Our lawyers are have zealously represented our clients in federal court for charges related to the possession, manufacturing, transportation, and distribution of illegal drugs and firearms.

Federal drugs and weapons charges may encompass a number of different statutes involving the possession, manufacturing, transportation, or distribution of drugs, firearms, and other deadly weapons.

Below, we will outline the statutes and penalties related to various federal drug and weapons crimes.

Federal Drug Trafficking

It is illegal to manufacture, distribute, or possess a controlled substance.

The severity of your case will depend on your past criminal history, and how much of the controlled substance you were found to be in possession of.

What is a “Controlled Substance?”

Under federal law, a controlled substance is any drug or other substance included in schedule I, II, III, IV, or V of the DEA’s list of scheduled drugs.

Each schedule plays an important role in determining the different criminal penalties for each drug.

“What is a Firearm?”

According to 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3), a “firearm” is:

  • any weapon which is designed to;
  • or that which may be readily be converted to;
  • expel a projectile;
  • by the action of an explosion.

The definition of a “firearm” also includes the frame or receiver of such a weapon, the muffler or silencer of such weapon, and any destructive device in general.

What is a “Prohibited Firearm?”

According to 18 U.S.C. § 922(k), (o), & (v), it is unlawful to knowingly possess or manufacture a prohibited firearm.  Prohibited firearms include:

  • Short barrel shotguns/rifles;
  • Sawed-off shotguns; and
  • Machine guns.

Also included in the definition of “prohibited firearms” are silencers and other kinds of destructive devices.

Who is a “Prohibited Person?”

18 U.S.C. § 922(g) defines who a “prohibited person” is and makes possession of a firearm by these individuals illegal.  

Penalties for possession by a prohibited person include 10 years imprisonment and/or $250,000.

The 9 “Prohibited Persons:”

The nine general categories of “prohibited persons” are:

  1. Felons;
  2. Fugitives;
  3. Unlawful users of or addicts to controlled substances;
  4. Persons who have been adjudicated as mentally “defective” or who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution;
  5. Illegal aliens and non-immigrant aliens
  6. Anyone who were dishonorably discharged from the armed forces
  7. Anyone who renounced their U.S. citizenship
  8. Anyone who is the subject of a qualifying domestic protection order; and
  9. Anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

What if I Sold to a “Prohibited Person?”

Knowingly selling or otherwise disposing of any firearm or ammunition to any “prohibited person” allows for punishment of no more than 10 years imprisonment.

This means that if you are a licensed firearms dealer and you knowingly sell guns or ammunition to juveniles or “prohibited persons,” you may face up to 5 years imprisonment and face the possibility of losing your license.

Possession by a Juvenile

It is unlawful for a juvenile to knowingly possess a handgun or ammunition.

The Youth Handgun Safety Act and the Violent Crime Control Act make it a federal offense for a juvenile under 18 years of age to knowingly possess a handgun or handgun ammunition.

What if I Sold to a Juvenile?

Sale, deliverance, or transfer of a handgun or ammunition to a person you know or have a reasonable cause to believe is a juvenile is also illegal.

A licensed firearms dealer may not sell any gun or ammunition to anyone under the age of 18 and may not sell a handgun or handgun ammunition to a person under the age of 21.

If you had a reason to believe the juvenile would commit a crime of violence with the gun you provided them, you could face up to 10 years imprisonment.

Altering Serial Numbers

According to 18 U.S.C. § 922(k), (o), & (v), it is also unlawful to knowingly possess or manufacture a firearm which lacks a serial number or contains an altered serial number.

The penalty for knowingly possessing a firearm with an altered serial number can go up to 5 years or $250,000 or both.

Registering Your Firearm

Generally, unless the firearm you are in possession of is registered under the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, it is unlawful to possess it.

Penalties Related to Drug and Weapons Trafficking

Depending on your criminal record and the nature of the charges, possession of a weapon could lead to fines and/or prison sentences ranging from five years to life in prison.

  • Possessing a Firearm in School Zone. 18 U.S.C. § 922(q)(2)(A) makes it unlawful to knowingly possess or discharge a firearm in a school zone and allows for punishment of no more than 5 years.
  • False Statements to a Licensed Dealer. 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6) and (a)(2) makes it unlawful for any person to knowingly make a false statement to a licensed dealer in connection with the acquisition of a firearm.  Additionally, according to 18 U.S.C. § 924(a), the penalty for knowingly making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of a firearm shall be no more than 10 years or $250,000 or both.

Additional Consequences

In addition to criminal charges, defendants may be charged for using, possessing, selling, or transferring a firearm illegally.

These defendants may be subject to forfeiture of any money or assets that can be connected to their criminal activities.

  • Forfeiture of Your Firearms. 18 U.S.C. § 924(d) authorizes the seizure and forfeiture of firearms, ammunition, and explosives involved in criminal offenses.
  • Losing Your License to Sell Firearms. Suspension or revocation of your license to sell firearms is a possibility.

Firearm Regulation

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives  (“ATF”) is responsible for the regulation of all sale, possession, and transportation of firearms, ammunition, and explosives, in interstate commerce.

Criminal Investigation and Reporting

Many of the ATF’s activities are carried out in conjunction with state and local law


Generally, investigations into federal charges related to the unlawful use, manufacture, and possession of firearms and explosives in interstate commerce are conducted by the ATF, FBI, DOJ, and U.S. Attorneys Offices.

Information for every firearm that is taken into police custody is sent to the ATF.

Criminal Jurisdiction

In order for the federal government to claim jurisdiction, the drug or weapons must have traveled in interstate commerce or affect interstate commerce in the aggregate.

That means that the drug or weapon must have crossed state lines at some time before, during, or after the commission of the crime.

Contact a Drugs and Violent Crimes Attorney Today

Our lawyers have successfully represented clients in federal and state court in cases of federal drug trafficking, possession, and manufacturing of weapons, and various other charges related to violent crimes.  

If you have been charged in relation to any of the federal drugs and weapons charges listed below and would like a legal review of your case, call us today.

We handle cases involving:

  • RICO Charges;
  • Money Laundering;
  • K-2 Manufacturing/Distribution
  • Heroin Trafficking
  • Pill Mills
  • Marijuana Cultivation
  • Drug Manufacturing
  • Possession/Manufacturing of a Weapon
  • Exporting Munitions
  • Firearms Trafficking
  • First Degree Murder

Call us now to speak to an attorney regarding your case.