Federal Gun Charges Explained

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Federal Weapons Charges

Over 390 million weapons are thought to be in circulation in the United States. That number exceeds the total population of our country. The rules governing firearms are as varied as our nation. States have different possession and sales regulations, with some being extremely lenient and others being quite tight. New York State has some of the strictest gun and weapon prohibitions in the nation. Complex federal  laws that further restrict one’s ability to purchase, possess or carry firearms on top of state regulations. It is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the fines and jail time associated with weapons charges in New York whether you are facing such a charge or simply have questions regarding the New York weapons laws.

Federal Gun Crimes Differ from State Gun Charges

It’s crucial to remember that frequently, the federal gun charges carry harsher penalties than state gun offenses. State gun charges are those brought by local law enforcement, whereas federal gun charges are those brought by federal prosecutors. Additionally, the majority of federal weapons crimes have mandatory minimum sentences (i.e. 5, 7 or 10 years), which means that judges have no power to sentence you below the mandatory minimums. The one caveat is obtaining a 5K1 letter for your cooperation that results in substantial assistance to federal prosecutors. 

A person may be convicted of a federal gun crime if they:

  • Possess or carry a firearm during the commission of another federal felony or drug trafficking crime;
  • Possess an illegal firearm or explosive device;
  • Transport firearms or ammunition in interstate commerce with the intent to commit a felony;
  • Possess a firearm as a prohibited person (illegal alien, individual with a prior felony conviction, person subject to a restraining order). 

New York Gun Charges

New York Penal Code Article 265 contains the state‚Äôs gun and weapon laws regarding use, possession, and ownership of weapons, including firearms. .Whether you are accused of violating an Article 265 crime based on the nature of the object or how you are using it, remember that it is possible to violate numerous statutes in an allegedly illegal act or acts. These include: 

  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, New York Penal Law 265.01, 
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, New York Penal Law 265.02, 
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, Penal Law 265.03 and 
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the First Degree, Penal Law 265.04.

Penalties for Federal Guns and Weapons Charges

Being convicted of unlawful possession of guns does not have to result in maximum penalties. The judge will consider factors such as your criminal history and the circumstances of the offense when determining your sentence. 

The consequences of getting charged with a gun offense vary depending on the charge and other factors. If you are convicted of a firearms offense, you will likely lose your state and federal gun.

Additionally, as part of your sentence, you may be ordered to:

  • Pay a fine
  • Spend time in prison or jail
  • Complete probation
  • Pay restitution

Why Hiring an Experienced Gun Defense Attorney is Important

An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to suppress the gun at a hearing or through motion practice that the stop, search, or recovery of the weapon was illegal. We also may be able to work out a plea with the prosecutor that does not result in jail time. 

Contact us today for a free consultation; we have over a decade of experience dealing with firearms cases and can help you with yours!