FEDERAL FIREARM CHARGES
When it comes to Federal Firearm Charges, the primary charge we encounter is Felon in Possession for a Firearm.  The Federal Government has barred a number of different classes of people from Possessing Firearms which include:

  • Convicted Felons [or those indicted for Felony charge(s)]
  • People Addicted to Illegal Drugs
  • People with Mental Impairments
  • Illegal Immigrants
  • Anyone who has been Dishonorably Discharged from the Military
  • People Court Ordered Not To Possess Firearms (50B’s, etc)
Whether or not a person is a Convicted Felon at one point became a contentious issue, when the courts adopted the reasoning that a Felony for Federal purposes is any Felony the Defendant could be sentenced to a term greater than one year. In North Carolina, prior to the Justice Reinvestment Act (Dec. 2011), a number of low level felonies in State Court were not capable of being punished to a sentence greater than one year, and therefore, the State Felony Conviction did not make them a Felon for purposes of Felon in Possession of a Firearm charges. A number of Felon in Possession of a Firearm charges were dismissed, and those who had previously been convicted were brought back to court to have their sentence undone, because of the Felon for Federal Court purposes issue. However, the Justice Reinvestment Act changed the law and now all North Carolina state level felony charges are sentenced to a term greater than one year.

When it comes to Felon in Possession of a Firearm Charges, this status can be achieved without the Firearm even being on the Felons person. The Federal Government merely looks at the Intent and Ability to Control the Firearm. If the Government can prove you had the Intent and Ability to Control the Firearm, regardless of whether or not you actually did so, this can be enough in Federal Court for a Conviction of Felon in Possession of a Firearm charges. And bear in mind that the Federal Government does not need to show or prove that the firearm was working or capable of being fired for a conviction of Felon in Possession of a Firearm.

The Federal Government has created an entire area of practice devoted strictly to Federal Firearm Offenses. Federal law makes it illegal for a person to import, produce, or conduct transactions in firearms across states lines, unless that person possesses a license to import, produce, or deal in firearms.

Federal Law also states it illegal for one person to sell a Firearm to another person who lives in another state without a license. It is also illegal to transport certain types of weapons:

  • Bombs
  • Grenades
  • Rockets
  • Missiles
  • Mines
  • Machine Guns, with exceptions
The Federal Government also makes it illegal to straw purchase firearms. A straw purchase can be something as simple as one person purchasing a firearm in your name, when really your purchasing the gun for someone else to possess. The Straw Purchase of Firearms makes it illegal to use any false identification or make statements which would deceive the Firearm Dealer about the transaction or the future owner of the firearm.

There is another area of Federal Firearm Law which involves the Serial Numbers on the Firearm. If someone knowingly delivers, transports or accepts a firearm with the serial number altered, removed or destroyed, this violates Federal Law and you can be charged for it.

The Defenses to Federal Firearm cases being with the elements of the crime alleged. Felon in Possession of a Firearm, has briefly been discussed above, but the crux of the issue is whether the charged individual is a convicted felon for Federal Court purposes and whether they knowingly possessed the firearm. Another key factor is the Federal Government is only able to become involved in a Federal Firearm case if the Firearm was in or affecting interstate commerce. Meaning that if the gun was manufactured in North Carolina, and the Felon in Possession was located in North Carolina when caught with the Firearm, the government would need to prove that the firearm crossed state lines (interstate) for the government to be able to prosecute the case.

The other areas of defense include violations of 4th Amendment Rights to be free from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures. Areas that we address include whether or not the law enforcement agent has a Reasonable Suspicion to Stop the Defendant, whether or not they had Probable Cause to Search the Defendant, the Vehicle, a Residence, etc, and whether valid consent was given for the search. If the Law Enforcement Agency violated the rights of the Defendant then we would attack the case with a Suppression Motion in an attempt to keep out certain aspects of the case. It is important to note that if you Suppress one part of a case, Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Doctrine, may allow us to keep out everything that happened thereafter because if the Stop was Improper then they never would have been able to search our client.

Our Greensboro Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers are here for you and your Federal Firearm Charges. We work hard to assist you with every aspect of your case. We completely understand the toll this has on the person charged, as well as family and friends, and we do our very best to support anyone and everyone who is involved with the case. Our Federal Firearm Lawyers are here for you, contact us today.