Aliens who are illegally or unlawfully in the United States or who have a non-immigrant visa;
  • Veterans discharged from the military under dishonorable conditions; and
  • Individuals who have renounced their U.S. citizenship.

One important element of this federal crime is that there must be some connection to interstate or foreign commerce. In some cases, even transporting a firearm or ammunition across state lines will satisfy this requirement.

Possible Penalties

An individual who violates this statute may face up to 10 years imprisonment, even if this is his or her first federal firearm violation. If the person has three or more violent felony convictions (such as burglary, assault, etc.) or drug trafficking felonies, he or she can receive a minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment without parole.

Contact The Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

Federal crimes typically carry penalties and sanctions that are more severe than state laws. That is why you need aggressive and competent defense counsel that is familiar with federal criminal statutes. There are important elements in federal criminal statutes – like the requirement that interstate or foreign commerce be affected by the alleged criminal act – that are not found in state criminal laws. If you have been charged with a federal crime, including a federal firearm crime, contact the experienced Chicago criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney at 312-629-0669 today.
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