So You’re Facing State or Federal Firearms Charges

What are firearms charges?

The term “firearms charges” actually refers to a broad range of alleged crimes, ranging from illegally distributing, selling, purchasing, discharging, or even possessing a firearm. These charges can be especially serious when they relate to the transport of firearms across state lines, as they then become a federal vs. state charge. 

Any person who intends to sell a firearm is required by law to possess a federal firearms license. The sale or distribution of firearms without such a license is a violation of federal law and puts that part at risk of facing criminal charges. 

The state of New Jersey is considered to have some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, which can sometimes result in an undue or even selective enforcement of the law, depending on the circumstances. The New Jersey gun crimes laws are designed to regulate guns and ammunition, and according to those statutes, nearly all gun charges have mandatory minimum prison sentences associated with them. 

How can I avoid violation of New Jersey firearms laws?

  • Be of age — All persons wanting to apply for a handgun permit must be at least 21 years of age; whereas all persons wanting to apply for a firearms permit must be at least 18 years of age
  • Possess the appropriate permit. Always. — If you want to legally own a firearm in the state of New Jersey, you are required by law to obtain a firearms permit. There are no exceptions. 
  • Want a handgun permit? You need to prove “justifiable need.” — In the state of New Jersey, the legal possession of a handgun requires the approval of a judge. You must prove that you have a justifiable need to be awarded a handgun permit, which can include proving you have the urgent need for self-protection. This must also be approved by your local chief of police. 
  • Want a permit for a rifle or a shotgun? You need a special permit for those, too. Firearms purchaser IDs also apply to the purchase of ammunition in the state of New Jersey.
  • You must pass a background check. This background check must be conducted by a firearms dealer that is federally-licensed and approved in order for any individual to purchase a gun in New Jersey. 
  • If you’re licensed, you may transport your guns — but only under certain restrictions. Want to transport your firearm? If it’s licensed, you may, but it must be in an area inaccessible to you or your passengers, such as your trunk, and it must be secured in a locked case, and it must be unloaded. 
  • Most firearms beyond handguns, rifles, and shotguns are even more strictly regulated. Assault weapons, ghost guns, untraceable gun components, bump stocks, and magazines intended for semiautomatic weapons exceeding ten rounds are strictly prohibited. 
  • Convicted of a violent crime? Subjected a restraining order? Committed for mental health issues? Drug dependent? On a terror watch list? You may not own a firearm in the state of New Jersey. Those individuals who have been conviction of domestic violence-related charges, assault, robbery, sexual assault and other violent crimes may not own a firearm, regardless of which state those charges originated from. 

Federal firearms charges can be even more severe

Furthermore, federal charges can be even more severe and defendants can often face both state and federal charges, depending on the prosecution’s ability to create a case that they feel demands as much. 

According to the US Department of Justice, convicted felons facing federal firearms charges can face up to as many as ten years in prison, and as many as fifteen if the defendant has been convicted of three drug- or violent felony-related offenses. 

Even the type of gun used in an alleged crime can affect the way a prosecutor will charge a defendant. For instance, if a shotgun or an assault weapon is used in an alleged violent crime, ten years are added to recommended sentencing, and thirty years are added to those alleged acts where silencers or automatic weapons are used. 

There are serious consequences at play, with many nuances that need to be considered. Anyone facing such charges needs experienced, effective counsel at their side. 

This is why the Law Offices of Robert J. DeGroot specializes in defending individuals against firearms charges. It is our goal to ensure that each one of our clients is able to defend themselves to the fullest extent of the law in an effort to protect their rights and preserve their freedom. 

Accused of state or federal firearms-related offenses? You need an experienced, effective defense attorney!

If you or a loved one are facing these serious charges, you need representation, and you need it quickly!

The Law Offices of Robert J DeGroot have been helping citizens of New Jersey protect their constitutional rights for a half century, and have a proven record of creating the best possible outcomes for our clients. 

We’ll passionately advocate for you in court while building a deeply personalized relationship with you behind the scenes in order to create the level of defense that you deserve. Don’t delay!

Contact the Law Offices of Robert J DeGroot TODAY for your confidential consultation.