Law enforcement’s discovery of a machine gun in a home has the potential to result in the owner facing up to a decade in prison. The individual illegally possessed a Bushmaster Model E.A-15 .233 caliber machine gun that was not registered to the individual. This individual is one of four people recently named by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in federal gun crimes. Other weapons, including shotguns and rifles, were also seized from the individual’s home. Not only was the individual forced to forfeit all of the weapons to the government, the individual was also charged with one count of possession of an unregistered machine gun. The individual ultimately pleaded not guilty and was released from custody on a $5,000 bond. Three other individuals are also in the custody of United States Marshals in Grand Rapids.
For individuals who are charged with federal gun crimes, there is a significant risk of severe penalties. Due to these substantial penalties, it is particularly important for individuals who are charged with the violation of federal gun laws to retain the assistance of skilled legal counsel.
Important Elements of Federal Gun Laws
Federal gun law is particularly complex, but there are several types of individuals who are prohibited from owning guns, including:
- No Guns for Felons. Federal law prohibits convicted felons from possessing firearms. The only felonies that are not covered by this ban include antitrust violations and similar offenses, as well as felony convictions from foreign countries.
- No Guns After Domestic Violence Convictions. After misdemeanor criminal domestic violence convictions, individuals are prohibited from owning guns.
- No Guns for Some Individuals Under Indictment. The federal gun ban also includes individuals who are under indictment for crimes punishable by terms exceeding one year.
Potential Penalties for Federal Gun Violations
Individuals who are charged with federal drug crimes can face particularly severe penalties. Individuals who are sentenced under federal gun laws face no less than five years in prison. If the firearm is brandished, individuals will be sentenced to at least seven years in prison. If the firearm is a short-barreled rifle or shotgun, individuals face up to 10 years in prison. If individuals are charged with possession of a semi-automatic assault weapon, a machine gun, or a destructive device, individuals face 30 years.
There are several common defenses to federal gun charges. One defense is that mere possession of a weapon without more is not sufficient to convict an individual. Instead, an individual’s possession of the firearm must have been in furtherance of the underlying crime of either drug trafficking or violence.
Reasons to Contact a Talented Decatur Criminal Defense Attorney
Given the dangerous nature of firearms, the federal government is particularly serious about prosecuting individuals who are guilty of firearm crimes. If you are charged with a federal firearm crime, strong and experienced legal counsel can make all the difference in deciding the outcome of your case. Contact a knowledgeable attorney at the Federal Criminal Law Center today to begin taking control of your case. Contact our law firm by filling out an online form or calling the firm at 404.633.3797.