Is gun trafficking a federal crime?

Gun trafficking laws are a topic of ongoing debate amongst legislators, lobbyists, and the public. Some believe our nation’s gun laws are too sparse or lenient, while others vouch for the opposite. Currently, gun trafficking is not a federal crime; however, federal statutes do prohibit other gun-related activities, e.g., straw purchasing, that can warrant felony charges.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a gun-related crime, you could face long-term imprisonment and fines. It is essential to have a determined, skilled attorney begin working on your defense as soon as possible. Call Goldman Wetzel for immediate legal assistance in Florida. We will spring into action and try to prevent the state or feds from filing formal charges against you, negotiate with the prosecutor for lesser penalties, or take other steps necessary to preserve your rights.

Contact our criminal defense lawyers at 727-828-3900 now.

Are there any gun trafficking laws on the books?

There are currently no federal laws that specifically prohibit or penalize gun trafficking. Gun control advocates have tried on numerous occasions to push legislation that would outlaw gun-related crimes like trafficking and stiffen the penalties for laws already on the books; however, none of the legislation has passed.

Are there other federal gun-related charges defendants can face?

Yes. Federal statutes may be devoid of gun trafficking laws, but there are still various other gun-related prohibitions that could land you with federal charges.

The most common federal gun-related crime involves “straw purchases.” A straw purchase is when a gun buyer uses another person, the “straw buyer” (a person without a criminal record who can pass a background check) to complete the paperwork required to purchase a gun. Gunrunners often have straw buyers obtain guns for them so that law enforcement cannot trace the gun back to them.

Two federal statutes, 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6) and 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(1)(A), criminalize straw purchases. Both laws prohibit lying on the form required to purchase a firearm (ATF Form 4473).

Essentially, the statutes state that you may not provide false information to buy a gun or buy a gun to transfer to another party. On ATF Form 4473, it states in bold print: “Warning: You are not the actual transferee/buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person. If you are not the actual transferee/buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.”

In addition to anti-straw purchase laws, the federal government also regulates the transfer of guns between states. An unlicensed person cannot transfer a gun to a person who resides in another state. If you do so, you might face jail time and fines.

If you or a loved one is under investigation or has been arrested for straw purchasing or another federal gun crime, we will intervene and attempt to persuade the prosecutor to drop charges or pursue a lesser sentence.

Does Florida have gun trafficking laws?

In Florida, most alleged gun traffickers face charges for violating Florida Statute § 790.065(12), which is similar to the aforementioned federal straw purchasing laws: “Any potential [gun] buyer or transferee who willfully and knowingly provides false information or false or fraudulent identification,” has committed a felony crime in Florida.

Other gun charges in Florida include:

What are the penalties for gun-related charges?

The potential penalties you face depend on the nature of the offense, the presence of any aggravating factors, your criminal history, and whether your case is in a state or federal court’s jurisdiction.

For example, if officers charge you with providing false information to acquire a gun (breaking Fl. St. § 790.065(12)), the crime is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to:

  • A $5,000 fine; and
  • Five years’ imprisonment.

If you face charges for breaking 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6), you could face:

  • Fines; and
  • Up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

It is not uncommon for the prosecutor to charge defendants with multiple offenses at a time, and gun-related charges often have “enhancements,” both of which can significantly increase the penalties. When you work with Goldman Wetzel, we will explain exactly what you are up against and what types of defenses might be plausible for your case.

How can Goldman Wetzel assist with your case?

As zealous trial attorneys with experience working in the State Attorney’s Office, we are fully steeped in the process and defense of criminal cases, from initial investigation to sentencing. Our team of defense lawyers has helped numerous people successfully navigate the criminal justice system, including those charged with gun crimes.

Building a stalwart defense early on in cases and using the various legal strategies we have garnered have resulted in the best possible outcomes for defendants. This is why it is critical to contact our firm straightaway so we can begin working on your case. We will comb through the prosecutor’s case, look for errors or gaps in evidence, negotiate for a lesser sentence, and raise objections where applicable.

We will explore all defense options, uphold your rights throughout the process, and aggressively defend your case. We will serve as your advocates in the legal system and present your case in the best possible light. Attorneys Goldman and Wetzel will work together towards a positive resolution on your behalf, be it a dismissed case, mitigated charges, or reduced penalties.

Call our defense lawyer to defend against your gun charges today.

If you have been arrested or charged with a gun crime, call Goldman Wetzel for legal counsel. We can explain what to expect and how we can help. The initial consultation is free. Contact us at 727-828-3900 today.

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