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The Second Amendment expressly provides that all individuals have the right to bear arms. But this guarantee has limitations depending on your background and the type of firearm involved. Firearm laws are very complex, making it difficult for you to understand and comply with. The government routinely adds more complex legal changes deeming certain firearm functions and components legal and illegal. This is usually because firearm manufacturers create parts that do not violate the letter of the law. When federal charges arise over single or multiple firearms, the proverbial term “the gun is on trial” cannot be more accurately stated.

Federal firearm charges are typically investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”). However, a federal indictment can result from arrests and investigations conducted by local police departments that are referred to federal agencies. A seemingly minor gun-related charge can carry significant penalties. A federal firearm conviction can result in a mandatory minimum federal prison sentence depending on the circumstances of the case or your prior criminal history.

Experienced Orange County Federal Firearm Defense Lawyer

Our Los Angeles federal criminal defense lawyers stand ready to represent our clients at every stage of a federal gun case. Virtually anyone can be charged with a firearm offense or the related, including law enforcement officers. A conviction will be life-changing and therefore require you to have experienced representation on your side. John D. Rogers and his team have defended clients charged with a variety of firearm charges.

Each case and individual client is different. Our goal is to provide effective representation tailored to achieving the best possible result for each client. We are always cognizant of the collateral consequences including loss of your freedom, professional license, and your immigration status. You can stand confidently with Attorney John D. Rogers because he is a state-bar-certified criminal law specialist. His knowledge and jury trial experience have been independently verified by the state licensing authority making him uniquely qualified.

Common Types of Firearm Charges

Firearm laws are passed by Congress and enforced by the executive branch of the government. Specific crimes are written into laws regulating simple possession, manufacturing, sale, and the process of obtaining a firearm. We handle a variety of federal firearm and related charges including:

  • 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(1) – Disposing a Firearm to a Prohibited Person
  • 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) – Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person
  • 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(1)(A) – False Statement in Firearm Licensee Application
  • 18 U.S.C. § 922(q) – Possession of a Firearm in a School Zone
  • 26 U.S.C. § 5861 – Knowingly Possessing an Illegal Firearm
  • 18 U.S.C. § 922(1) – Illegal Importation of a Firearm
  • 18 U.S.C. § 924(e) – Armed Career Criminal Act
  • 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) – Use in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence of Drug Trafficking
  • 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1)(A) – Engaging in Business of Dealing Firearms without a License
  • 18 U.S.C. § 922(j) – Receipt, Possession, Concealment, Storage, Sale and Disposal of Stolen Firearms

Criminal Penalties for Federal Gun Crimes

Federal firearm charges can carry significant consequences. It can impact your desired living location, and career prospects, and subject you to a lengthy prison sentence. Depending on the circumstances, you can face between a mandatory minimum sentence of five (5) years in federal prison to life. Firearm crimes that originate at the state level can be elevated into federal court when local law enforcement makes a referral to a federal agency. Referrals are often made to the ATF, the federal bureau of investigation (“FBI”), or the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) who then submit the case to the U.S. Attorney's Office for charge review.

The most common firearm crime in Los Angeles and Orange County is felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition under 18 USC § 922(g). A conviction carries a statutory maximum sentence of ten (10) years in federal prison, three (3) years of supervised release, and a fine amount of up to $250,000.

A federal felony conviction also carries the following consequences:

  • Life-time prohibition from owning or possessing a firearm
  • Adverse immigration consequences for non-U.S. citizens
  • Forfeiture and destruction of the subject firearm in the case
  • Suspension or revocation of a professional license

Sentencing Guidelines & Enhancements for Weapon Offenses

Each gun crime carries its own distinct sentencing level. The United States Sentencing Commission wrote an advisory set of sentencing guidelines for judges to consider. But all defendants have a unique background and a good set of qualities that judges must also take into account at a sentencing hearing.

But it's common for sentencing enhancements to apply when someone has a prior criminal record involving drugs or violence. A common sentencing enhancement also applies when a felony was perpetrated by the use of a firearm. Special allegations are aggravating circumstances that can increase someone's guideline calculation level and, therefore, add additional consecutive years to their underlying sentence. Firearm sentencing enhancements may automatically forfeit a defendant's eligibility to participate in rehabilitative or ameliorative programs while in prison.

Defense Against Federal Firearm Charges

The key to defeating federal accusations is to look for constitutional technicalities or prevent the government from proving each element of the offense. In some instances, proactive early intervention may help deflect the case against you at its initial stages. This reinforces the paramount need of retaining counsel as early as possible.

Some common defenses to beating the prosecutor's case may include:

  • You were truthful in your application for a firearm
  • You do not fall within the prohibited categories of owning or possessing a firearm
  • The evidence against you was obtained from an unlawful search or seizure
  • The search warrant lacked probable cause to search your home or workplace
  • The modified or manufactured part of the firearm was not illegal
  • The government is unlawfully attributing you to a conspiracy
  • The charge sheet does not rise to the level of a federal offense
  • You momentarily possessed the firearm for self-defense purposes
  • Your incriminating statements were unlawfully obtained in violation of your Miranda Right

Our office may employ former ATF agents to serve as experts to assist in your defense. These experts may:

  • Examine whether the modified or manufactured parts are in fact illegal
  • Conduct test firings to see if the firearm is operable
  • Sound tests for charges relating to firearm silencers or suppressors
  • Explain the firearm application process and resulting investigation(s)

Contact Our Orange County Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Today

You must take firearm and weapon-related charges very seriously and retain an experienced Los Angeles Federal Criminal Defense Attorney. Our office will look closely at the government's case to uncover all the defenses and technicalities in your favor. Contact us at our Orange County / Los Angeles office today to schedule a free confidential consultation. We provide affordable, quality, and effective representation for all firearm charges. Let us mount your defense and help navigate you through an unfamiliar system.


Orange County federal crimes lawyer John Rogers is committed to providing exceptional representation all throughout California federal courts.

We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule a confidential appointment.