Maryland Federal Gun Lawyer
The Second Amendment of the Constitution gives individuals the right to bear arms. Conversely, the states and the federal government have the right to regulate who can own firearms. In Maryland, the law prohibits anyone from carrying a handgun, whether openly or concealed, unless the person has a permit to carry a handgun. Exceptions are provided for persons on their own property or their own place of business. Furthermore, specified individuals, including persons with felony convictions, cannot own firearms. Anyone who is found guilty of breaking these laws can suffer severe criminal penalties. In some cases, federal weapons charges receive the same level of treatment as other serious federal criminal allegations, including grand theft, robbery, and drug distribution. If you or a loved one has been charged with a federal firearms-related offense, contact a Maryland federal gun lawyer without delay. You could be facing serious consequences, including a lengthy prison term, substantial fines, and a permanent mark on your criminal record.
Federal Weapons Offenses
Similar to other politicians across the nation, many Maryland officials have made it their mission to lower the amount of incidents involving gun and weapon crimes. This quest has also become a primary objective for federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies, such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Federal statutes make it illegal for an individual to import, produce, or conduct such transactions across state lines.
Sale or Distribution
The law also makes it illegal for a person to sell or otherwise distribute a firearm to another person when the person transferring the weapon knows that the buyer does not live in the state. In addition, federal law prohibits persons from transporting rifles, shotguns with short barrels, and machine guns.
Transportation of Certain Weapons
The firearm laws also extend to the transportation of certain types of weapons. For example, it is illegal for a person to transport any device that can be categorized as “destructive.” This includes bombs, rockets, grenades, missiles, and other weapons.
Straw Purchase Transactions
Federal firearm laws also address “straw purchase” transactions. It is illegal for any individual to buy a firearm from a dealer using false written or oral statements or a false identification that is intended to deceive the arms dealer about the legality of a transaction, and conceal the identity of the person who is actually purchasing the firearm.
Persons Prohibited From Possession Guns Under Federal Law
Federal authorities target repeat offenders and individuals with prior records who face possession of firearms charges. Today, many individuals are defending against federal weapon violations charges for allegations that, even just a few years ago, would have resulted in little more than a misdemeanor state offense. Like other states, Maryland prosecutors elevate many weapon offenses to the federal level to ensure that defendants receive more substantial penalties if convicted of the crime. Any “prohibited” person convicted of possessing a firearm, as described under 18 U.S.C Section 922 (g) & (n), faces up to 10 years in prison. Violations include:
- Individuals with a mental impairment
- Possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon
- Use of a firearm to commit a crime
- Possession of an unregistered firearm
- Trafficking firearms
- Delivery, transportation, or acceptance of a firearm with a serial number that has been changed, removed, or destroyed
Three-time offenders of a felony crime of violence — such as burglary, assault, robbery, or drug trafficking — or felons who are subjected to domestic restraining orders, have a prior conviction for domestic assault, or who were dishonorably discharged from the military, are also included in this list.
Defending a Federal Firearms Case
An experienced federal weapons charges lawyer will work hard to challenge government’s alleged evidence with an aggressive defense. For you to be found guilty, the prosecutor must prove every element of the crime as charged. For example, to prove a straw purchase case the federal prosecutor must show the offender knew that he was lying or giving the dealer false identification. Otherwise, there can be no conviction.
Maryland Federal Gun Lawyers Can Help
If the weapon was discovered in a vehicle, the defensive strategy may hinge on your Maryland federal weapon attorney’s ability to successfully argue that the search and seizure that led to the discovery of the weapon was unconstitutional. One strategy a skilled federal gun lawyer might use is to posit that the law enforcement officer who stopped the vehicle did not have probable cause to detain the client. Or, the officer did not prove to the court that he or she had a valid reason for conducting the search of the vehicle that lead to the discovery of the weapon.
Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may be able to defend you by maintaining that you were justified in possessing a firearm due to certain necessities, because of duress, or being under imminent threat of bodily harm or death.
Federal firearm laws are complex and subject to change. Depending on the nature of the offense, a federal firearm conviction could result in a prison sentence of five to 10 years and other severe punishments. The sentencing can be greatly increased if the weapon is used in connection with crimes such as drug trafficking and armed robbery.
These cases require the help of an experienced Maryland federal gun lawyer with enough experience and knowledge to protect your rights. Contact the Maryland law office of Kush Arora to discuss your case for free and find out what your options are for putting together a strong defense.