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Chicago federal gun charge defense lawyerThe 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.


The year of 2013 has been bloody in Chicago, actually it has been the bloodiest start of the year since a decade ago.  There were 42 homicides in Chicago for the month of January.  And according to a CBS report, the number of homicides in Chicago was three times that of New York City, even though New York City has over three times the population.

The national attention for this violent month has spurred community leaders and politicians to plead for a change.  On Monday February 11th, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to ask for harsher sentences for gun crimes.  They were also joined by Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

Alvarez has asked lawmakers to consider lengthening the sentences for criminals arrested for illegally possessing guns.  The current sentence is two years but Alvarez asked for an increase to three, with repeat offenders getting five years.


Andre V. Scott, 31, of Carbondale, was arraigned in federal court in Benton, according to the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois. Scott “was charged by indictment on November 6, 2012, with Possession of a Firearm by a Felon.” He was then held without bond and is awaiting a January 2012 jury trial. An offense such as Scott’s carries a penalty of up to “10 years’ imprisonment, 3 years’ supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 upon conviction.” The investigation was conducted by the Carbondale Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Chicago has long had a pretty severe firearm ordinance, but in June of this year it took a heavy blow when “a federal judge ruled that the section banning permits for people convicted of unlawful use of a weapon is vague and unconstitutional,” according to the Chicago Tribune. This ruling offers some hope for Scott and those accused like him, because it means that a conversation deciding whether or not a person convicted of even a misdemeanor offense can own a firearm is already well within the public psyche.

Despite the federal ruling earlier this year, Illinois state gun laws clearly state that “it is unlawful for a person to knowingly possess on or about his person or on his land or in his abode or fixed place of business any weapon… or any firearm or any firearm ammunition if the person has been convicted of a felony under the laws of this State or any other jurisdiction.” Scott could face a long uphill battle because of these strict state gun laws.

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