Federal law defines many firearms crimes in section 922 of Title 18 of the United States Code.
Violations generally can be categorized as delivery offenses (selling a firearm to someone who may not buy one), possession or manufacture offenses (possessing or making a firearm that you may not legally possess), and receipt offenses (buying or receiving a firearm under illegal circumstances.
Federal Firearm Offenses
Delivery offenses include the sale or delivery of a firearm to someone who the deliverer knows may not legally possess it, the sale or delivery of a firearm across state lines without a license, and the sale or possession of an illegal firearm (a postban machine gun, for example).
Possession offenses include possession by people who may not legally possess firearms (felons, people convicted of family violence offenses, fugitives, aliens other than legal immigrants, and more), possession of firearms that require a tax stamp (short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, suppressors, preban machine guns) without a tax stamp, possession of illegal firearms (stolen firearms, firearms with obliterated serial numbers, postban machine guns, guns not detectable by metal detectors or x-ray machines), and transportation of otherwise legally possessed firearms in interstate commerce.
It is also a federal offense to use or carry a firearm in a crime of violence or drug-trafficking crime.
Receipt offenses include receipt by a person under indictment for a felony (such people may continue to possess firearms that they possessed before indictment, but may not receive additional firearms or ammunition), and making a false statement to a dealer to obtain a firearm.
Penalties for Federal Firearms Offenses
Penalties for federal firearms offenses, listed in section 922 of Title 18 of the United States Code are generally a five-year maximum (for example, for transporting a short-barreled rifle in interstate commerce) or a ten-year maximum (for example, for making a false statement to a dealer).
Possession of a firearm in the course of a crime of violence or drug-trafficking offense is a special case. The penalty is at least five years for the first such violation, and at least 25 years in prison for each subsequent violation. Each of these sentences must run concurrently (stacked) with any other sentence.
Courts have interpreted “subsequent violation” to include a second firearm possessed in the same offense. So a person who possesses three firearms in the course of a drug-trafficking offense is, at least theoretically, facing at least fifty-five years in prison for the guns on top of the sentence for the drugs.
Need A Lawyer for Federal Defense? Call Us
Attorney Mark Bennett has over twenty years’ experience finding the best approaches to defend federal gun cases. If you or a loved one are facing federal charges for delivery, receipt, or possession of a firearm or ammunition, please call us at 713.224.1747.