Federal Felon in Possession of Gun Charges: What to Know

Law enforcement authorities vigorously prosecute the federal felon in possession of gun law in Kansas.

Federal firearms offenses are among the most common crimes prosecuted and sentenced in federal court. Most federal firearms offenders were accused of illegally possessing guns, usually because of a previous felony conviction.

Contact criminal defense attorney Jeremy Koop if you’re charged federally with illegally possessing a firearm or ammunition in Kansas. As an experienced Kansas gun lawyer practicing in federal court, he will fight to eliminate or reduce the charges against you.

Who’s federally prohibited from possessing guns?

If authorities have charged you with illegally shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving firearms or ammunition, you may face accusations of violating 18 U.S. Code § 922(g). This federal gun law prohibits certain individuals from possessing firearms.

The federal firearm possession law includes a ban on the following categories of individuals:

  • Convicted in any court of a crime with punishment exceeding one year imprisonment
  • A fugitive from justice
  • An unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, as defined in the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. § 802)
  • Adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution
  • An undocumented immigrant
  • Dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces
  • Renounced United States citizenship
  • Subject to a court order restraining harassment, stalking, or threats against an intimate partner or child
  • Convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence

What are federal felon gun possession penalties?

The average penalty for a federal firearm possession charge can vary widely, depending on the presence of aggravating factors. Sentencing guidelines consider aggravating factors like criminal history and whether the firearm was used in connection with another crime or stolen.

In fiscal year 2022, the average prison sentence for an offender convicted of illegal shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm or ammunition was 63 months, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission. For an offender also convicted under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), the average prison was 186 months.

The ACCA imposes a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for anyone with at least three previous violent felony or serious drug convictions and who illegally possesses a firearm.

What are defenses against federal felon gun possession charges?

Defenses against federal gun possession charges include constitutional rights violations and lack of proof the defendant knowingly broke the law.

In federal firearm possession cases, the government must prove the defendant knew they possessed the firearm and knew their prohibited status, according to the 2019 U.S. Supreme Court case of Rehaif v. United States.

Additionally, if someone is unaware their firearm was stolen, it can be a defense against federal stolen firearm possession charges. Other potential defenses include the use of the firearm while under duress and exceptions for antiques.

Ultimately, contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney should be the first step to successfully defending your rights in federal firearm possession cases.

This article doesn't constitute legal advice. It is for general informational purposes only.

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