How Does Federal Gun Safety Legislation Affect Weapons Charges?

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connecticut-weapons-charges-attorney.jpgIn recent years, the increase in the number of school shootings and other mass shootings has led many to call for new gun control laws to be put in place to help prevent these tragedies. Congress recently passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was meant to improve gun safety and reduce potential threats to children and other members of communities throughout the United States. While this law has included several measures that may help address mental health and prevent gun violence from occurring, it may also increase the likelihood that people may face federal criminal charges related to the use, ownership, and sale of firearms. 

Potential Criminal Charges Under the BSCA

The gun safety law has increased the penalties for certain types of federal weapons offenses, and it has also created some new crimes at the federal level that may apply to those who purchase or sell firearms. The changes made by the law include:

  • Straw purchasing of firearms - This offense was created by the BSCA, and it involves purchasing a firearm on behalf of someone who is not permitted to own firearms because they are a convicted felon, have been committed to a mental institution, have been convicted of domestic violence, or are subject to an order of protection preventing them from stalking, harassing, or threatening an intimate partner or family member. A conviction of this offense can result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years, although the maximum sentence may be increased to 25 years if a straw purchase was made when a person had reasonable cause to believe that a firearm would be used to commit a felony or a drug trafficking crime or engage in terrorism.

  • Trafficking of firearms - This new offense may be charged if a person transported, transferred, or otherwise disposed of a firearm across state lines or international borders with the knowledge that the use or possession of the firearm by the recipient would be a felony. The maximum sentence for this offense is 15 years in prison.

  • Domestic violence - The term “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,” which may be used to determine whether a person is prohibited from possessing or using a firearm, has been updated to include offenses committed against a dating partner. This addresses the so-called “boyfriend loophole.” Accusations of domestic violence or abuse may now lead to restrictions on gun ownership or possession regardless of whether an alleged abuser was married to their alleged victim, lived together in the same home, or was involved in a romantic relationship with them.

Contact Our Hartford Weapons Charges Attorney

Understanding the ongoing changes to the laws surrounding the possession and distribution of firearms can be difficult, especially since both federal and state laws may apply in certain situations. Woolf Law Firm, LLC provides legal help to those who are facing weapons charges or other criminal accusations. We can help you determine your best options for defense while ensuring that your rights will be protected. Contact our Connecticut weapons crimes defense lawyer at 860-290-8690 to set up a complimentary consultation.

Sources:

https://www.congress.gov/117/bills/s2938/BILLS-117s2938enr.pdf

https://www.murphy.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/bipartisan_safer_communities_act_one_pager.pdf

 

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