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Federal Gun Charges

We have a proven track record of success in handling over 15,000 criminal cases and are consistently awarded as one of Ohio’s top criminal defense firms. We are highly experienced federal gun charges lawyers in Columbus, OH and all of central Ohio. Experience matters when dealing with these cases, which prosecutors and judges handle differently on a case-by-case basis. We know what to expect and what to do to get the best result possible.

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(614) 444-1900

Federal Gun Charges Lawyer in Columbus, Ohio

There are various possible gun charges based on the United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Each carries a stiff sentence if convicted. Fortunately, a federal gun charges lawyer provides defenses to reduce your penalties or even have your case dismissed.

If you are arrested or charged with a federal gun offense, work with a lawyer familiar with federal crimes and who can handle litigation in federal court. Our federal gun charges attorneys in Columbus, Ohio, at Joslyn Law Firm will fight for you every step of the way.

Helping Individuals Arrested or Charged with a Federal Gun Offense

Given the significance of the potential penalties upon conviction for federal weapons offenses, representing yourself in a federal case of this nature can be stressful and difficult. Thankfully, our federal criminal defense lawyers at Joslyn Law Firm leave no stone unturned when it comes to defending you against your federal gun charge.

Some of our legal victories in this practice area include:

  • Charge: Weapons Under Disability
    • Result: Negotiated a plea bargain for the defendant, a former offender, entered guilty to a lesser offense with a month in jail and probation; no prison.
  • Charge: Illegal Possession of a Firearm in a Liquor Permit Premises
    • Result: Negotiated a plea for the defendant to a lesser offense with probation only, no jail.

While past results do not guarantee future outcomes, Joslyn Law Firm is recognized as one of Ohio’s best criminal law practices.

When Gun Charges Fall under Federal Law

Many gun charges, including gun possession, are prosecuted at the state level. In those instances, state law governs the criminal case. Gun charges could also be prosecuted at the federal level, however, when illegal firearms cross state lines or come from another country and enter into a state.


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We Defend Our Clients in Columbus with Respect and Compassion

No one seeks federal gun charges or any arrest. Our attorneys understand that individuals make mistakes or find themselves over their heads with the wrong crowd.

Our founder, Brian Joslyn, was the victim of wrongful arrest and police brutality. Instead of surrendering to these unfortunate circumstances, Joslyn has made it his life’s mission to defend others who find themselves caught in the criminal justice system.

Everyone is presumed innocent and deserves a well-crafted, vigorous defense. Our lawyers’ dedication to justice and legal protection under the law are reflected in our firm’s numerous awards.

Joslyn and his firm have earned such accolades as:

  • Top American Lawyers
  • Client’s Choice Superb Award from Avvo
  • Premier 100 by National Academy of Jurisprudence
  • Top Lawyer by Columbus CEO Magazine
  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers among National Trial Lawyers
  • Lead Counsel Rating
  • Top 25 Criminal Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers

Please give us a call today at (614) 444-1900 to see how our law firm can fight for you in your criminal matter.


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Federal Gun Charges Information Center


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When Gun Charges in Columbus Fall Under Federal Law

Many gun charges, including gun possession, are prosecuted at the state level. In those instances, state law governs the criminal case. However, gun charges could also be prosecuted at the federal level when illegal firearms cross state lines or come from another country and enter a state.


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Defining a Firearm Under Federal Law

Under the United States Code, 18 USC § 921(a)(3), any weapon that expels a projectile using an explosive action or mechanism (such as a trigger) constitutes a firearm. Since they use compressed air to expel a projectile, a BB gun and a pellet gun do not satisfy the definition of a firearm under federal law. Firearms also include:

  • Receivers and frames for qualifying weapons
  • Mufflers and silencers for qualifying weapons
  • Explosive devices, including hand grenades, bombs, mines, and missiles

Even “homemade” weapons, including sawed-off shotguns and pipe bombs, still qualify as firearms for purposes of federal law. All firearms must include a clearly visible serial number.


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Types of Federal Gun Charges

Various offenses could result in a gun charge at the federal level. You face arrest on a federal gun charge in any of the following circumstances:

  • The accused imports, manufactures, receives, or exports a firearm without the necessary license.
  • The accused receives a firearm that has been stolen or steals a firearm for their own use.
  • An individual with a valid license to manufacture firearms manufactures a sawed-off rifle, sawed-off shotgun, silencer, semi-automatic weapon, or other illegal firearm.
  • An individual illegally possesses a sawed-off rifle, sawed-off shotgun, silencer, semi-automatic weapon, or another illegal firearm.

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Individuals in Columbus Prohibited from Owning a Firearm

There are also federal laws and regulations in place that prohibit certain classes of people from transferring or possessing a firearm from state to state—even if they come to have the gun lawfully.

Those classes of individuals include the following:

  • Individuals previously convicted of a felony offense or who are pending a felony trial
  • Individuals who are habitual drug users or addicted to drugs, subject to satisfying certain conditions that establish that the individual in question is a drug user
  • Individuals who are illegal aliens in the United States
  • Individuals who are not permanent legal residents of the United States
  • Individuals previously convicted of a domestic assault charge
  • Individuals accused of committing domestic assault and who have had a restraining order issued against them by a judge
  • Individuals who have received a dishonorable discharge from the United States Armed Forces
  • Individuals who are deemed fugitives from justice
  • Individuals who reside in a mental institution or another facility reserved for mentally ill persons
  • Individuals whom a court has determined to be mentally ill

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Penalties for Gun Convictions

A conviction for a federal firearm charge could result in significant penalties, including fines, jail time, or some combination thereof. These convictions could also impact the offender’s life, especially if the offender must register as a gun offender.

Moreover, any criminal conviction record is visible online and could affect an offender’s future job prospects, educational opportunities, and living arrangements.

Armed Career Criminal Act

According to the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), individuals with prior serious drug charges or violent felony charges on their records could face even harsher penalties if convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm.

For example, individuals convicted of unlawful firearm possession and with three prior serious drug or violent felony charges on their criminal records face a minimum of 15 years in jail.


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Murder or Manslaughter in Columbus That Involves a Firearm

Homicides involving a gun carry harsh sentences. These include murder, manslaughter, and involuntary manslaughter that involved the use of a firearm.

The penalties for these offenses include:

  • A maximum of eight years in jail for an involuntary manslaughter conviction that involves a firearm
  • A maximum of 15 years in jail for a voluntary manslaughter conviction that involves a firearm
  • A maximum of life imprisonment for a second-degree murder conviction that involves a firearm
  • A maximum of death or life imprisonment for a first-degree murder conviction that involves a firearm

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Resources for Federal Gun Charges for Defendants in Columbus, OH

Quick Reference to Federal Firearms Laws

The United States Department of Justice has issued a quick roundup of important federal laws regarding firearms. This list of statutes helps readers ensure they comply with federal laws and regulations about firearms, ammunition, and other firearms-related issues.

Resources for Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL)

The government issues a federal firearms license (FFL) to individuals or businesses that engage in manufacturing or importing firearms or ammunition. An FFL is also required for interstate and intrastate firearm sales.

This website helps individuals understand licensee requirements, provides online applications, and explains the appeals process if denied an FFL.

National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operates the NICS. Anyone purchasing a gun from a Federal Firearms Licensee (for example, a gun shop owner) must complete a background check. The FFL sends this information to the NICS for a background check on the buyer.

The background check verifies that the buyer does not have a criminal record or isn’t otherwise eligible to purchase or own a firearm. Since launching in 1998, the FBI has conducted more than 300 million checks, including 1.5 million denials.

Felony Conviction Disabilities in Ohio

An individual convicted of a state or federal felony suffers collateral consequences known as “civil disabilities.” The Federal Public Defender of Northern Ohio lists these disabilities on its website, including loss of voting rights, loss of jury service, and loss of the right to own a firearm.

Individuals seeking to restore federal firearm privileges must obtain a presidential pardon for the underlying offense.

Ohio Crime Victim Services

Victims of gun crimes and other criminal acts often face financial hardship, such as medical care for injuries and lost pay from being unable to work. Ohio offers these individuals monetary compensation for medical and counseling expenses, replacement services, and funeral expenses.

Victims may apply for up to $50,000 in aid through the Ohio Attorney General’s office.


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News About Federal Gun Charges

July 8, 2021

“16 Arrested, Charged with Federal Gun Crimes in Cincinnati”

Sixteen people were charged with federal gun crimes as part of a multi-agency operation to reduce gun violence in Cincinnati. Fifteen of the defendants are convicted felons of violent crimes. Under state and federal law, people convicted of a violent crime may not own or control firearms.

All 15 defendants face charges of illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison. The arrests resulted from a partnership between the Cincinnati police department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

April 16, 2021

“Ohio House Bill Would Allow Lawmakers to Nullify Federal Gun Control Measures”

Fourteen Ohio Republican lawmakers want to give Ohio the right to override federal gun laws. The proposed rule would make Ohio a “Second Amendment Sanctuary State” by nullifying federal measures that require gun owners to register their weapons.

The bill also would make guns and ammunition tax exempt. Opponents to House Bill 62 worry that if passed, the law would lead to increased gun violence. Ohio is already breaking records for homicides in 2021 and has been the site of several mass shootings.

March 2, 2021

“Cincinnati Police to Combat Gun Crime with Intelligence Center”

The rapid rise in gun violence in Cincinnati prompted the police department to partner with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives for a Crime Gun Intelligence Center. The center will consolidate law enforcement efforts to reduce and prevent gun crimes.

According to the Cleveland police, there were 177 homicides in 2020, up by more than 43 percent from 2019. Columbus police recorded 174 homicides in 2020 compared to 105 homicides the previous year.


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FAQs About Federal Gun Charges

Q. Is It Possible to Avoid Prison for Manslaughter with a Firearm?

A. A federal criminal defense lawyer can create a defense that could keep you out of prison. The court considers certain factors, such as:

  • Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter
  • Your previous criminal record (if any)
  • Defenses such as self-defense

The maximum sentence for involuntary manslaughter with a firearm is eight years. For voluntary manslaughter involving a gun, the maximum term is 15 years.

Q. Can I Regain the Right to Own a Gun If Convicted of a Federal Gun Crime?

A. No, convicted felons of violent crimes or federal gun crimes lose their right to possess, own, or carry a firearm. The only possible way to clear your record is to receive a pardon from the president of the United States.

Q. Does Ohio Have a ‘Castle Doctrine’ Defense Law?

A. Ohio recognizes the right of an individual to protect their home or property (“your home is your castle”). This is also known as a “stand your ground” defense. Ohio is one of 36 states that offers a legal presumption that an individual may use force against anyone who unlawfully enters their home or vehicle.

Recently, the state legislature removed the requirement of “duty to retreat” so long as the defendant is in a location where they have the legal right.

Q. The Police Found a Gun in My Car During a Traffic Stop. Is This Legal Evidence?

A. A criminal defense lawyer can examine the circumstances of your arrest to determine if police violated your Fourth Amendment right to unreasonable search and seizure. An attorney will seek to suppress evidence obtained from an unlawful search, which could weaken the prosecution’s case to the extent that it drops the gun charge.


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Contact a Federal Gun Charge Attorney’s Team in Columbus, Ohio

If you were arrested on federal gun charges, you could be looking at significant penalties if you are ultimately convicted of your charge. Attorney Brian Joslyn and Joslyn Law Firm can discuss your federal charge with you and help you decide your best options for moving forward.

For a free legal consultation and case evaluation with a federal gun charge attorney in Ohio, give us a call today. Dial (614) 444-1900 for more information about how our lawyers can assist you with your case.


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  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional exellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

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