Federal Gun Charges
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    Federal Gun Charges Defense Attorney in San Diego

    As a citizen of the United States, you have a right to possess firearms according to the Second Amendment. But federal firearms statutes control access to these guns. These laws regulate the manufacture, sale, possession, or use of guns. If you’re in the business of manufacturing, importing, or dealing with firearms, you need a valid license.

    Gun Offenses Defined By Federal Law

    The federal government has taken a strong stance against gun crimes. This means that federal prosecutors aggressively pursue gun charges against individuals who are in violation of federal gun laws. Federal gun statutes like 18 USC 924 and 18 USC 922 lay out strict punishments for people who fail to follow federal gun laws.  When defending against these charges you need a federal defense attorney with the experience and resources necessary to mount an effective defense in your federal firearm criminal case.

    Possession of a Firearm or Discharging a Firearm in a School Zone

    Federal law mandates that school campuses are gun-free zones. “School Zones” include the school grounds as well as the area 1,000 feet surrounding the school. A person who possesses a loaded firearm without a concealed carry permit can violate this law if they travel past a school or within a school zone.  

    Under 18 U.S.C. section 922(q)(3) Federal law also prohibits a person from knowingly or “with reckless disregard for the safety of another” discharging or attempting to discharge a firearm in a school zone.  There are a number of exemptions to these laws, so you should always consult an attorney who is knowledgeable about federal gun laws if you are facing criminal charges.  

    Selling or Transferring Guns to a Juvenile

    Federal laws create age restrictions on transferring and selling guns to minors.  Although each state has its own laws on what the minimum age is to purchase or own a firearm, federal laws also apply.  Under federal law Licensed firearms dealers may not sell or deliver a handgun or ammunition for a handgun to any person that the dealer has reasonable cause to believe is a juvenile.  Conviction under this section may subject a person to up to 10 years in prison.

    Possession of Firearm or Ammo by a Prohibited Person

    Regardless of the Second Amendment, federal gun laws prohibit possession of firearms by certain individuals. These prohibited persons are also not allowed to ship, transport, or receive firearms or ammunition.  These individuals include people who are:

    • Convicted in a court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year
    • Fugitives from justice
    • Unlawful users of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 802)
    • A mental defective or committed to any mental institution
    • Illegal aliens
    • Discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions
    • Renounced their United States citizenship
    • Subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate partner
    • Convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence

    Violation of this law is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. And a person may receive a minimum sentence of 15 years without parole if they are a felon with 3 or more prior convictions for a felony crime of violence or drug trafficking (18 U.S.C. § 924(e)).

    Using a Gun to Commit a Drug Offense, Felony, or Violent Crime

    Federal firearm laws carry significant punishment for people who use guns to commit crimes. It has set mandatory minimum sentences for many of these individuals and the sentence will depend on the type of gun and how the gun was used during the crime.

    • There is a minimum 5-year sentence for the mere possession of a gun during the crime
    • There is a minimum 7-year sentence for brandishing a gun during the crime
    • There is a minimum 10-year sentence if the gun is discharged during the crime
    • There is a minimum10-year sentence if the gun is a short-barreled rifle or shotgun
    • There is a minimum 30-year sentence if the gun is a machine gun

    Federal gun laws generally treat individuals with repeat offenses or defendants facing multiple convictions more severely.  These factors can compound under federal sentencing guidelines to create massive prison sentences.

    Straw Purchase of a Firearm

    Gun buyers must be as careful as gun sellers since they can face conviction for straw purchases. Straw purchases include buying a gun under false pretenses or misrepresenting your identity to a firearms dealer.  Straw purchases are one of the main methods used by criminals to acquire firearms because they allow people to bypass a background check.  

    If a person buys a firearm from a federally licensed firearm dealer, they will have to fill out an ATF Form 4473.  This form is intended to verify that a buyer is eligible to purchase a firearm.  One of the questions on the form asks:

    Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form? Warning: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person.  If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.

    This question relates directly to “Straw Purchases.”  If the buyer answers “no” to this question then the dealer must refuse the sale, if the buyer answers “yes” and that is untrue, they are committing a federal felony that carries a 5-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.  

    If the buyer has reason to believe that the person receiving the gun is a felon, is prohibited from possessing a firearm, or is planning to use the gun in a crime, they are committing a federal felony and may be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

    As you fill out paperwork during a gun purchase, you should disclose all relevant information to avoid any misrepresentations with the dealer or government. Failing to do so can lead to paying heavy fines and prison time.

    Altered or Removed Serial Number

    The Gun Control Act of 1968 dictates that licensed manufacturers and importers of firearms must ensure that each firearm imported into or manufactured in the United States is identifiable by a serial number.  

    Under 26 U.S. Code § 5861 removing the serial number from a firearm, selling, or possessing a firearm with a removed serial number is a serious federal offense.  A person found to be in violation of this law can be fined $10,000, imprisoned for 10 years, or both.

    If a person is convicted of another crime that involves the unlawful receipt, transfer, or possession of a firearm with a removed or altered serial number, their punishment can be enhanced by over 10 years.

    Possession or Manufacture of Illegal Firearms

    Some guns like machine guns are very destructive and civilians need a special license to own them. Possessing these guns can result in a 10-year prison sentence, and using them during a crime can lead to a mandatory minimum sentence of thirty years.

    It is a federal offense to be in possession or contribute to the manufacturing of:

    • Machine guns or fully automatic firearms
    • Silencers or firearm mufflers
    • Sawed-off shotguns
    • Rifles with an overall length of under 26 inches

    Possession of a Stolen Firearm

    Federal gun laws carry strict punishments for people found in possession of stolen guns. Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(i) and (j) it is illegal for any person, licensed or unlicensed, to transport or possess a stolen gun or stolen ammunition. The punishment for violating this law includes a fine and up to 10 years in prison.  

    Defending Against a Federal Firearm Charge

    Federal gun laws are complex and you can face very severe penalties. These charges often come together with other criminal charges so you may face more penalties. You need to contact an experienced federal gun charge defense lawyer in San Diego to represent you.

    The Law Offices of David R. Silldorf, APC will review the facts surrounding your case and then develop a tailored strategy to protect you against a federal gun charge.

    If you are in jail, our experienced San Diego federal gun charge attorney can work on your bail so you can return home while the case goes to court.

    What A Federal Defense Attorney Do For You

    Like with most crimes, there are useful defenses our lawyers can use to reduce your sentence or get your case dismissed.  Some of our defenses for your federal gun charge include:

    Antique Firearm

    Is your firearm a family heirloom?

    If you’re arrested for the possession of antique or historical firearms, we can get your case dismissed. These guns don’t require serial numbers since they are historical artifacts instead of working firearms.

    Constitutional Defenses

    Our constitution outlaws unreasonable searches and seizures through the fourth amendment. If the government found you in possession of a weapon during an illegal search, we can use that as a defense at trial. Our federal criminal defense attorney can move to exclude your gun from the evidence presented before the jury. This can reduce your chances of getting convicted.

    Knowing Possession

    Most gun crimes require that the defendant knows that they have a firearm. This makes for a great defense since the prosecution bears the burden of proof and has to prove each element of the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

    We can help you prove that you were unaware that you had a gun in your possession, dismissing the federal firearm indictment.

    Necessity or Self Defense

    Sometimes you may possess and use a gun to protect yourself from imminent danger such as a kidnapping, burglary, or robbery. Our lawyers can present evidence that supports your defense of necessity to help lower your federal gun charge sentence or set you free

    Why Choose Us?

    We work to help people deal with serious federal gun charges. Our attorneys have over 40 years of combined experience, defending our clients aggressively to ensure their success.

    Knowledgeable about Federal Law

    We have a detailed and in-depth understanding of federal gun laws. When you work with us, you won’t have to worry about whether your attorney is up to the task.

    Personalized Approach

    We understand that each federal gun charge is different. This is why our attorneys to original motions practice, achieved through individualized attention to every client. Our goal is to get your case thrown out before trial as well.

    Real Results

    We have obtained impressive results in the federal gun charges we’ve handled. Our attorneys strive to deliver effective and efficient results on time. You don’t have to waste all your years in court.

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      David Silldorf, Federal Defense Attorney in San Diego

      Looking for expert federal gun charge lawyers to help with your case?

      Look no further than David Silldorf Law. We work tirelessly to defend you against your federal gun charge exposure.  If you are arrested for a gun charge in San Diego, David Silldorf is ready to provide you with an experienced defense.

      David Silldorf has been designated by the Federal U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California as an experienced criminal practitioner qualified to handle appointments arising under the Criminal Justice Act. 

      The firm’s proximity to the international border has a strong influence on David’s caseload. He regularly represents individuals charged with drug trafficking and alien smuggling offenses and drug-related federal conspiracy cases, and other offenses involving firearms.

      Case Results

      noun Gun 2720191

      People v. an individual


      The client was arrested on two counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm and one count of carrying a loaded firearm registered to another.

      noun drugs 225533

      United States v. an individual

      [possession of methamphetamine]

      Client was arrested by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officers for possession of methamphetamine.


      noun murder 2078165

      People v. an individual


      Accessory after the fact to murder

      DISMISSED 1 week before trial


      We’ll fight for you so you get the results you deserve.

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