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Federal Weapons Offenses

Although the United States grants its citizens the right to bear arms, there are still federal regulations in place in regard to the possession, trade, or use of firearms. The purpose of these statutes is to ensure the safety of the individual and the public. Failure to follow these rules and regulations may result in a criminal offense. If the crime occurred in the federal jurisdiction, it’ll be prosecuted in federal court.

Facing any criminal offense is a serious matter, but it’s important to note federal investigators have a lot more resources at their disposal. Government agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosions are often involved in these cases and have the ability to execute investigative schemes a local department would never be able to implement. That is why it’s incredibly important you have an attorney on your side certified with years of federal defense experience. 

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a federal weapons offense in the Alachua County area, it’s imperative you contact an experienced Gainesville federal defense lawyer. 

Gainesville Federal Firearm Defense Lawyer | Alachua County, Florida

If you or someone you know has been charged with an weapons offense in the federal jurisdiction, it’s imperative you seek experienced legal counsel with extensive practice with federal cases. Federal investigators have almost unlimited resources at their fingertips and tend to be more aggressive than local departments. That is why we recommend hiring an experienced Alachua County federal gun crimes lawyer like the attorneys at Galigani Law Firm.

The attorneys at Galigani Law Firm have spent collectively decades defending clients from both state and federal charges. We can assess your charges, compile evidence, call upon experts, file effective motions, and advocate for your rights in court. Call us today at (352) 375-0812 to set up your first consultation in the Alachua County area. We accept clients in Gainesville and other communities including but not limited to Archer, Waldo, La Crosse, Alachua, and Micanopy. 

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Definition of a Firearm Under the U.S. Code

Under United States law, the term “firearm” has a specific definition. The term is clarified under Section 922 and 924 of chapter 18 of the United States Code as:

  • A weapon that will or is designed to or can readily be converted to expel a projective triggered by an explosive
  • The receiver or frame of any such weapon
  • Any firearm silencer or muffler
  • Or any other destructive device excluding an antique firearm

As you can see from the definition above, the broad definition consists of not only operable firearms but also dismantled guns or firearms that have been altered. For instance, a firearm with the hammer filed down will still be considered an operable firearm because it could be “readily converted” to shoot a bullet aka a projectile.

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Is Illegal Possession of a Firearm a Federal Crime?

Just like the state of Florida, the United States Code also includes a statute addressing instances where possessing a firearm is illegal. Under the 18 U.S.C. Section 922(k)(o), it states possession of certain firearms is illegal under federal law. These types of firearms include guns with obliterated serial numbers or machine guns that were manufactured after May 19, 1986.

The statute goes on to state that possession of short-barreled shot guns, short barreled rifles, machine guns, silencers, and/or destructive devices are also prohibited according to the U.S. Code. The only exception to this is if the possessor registered the firearm under the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record lawfully. Please note, a short-barreled shot gun is defined as having barrel length of less than 18” or overall length is less than 2”. A short-barreled rifle is defined under federal law as having a barrel length of less than 16” or overall length is less than 26”.

The penalty for possessing a prohibited firearm will depend on the defendant’s criminal history. The maximum penalty for knowingly possessing a prohibited firearm is five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. If the defendant had no prior record, then they’ll likely receive 15-21 months if you possessed a sawed-off shot gun or a firearm with an obstructed/altered serial number. However, if you have a record (especially any past drug convictions) your penalty may be enhanced to 70-87 months.

Possessing a short-barreled rifle, short-barreled shot gun, destructive device, unregistered silencer, or a sawed-off shotgun is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Possessing a machine gun manufactured after May 9, 1986 can result in up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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Who Is Prohibited from Owning Firearms Under Federal Law?

Certain persons are prohibited from owning a firearm under federal law. These people are defined as a “prohibited person” under 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g). The nine categories of prohibited persons according to the United States Code include:

  • Convicted felons
  • Addicts or unlawful users of a controlled substance
  • Fugitives
  • Any person who was adjudicated as mentally defective or was involuntary committed to a mental institution
  • Non-immigrant aliens and illegal aliens
  • Any person who has renounced U.S. citizenship
  • Any person who was dishonorably discharged from the armed forces
  • Any person convicted of a domestic violence offense
  • Any person who is subject to a domestic protection order 

Prohibited persons are not permitted to possess, ship, transport, or receive a firearm and/or ammunition that traveled through interstate commerce. In most of these cases, the prohibited person is a felon in possession of a firearm. Meaning any person convicted of a crime punishable by more than a year in prison is a prohibited person. That includes persons under indictment for a crime punishable by more than a year. 

The maximum penalty an individual can face for possessing a firearm as a prohibited person is up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. If it’s a first-time offense, then the judge will likely sentence the defendant to approximately 15-21 months in prison. However, if the individual has a criminal record (especially any convictions for violent crimes or drug trafficking) the judge will likely sentence them to 70-87 months.

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Additional Resources

Guide to Federal Firearm Offenses – Visit the official website for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to learn more about federal gun offenses. Access the site to learn the various types of federal crimes, the penalties for committing them, penalty enhancements, and more. 

Application for a Concealed License | Alachua County, FL – Visit the official website for the Alachua County Tax Collector to learn more about concealed carry licenses and how to apply. Access the site to learn where to apply, what to bring, the application timeline, and more. 

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Alachua County Lawyer for Federal Firearm Offenses

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a federal firearm offense, it’s within your best interest to contact Galigani Law Firm. Dean Galigani and his team have spent years defending clients from federal offenses including weapons crimes. He can examine the facts of the case and utilize his past experience to build a formidable defense. Don’t wait another day to protect your freedom and call Galigani Law Firm. 

Galigani Law Firm accepts clients throughout the greater Alachua County and Gainesville, Florida area. You can reach our offices at (352) 375-0812.

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