New York Federal Unlawful Gun Sales Lawyer

Charges involving the unlawful sale of a firearm typically also involve allegations that the weapon at issue was to be used to perpetrate another crime. For this reason, convictions for the illegal sale or shipment of a handgun, shotgun, or other firearms 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 gun defense attorney. One of our New York federal unlawful gun sales lawyers could help you build a case in your defense.

Federal Charges for Gun Trafficking

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).

What are the Limitations on Licensed Gun Sales?

There are various restrictions under federal law regarding who licensed individuals and businesses can sell guns to across state lines. For instance, under 18 U.S.C. §922(b), it is illegal for a licensed party to knowingly sell any firearm or ammunition to someone they reasonably believe is under 18 years of age.

This same section prohibits transactions that the licensed seller knows would be illegal in the buyer’s home state, as well as the sale of machine guns, destructive devices, and short-barreled shotguns or rifles. Finally, any licensee who makes a sale of a firearm or armor-piercing ammunition must keep a record of the buyer’s name, age, and residence, or similar identifying information for any sale to a private company or corporation. A local attorney could review an unlawful gun sales case and determine if any of these rules have been violated.

What Parties Can Never Legally Purchase Guns?

18 U.S.C. §922(d) specifies several types of buyers to whom any kind of firearm sale or transfer is illegal, regardless of whether the seller is properly licensed or not. It is a federal offense for someone to knowingly sell guns or ammunition to any of the following parties:

  • Undocumented immigrants
  • Any person addicted to a controlled substance
  • Any person indicted for or convicted of a felony offense at the state or federal level
  • Fugitives from the law
  • Individuals dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces
  • Individuals who have renounced their U.S. citizenship
  • Individuals deemed mentally unsound by any authorized institution
  • Anyone subject to a protective or restraining order
  • Anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence

It is likewise illegal for any of these parties to transfer firearms or ammunition across state lines themselves. A lawyer in New York could help build a defense if you have been accused of illegally selling a gun to one of these parties.

Transporting Guns Across State Lines

Under 18 U.S.C. §922(e), anyone who uses common or contract carriers to ship firearms or ammunition across state or international borders must properly notify these carriers of the contents of the container used, unless the package is being shipped to a licensed dealer, importer, or collector. Individuals who legally possess a firearm on their person generally must surrender that firearm and its ammunition to the captain or pilot operating the common or contract carrier for the duration of the journey. 18 U.S.C. §922(f) makes it a federal crime for any such carrier to knowingly transport a firearm or ammunition in violation of the preceding section.

Possible Consequences Upon Conviction

Convictions for any of this misconduct 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, while 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).

Additionally, 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.”).

Get in Touch with a New York Federal Unlawful Gun Sales Attorney Today

A skilled New York federal unlawful gun sales lawyer could defend you in any prosecution and work hard to keep your life on track. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman have successfully handled countless of these cases. For more information about how we could help you with your case, call today.

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