The federal laws of the U.S. make it a crime for people to sell firearms across state lines without a valid license to do so. A violation of these laws is a serious felony punishable by several years in federal prison. If you or a loved one is facing federal or state firearm charges, please contact an experienced criminal defense attorney now for help.
Is it Illegal to Sell Firearms Across State Lines?
It can be. 18 U.S. Code 922 is the federal statute on the matter. The law states that it is illegal for any person:
“Except a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed 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 interstate or foreign commerce.”
Essentially, people cannot sell or ship firearms across state lines unless they have a lawful license to do so.
What are the Penalties?
Selling firearms across state lines without a license is a serious felony offense (as opposed to a misdemeanor). The crime is punishable by custody in federal prison for up to 5 years. A judge will impose a specific prison term in accordance with the federal sentencing guidelines.
Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?
Fortunately, people accused with the unlawful interstate sale of firearms can contest the accusation with a legal defense. A common defense is for defendants to show that they possessed a valid license to engage in the dealing of guns. Further, people can try to challenge a charge by showing that the police violated one of their constitutional rights. For example, maybe the authorities:
- arrested a defendant without probable cause,
- coerced a confession, or
- discovered firearms by means of an illegal search.
In these cases, a judge can dismiss or reduce any criminal charges because of the violation.
Contact Black & Askerov for Help
While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a federal firearm charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on various federal charges, including federal firearm and weapons charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in firearm cases. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!