San Antonio Gun Charge Attorney
Facing Federal Gun Charges in San Antonio, TX?
The two main federal gun laws can be found at 18 U.S.C § 922 and 18 U.S.C §924. Essentially, these are the laws that the federal government uses to somehow regulate the remainder of the laws and regulations which somewhat regulate the firearms in the United States. So, you look at these laws and the regulations enacted by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) impact all aspects of firearms, from manufacture, sale, disposal, to use and possession of guns by certain people. If you are charged with a federal gun crime, this is the starting point for any federal criminal lawyer to begin their analysis. The laws are complex and understanding the consequences is extremely important. Below I will give you examples of the most common gun crime charges seen in federal indictments in the Western District of Texas and throughout the country.
I WAS CHARGED WITH DEALING IN FIREARMS WITHOUT A LICENSE
As a general rule, you will need a license if you repetitively buy and sell firearms with the principle motive of making a profit. In contrast, if you only make occasional sales of firearms from your personal collection, you do not need to be licensed. To sell guns legally, for the most part you need to have a federal firearms license, which is often called an “FFL”. Selling firearms without a license can lead to a federal prison sentence of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or both. Remember, selling firearms without an “FFL” is also legal under certain circumstances. The fine line between legal and illegal dealing requires the assistance of an experienced federal criminal lawyer who has handled these cases. These cases are fact specific and a thorough review of your situation would be required to guide you in the right direction.
Keep in mind that having an “FFL” does not allow you to sell to individuals that live in a different state, an undocumented alien, or someone with a prior felony offense. If you have been charged with dealing in Firearms without a License you will need an educated federal gun charge attorney that has experience in this area.
I WAS CHARGED WITH A FEDERAL GUN CRIME AS A “STRAW PURCHASER.”
A “straw purchaser” charge is another very common federal gun crime that carries a punishment of up to 10 years and a possible fine of up to $250,000. ATF looks closely at these cases because this is one of the most common Federal Gun Crime charges in Texas. Under 18 U.S.C § 922(a)(6), it is illegal for a person buying a gun to make a “false statement”. What is a false statement? The most common scenario is where Person A, walks into any gun store/pawnshop to purchase a firearm, intending to later provide it to person B, but fills out Form 4473 and says that A is the “actual transferee/buyer.” You have to understand that when you purchase a firearm form a licensed dealer, you are legally required to fill out Form 4473.
This form is the official is the official firearms form for ATF. This crime focuses on Question 11. Without a doubt, the answers you provide are important and have provided a means to arrest and convict several straw purchasers. You may be thinking you are doomed if you’ve been charged with this offense but the Federal Prosecutor MUST still prove that the “buyer KNEW” the statement was false. You will need a skilled federal criminal lawyer to investigate and determine what statements you provided the ATF agents investigating your case. If ATF suspects you of being a straw purchaser, they will first run a check of all the locations you have purchased firearms from, collect all 4473 Forms, collect a list of all firearms you have recently purchased, collect videos from the stores where firearms were purchased, and then reach out to you for an informal investigation. It is this informal investigation where they will put the pieces together to file federal charges against you. Remember that the heart of this crime is lying about the identity of the person you are actually buying the gun for. If “ATF” reaches out to you and questions you about your firearm purchases, I suggest you reach out to a federal criminal gun charge lawyer to speak to them on your behalf.
I HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH BEING A FELON IN POSSESSION OF A FIREARM IN FEDERAL COURT
Under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1), the crime of Felon in Possession of a Firearm is committed when a convicted felon ships, transports, or possesses any firearm or ammunition that has been distributed in interstate commerce. This offense is considered a Class D felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and up to $250,000 in fines.
The base offense level or starting point for this offense is between 12 -26, which has a range of punishment of 10-78 months. This is before taking into consideration other factors of your case.
Some possible defenses to this charge include not knowing the firearm was in the vehicle, home, or location of where you were located.
I Was Charged with Possession of a Prohibited Weapon
In the United States, federal criminal penalties for possession of prohibited weapons can vary depending on the specific weapon and the circumstances involved. The possession of certain types of firearms and other weapons may be regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA), the Gun Control Act (GCA), or other federal laws.
The following are considered prohibited weapons under federal law:
- Machine guns: Fully automatic guns firing multiple rounds with a single trigger pull.
- Short-barreled rifles (SBRs) and short-barreled shotguns (SBSs): These are rifles and shotguns with barrels less than 16 inches in length or overall lengths less than 26 inches.
- Suppressors (silencers): These are devices designed to reduce the noise of a firearm when it is discharged.
- Destructive devices: This category includes grenades, bombs, missiles, rockets, large-caliber firearms, mines, and certain types of ammunition.
Possession of a prohibited weapon is a serious federal offense. For instance, possession of an unregistered machine gun or a firearm with a defaced serial number can be punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
To learn about other possible defenses, call our San Antonio gun charge lawyer at (210) 787-2842 or use our contact form today!
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