There is a cautionary tale about a small-town deputy mayor who collects firearms and has never been arrested until the day two law enforcement officers politely escorted him to jail. U.S. Federal agents determined he had purchased a sound suppressor, or silencer, over the Internet and charged him with 11 felonies. You may think a government official would never be arrested on federal gun laws, but he was.

Whether you were born in America, are a naturalized citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or an undocumented immigrant, gun laws and the Second Amendment apply to you differently. When you have received a target letter alerting you that a federal grand jury is investigating you for a gun crime or have been arrested or told there is a federal warrant for your arrest, you need to act immediately because the federal government is already looking into you. Consult with a Mesa federal gun lawyer before you answer any questions from law enforcement. A skilled defense attorney could protect you throughout the legal process.

The Law Bans Certain People From Owning Firearms

Despite the Second Amendment conferring the right of the people to keep and bear arms, not all people have the right. Most people know convicted felons cannot own firearms, but even if you are only indicted on a felony charge, you cannot own them. According to 18 United States Code § 922(g), other classes of people the law bans from possessing a firearm include:

  • Fugitives who flee to avoid prosecution in any state
  • Anyone using drugs or addicts under the Controlled Substances Act
  • Undocumented immigrants
  • Mentally ill persons and anyone committed to an institution for mental issues
  • People convicted of misdemeanors for domestic violence
  • Persons dishonorably discharged from the U.S. military

The courts define possession as having the intent and ability to control a firearm. A Supreme Court case called Bruen has opened litigation for a defense attorney to argue that even if someone falls under one of the categories listed in 922(g), they may have an argument that they have a Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Although the law forbids undocumented immigrants from owning firearms, it permits green card holders to own them as long as the owner obtains the gun legally and has a license. Our Mesa attorneys are experienced in both immigration and federal criminal law and can answer your questions about gun ownership when you are in the United States on a visa, are a lawful permanent resident, or are undocumented.

Lack of Knowledge is a Credible Defense

Intent and knowingly committing a crime can be difficult for government prosecutors to prove and offer a plausible defense. The government must prove the firearm was manufactured across interstate lines for federal jurisdiction to apply. When you are on trial for possessing a gun with an altered serial number, the prosecutor must prove you possessed the gun and knew the serial number had been changed or removed while in your possession. When you purchase a gun from a dealer, you must knowingly make false statements for the sale to be illegal. These nuances are essential for a federal gun attorney in Mesa to discover because unlawful possession of a firearm generally carries a 10-year federal prison sentence.

Common Federal Gun Crimes

Along with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, making false statements to a gun dealer, and possession of a gun with an altered serial number, federal prosecutors can charge a person with other federal gun crimes. Straw purchases involve an individual who buys a gun for another person who is not eligible to purchase one. Possessing or transporting stolen firearms, even for licensed dealers, carries a ten-year sentence, although prosecutors must prove you knew the guns were stolen.

Machine guns are illegal for anyone to possess. The law defines machine guns as weapons that automatically shoot multiple times with one trigger pull. Using a machine gun during the commission of another crime results in the convicted person serving a mandatory 30-year sentence. Another common gun crime is exporting firearms or ammunition to a foreign country. A court charges these cases as felony offenses, but depending on the facts, the government could offer a misdemeanor plea to a defendant to avoid severe collateral consequences.

The law also bans firearm possession in school zones. Possessing one can lead to a five-year prison sentence. The government also prosecutes cases relating to ghost guns, which do not have a serial number before purchase, and homemade firearms sold by unlicensed manufacturers. An attorney in Mesa is familiar with the complex federal gun laws that could trip you up if you are unaware of them. We are available to discuss your situation when federal prosecutors target you.

A Mesa Federal Gun Attorney Could Help You Navigate the Legal System

You may be a hunter or own a firearm to protect yourself and your family. In most cases, you have a Second Amendment right to carry a gun. Unfortunately, the laws are nuanced. For instance, the Second Amendment does not protect a long-time undocumented immigrant with no arrests and a steady job.

When you know federal authorities are talking to your neighbors about you, or you have been subpoenaed by a grand jury or arrested on gun charges, call us immediately. You have a right to legal representation and fair treatment. Contact a Mesa federal gun lawyer now to discuss your defense options.

Client Testimonials

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Thanks to the entire Rocha team who made it possible to achieve the goal of acquiring residence in the United States, giving us more than a service, they gave us hope and confidence to move forward, despite the inconveniences caused by a pandemic, they managed to adapt to all the restrictions in a professional way and revealing his extensive work experience in the end, everything has been reflected in favorable results for us.
Jonatan, Maricela
March 30th, 2023
We hired Juan Rocha back in 2015 for my husband seeking help with his immigration process and I honestly think the process would have been faster if my previous lawyer wouldn't have made the mistakes that he did (fired him) and I hired Juan Rocha, It defiantly was a process but he got it done, thanks to him my husband was able to see his parents and family after 15 years a day that my husband and I will forever hold in our hearts. Juan has a very special way of expelling things and he makes sure before you leave...
Millie Ruano
March 30th, 2023
On behalf of my family, we give appreciation and thanks to Mr. Rocha for assisting my husband to be allowed to join our family again. We were totally blindsided by the situation and when Mr. Rocha worked his magic for us, figured we wouldn't see my husband again, it was nothing less than magic to us! I have never had to deal with an attorney before so I was nervous but felt more at ease right away especially since Mr. Rocha either answered his own phone right away or was available to speak with when I called. This just made...
Juan Pedro & Doreen
July 12th, 2021

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