Protecting Your Rights When Facing Gun Or Firearm Charges

Federal Guns & Firearms

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." – 2nd Amendment

The intended purpose of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment is interpreted and generally accepted as being a guarantee for individuals to possess and bear firearms and guns.  However, the vagueness of the language has raised many questions and resulted in countless debates over the years. Several laws, regulations, and definitions have been created with the intent to clarify and establish the extent of the Second Amendment, as well as to reduce the number of violent crimes and hopefully enhance public safety.  As a result, if an individual is found guilty of having violated a federal gun and firearm law, his/her right to bear arms may be restricted or revoked and may potentially face the risk of severe punishment.

The term "firearm" is defined at 18 USC § 921(c), and the term includes any weapon which "will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive."

At the Federal level, firearm laws cover a wide variety of situations and can include severe penalties, which may be impacted by the nature of the crime and by the defendant’s criminal history.  A few of the more common federal gun laws are listed below:

  • Making false statements to acquire a firearm – 18 USC § 922(a)(6)
    • Maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment
  • Possessing firearms or ammunition by prohibited individuals* – 18 USC § 922(g) & (n)
    • This charge is commonly referred to as "felon in possession"
    • 10 years maximum imprisonment, unless the defendant has 3 or more prior convictions for a felony crime of violence or felony drug trafficking charge, in which case the minimum sentence is 15 years
  • Possessing a firearm in a school zone – 18 USC § 922(q)(2)(A)
    • Up to 5 years imprisonment
  • Carrying or using a firearm during the commission of a felony, including crimes of violence or drug offenses – 18 USC § 924(c)
    • Punishment range is 5 years to life imprisonment. Death is also a possible punishment if death results from use of a firearm
    • This sentence of punishment  must be consecutive to any other sentence imposed
    • Factors such as the kind of firearm, whether the gun was brandished, possessed, or discharges, and whether multiple offenses were committed may impact the minimum mandatory sentences imposed
  • Selling or delivering a firearm to a prohibited individual* – 18 USC § 922(d)
    • Up to 10 years imprisonment
  • Selling, delivering, or transferring a firearm to a juvenile – 18 USC § 922(x)(1) & (b)
    • Typically up to 1 year imprisonment unless seller/transferor of firearm had "reason to believe" that the juvenile would use the weapon to commit a crime of violence, and then the punishment is up to 10 years imprisonment
  • Stealing a firearm, ammunition, or explosives – 18 USC § 842(h); 18 USC § 922(i), (j) & (u)
    • Up to 10 years imprisonment

* Prohibited individuals include the following:

  • Felons or individuals awaiting trial on felony charges,
  • [Persistent] drug users or addicts,
  • Illegal or unlawful aliens,
  • Individuals subject to a domestic restraining order,
  • Individuals with prior convictions for domestic assault,
  • Individuals dishonorably discharged from the military, and
  • Fugitives from justice.

If you have been charged with a federal gun and firearm charge, it is important to contact a reputable, experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. There are numerous, arduous obstacles to overcome, such as accurately assessing the severity of the alleged crime, fully understanding the charges and possible consequences, and verifying that your rights were not violated. Additionally, both federal and state gun and firearm charges may overlap, resulting in compounded difficulties and prosecution. Keep in mind that ignorance of the law is not considered a valid excuse and will not absolve you of the federal charges you may be facing.

Having successfully defended clients in federal and state courts, Mr. McKellar will fully evaluate the prosecution’s case to provide you with a strong defense. He will apply his knowledge, experience, and care to protect your rights, strive to obtain the best possible outcome, and will always act in your best interest. For a  free consultation, please call today at 865-566-0125.

McKellar & Easter, Attorneys at Law, Can Help

If you have been charged with a federal gun or firearms charge, it is important to contact a reputable, experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. There are numerous, arduous obstacles to overcome, such as accurately assessing the severity of the alleged crime, fully understanding the charges and possible consequences, and verifying that your rights were not violated.

Additionally, federal and state gun and firearm charges may overlap, resulting in compounded difficulties and prosecution. Keep in mind that ignorance of the law is not considered a valid excuse and will not absolve you of the federal charges you may be facing.

Contact Us Today

To schedule a free initial telephone consultation with one of our lawyers, call 865-566-0125 or send us an email. An appointment can be made at any of our three offices in Knoxville, Tennessee; Nashville, Tennessee; and Atlanta, Georgia. We accept credit cards.