Unlawful Gun Sales

Charges involving the unlawful sale of a firearm typically also involve allegations that the weapon at issue was to be used for an illicit purpose, that is, to perpetrate another crime. And frequently, that is a crime of violence. For this reason, convictions for the illegal sale or shipment of a handgun, shotgun, or other firearm frequently lead to lengthy terms of incarceration – up to ten years imprisonment under certain circumstances. It is therefore imperative that one charged with a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1) or (2) immediately retain a knowledgeable and experienced federal New York defense attorney.

Specifically, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1), it is unlawful for any person except a licensed firearms importer, manufacturer, or dealer to engage in the business of importing, manufacturing or dealing in firearms – or in the course of such business, to ship, transport or receive any firearm in foreign or interstate commerce. 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1)(A). Similarly, it is unlawful for anyone except a licensed manufacturer or importer to engage in the business of importing or manufacturing ammunition, or in the course of such business, to ship, transport or receive any ammunition in foreign or interstate commerce. 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1)(B). Further, it is unlawful for any licensed firearms importer, manufacturer, dealer or collector to ship or transport a firearm in interstate or foreign commerce to any person other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector. 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(2); see, e.g., United States v. Cooper, No. 95 CR. 0031, 1995 WL 329448, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. June 2, 1995) (18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1) and (2) proscribe the business of selling firearms without a proper license).

Convictions for any of the aforementioned conduct are punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a fine. See 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(1)(D). However, the maximum term of imprisonment is increased to ten years if, in the course of importing or dealing firearms without a license, the defendant travels between any two states, or from a foreign country into any state. 18 U.S.C. § 924(n); see United States v. Boone, 904 F.Supp. 866, 867 (N.D. Ind. 1995). And notably, a defendant need not be aware of the licensing requirement – or have the specific intent to evade that requirement – in order to be convicted of this crime.United States v. Allah, 130 F.3d 33, 38 (2d Cir. 1997); United States v. Collins, 957 F.2d 72, 76 (2d Cir. 1992) (“the element of willfulness ... contained in § 922(a)(1) was meant ... broadly to require only that the government prove that the defendant’s conduct was knowing and purposeful and that the defendant intended to commit an act which the law forbids.”).

Hiring a top New York illegal firearms criminal defense attorney to defend you in any prosecution for the unlawful sale or transfer of a firearm is crucial and will ensure that every viable defense is explored and utilized on your behalf. Lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman have successfully handled countless of these cases, exploiting holes in the prosecution’s evidence to achieve the best possible result for our clients. Contact us today at (212) 518-1001 for a free consultation.