Can You Face Federal Charges for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in Illinois?
Under federal law, Americans have the right to own firearms. Each state
in the nation has its own laws as to how residents can legally secure
a firearm. When a person unlawfully possesses a firearm, that person can
face penalties for that crime. In some situations, unlawful possession
of a firearm may lead to more severe penalties as defined under federal
law. The Northern District of Illinois has had to deal with a tremendous
amount of gun violence. As a result, individuals who are
arrested for unlawful use of a firearm are being more frequently charged at the federal level.
What is the Federal Definition of a Firearm?
The federal government defines a firearm under
18 U.S. Code Section 921 as:
- Any weapon that uses an explosive action to shoot a projectile
- Frames or receivers that are meant to shoot a projectile
- Mufflers and silencers mean to reduce or eliminate the sound a firearm makes
- Any device whose purpose is to explode
While all of these descriptors certainly are true for all guns and bombs,
very old guns made before 1898 are excluded under the law. Federal law
dictates who cannot possess a firearm, under 18 U.S. Code Section 922
as the following:
- Criminals who have been convicted of crimes
- Those who use illegal drugs
- People suffering from a mental disability
- Services members that were dishonorably discharged
- Illegal aliens who do not have visas
- Any person who rejects their U.S. citizenship
- People that have been proved to engage in domestic violence, assault, or stalking
The law specifies penalties that include expensive fines and many years
in prison for any individual on the list who are not able to possess a
firearm but does so through sales that involve other states or from a
foreign source. Additionally, federal laws would apply for knowingly being
in possession of a stolen gun that was acquired from a foreign source
or in connection with interstate trade. Americans may not try to obtain
firearms or ammunition that they know are stolen. What all of this means
is that even if you have a firearm in one state and you do not physically
travel to another state, you are still in violation of federal laws. The
interstate commerce clause makes your case a federal one if there is any
part of your weapon that was sourced out of state.
Call a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
The laws related to gun possession can be challenging to understand. Because
the details of possession of a gun vary so widely, there are times when
you may be subject to penalties by the state or the federal government.
Thomas C. Hallock is up to date on all of the changing
gun laws at the federal and Illinois state level. If you have been arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm,
do not wait to call Thomas C. Hallock. When you need the best
Illinois criminal defense representation possible, call Thomas C. Hallock at (312) 487-2441 for local residents
or toll-free at (888) 412-3741 to schedule your free consultation.