Federal charges involving the illegal use, possession, transfer, shipping and procurement of firearms are taken extremely seriously by judges and prosecutors, and convictions for any of these crimes regularly result in lengthy prison sentences - frequently with mandatory minimum terms of incarceration - and they occasionally result in life imprisonment or the death penalty. Additionally, the use of a firearm during or in relation to the commission of another crime may result in a significant enhancement under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, even if weapons charges were not brought separately by the government in an indictment.
While there are several federal statutes which prohibit conduct relating to firearms, the following are the most frequently charged:
- Felon in Possession of a Firearm, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g);
- Use or Carrying of a Firearm in Relation to a Crime of Violence or Drug Trafficking Offense, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c);
- Unlawful Gun Sales, 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1) and (2);
- False Statements with Regard to Firearms Purchases, 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(a)(6), 922(d), 924(a)(1)(A);
- Offenses Involving Stolen Firearms, 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(i)-(j); 924(a), (l)-(m);
- Possession and Sale of Firearms with Altered or Obliterated Serial Numbers, 18 U.S.C. § 922(k) and 26 U.S.C. § 5861;
- Possession and Sale of Armor Piercing Ammunition, 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(a)(7), 924(c)(5); and
- Unlawful Transfer or Possession of Machine Guns, 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(o), § 924(c)(1)(B).
Given the great potential for a lengthy term of incarceration following a conviction for any of the aforementioned crimes, any individual facing federal firearms charges should immediately consult with and retain a top New York federal firearms attorney experienced with this complex statutory scheme.