Federal Gun Charges Lawyer Near You in Columbus, Ohio
Many Ohio gun charges are brought at the state level, but more serious circumstances can warrant federal gun charges based on the United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines. This means going to trial in federal court and facing more severe penalties. Federal gun charges include possession of a gun by a convicted felon, conducting gun transactions across state lines without a proper license, selling firearms to minors, and carrying a gun during a violent crime, among other offenses.
A conviction on a federal charge could upend your life. On top of fines and significant prison time, your personal life could take a hit, and you risk losing voting, gun ownership, and other rights. You can even lose custody of your children. Our federal gun charges lawyer in Columbus, Ohio can help you avoid this outcome. At Joslyn Law Firm, we have represented over 20,000 cases and accrued over 50 years of combined legal experience. Using this experience, our attorneys can create a defense strategy that reflects your case circumstances and strive to have your charges dropped or reduced.
Given the significance of the penalties for federal weapons offenses, representing yourself in a federal case of this nature can be stressful and difficult. Our federal criminal defense lawyers at Joslyn Law Firm leave no stone unturned when defending you against your federal gun charge.
Some of our legal victories in this practice area include:
- Charge: Weapons Under Disability
- Result: We negotiated a plea bargain for the defendant, a former offender. They 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: We negotiated a plea for the defendant to a lesser offense with probation only—no jail.
While past results do not guarantee future outcomes, our federal gun lawyers near you at the Joslyn Law Firm are recognized as one of Ohio’s best criminal law practices.
We Defend Our Clients in Columbus with Respect and Compassion
There are many possible defenses to federal gun charges, and we know how to create a well-supported defense case to keep you out of jail and protect your rights. With gun charge cases, possible defense strategies we can use include:
- Lack of probable cause
- Lack of reasonable suspicion
- False reports
- Unlawful search and seizure
Our founder, Brian Joslyn, was the victim of wrongful arrest and police brutality. In the wake of these unfortunate circumstances, Attorney Joslyn made it his life’s mission to defend others who find themselves caught in the criminal justice system.
Our team defends clients from all walks of life. We have advocated for blue- and white-collar workers, professional athletes, licensed professional students, celebrities, and other criminal defense lawyers. We have given each of these clients the time and attention they deserve and design a well-crafted, vigorous defense that aims to keep them out of jail. Our lawyers’ dedication to justice and legal protection under the law are reflected in our firm’s numerous awards. Brian Joslyn and his firm have earned such accolades as:
- Top 100 Attorneys from America’s Top 100
- Client’s Choice Superb Award from Avvo
- Premier 100 from the National Academy of Jurisprudence
- Top Lawyer from Columbus CEO Magazine
- Top 100 Trial Lawyers from The National Trial Lawyers
- Lead Counsel Verified
- Top 25 Criminal Trial Lawyers from The National Trial Lawyers
No matter what federal gun charge you are facing, our gun lawyers near you can help. Call us today at (614) 444-1900 to see how our law firm can fight for you.
Federal Gun Charges Information Center
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.
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
Dismantled, disassembled, or altered firearms that leave them inoperable at the time of the alleged crime may fit this definition. This even includes “homemade” weapons, such as filed-down hammers that could expel a projectile, sawed-off shotguns, and pipe bombs. These still qualify as firearms for purposes of federal law.
All firearms must include a clearly visible serial number.
The Exception for Antique Firearms
Firearms is a broad term that accounts for nearly anything you can shoot. But antique firearms are often viewed differently under law.
For instance, felons may be barred from carrying or using a standard rifle, pistol, or shotgun, as they fall under the “firearms” category. However, they may be able to carry an antique firearm, which, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), may include:
- A firearm with a flintlock, matchlock, or percussion cap that was manufactured during or before 1898
- A replica of a firearm manufactured before or during 1898
- A muzzle-loading shotgun, pistol, or rifle that uses black powder rather than fixed ammunition
If you can’t shoot or project anything from the antique firearm, you may be able to possess it, no matter your legal standing.
Types of Federal Gun Charges
Various offenses could result in a gun charge at the federal level. You can 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 another illegal firearm.
- An individual illegally possesses a sawed-off rifle, sawed-off shotgun, silencer, semi-automatic weapon, or another illegal firearm.
- An individual supplies a firearm to a juvenile and knew or should have known they intended to commit a crime with this firearm.
- An individual obtains a fake license or permit to purchase or possess a gun.
- An individual smuggles ammunition or weapons across state lines or the U.S. border.
- Whether the situation ended in injury, death, or everyone walked away physically unharmed, the individual may receive federal charges if they have a gun at the scene of a violent crime.
Getting convicted of these federal charges may result in jail or prison time, fines, and lost rights and privileges.
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, addicted to drugs, or satisfy 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 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
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.
According to 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), no one can use, carry, or possess a firearm in furtherance of a violent or trafficking crime. Violating this statute and receiving a conviction usually results in a mandatory minimum of five years in prison.
This penalty may increase based on factors like:
- If the gun was brandished during the crime (minimum of seven years)
- The type of firearm in question (minimum of 10 years if it was a shotgun)
- If it contained a muffler or silencer (minimum of 30 years)
The maximum penalty under these offenses is life imprisonment. The statute also enforces an additional 25 years for every second or subsequent conviction.
Armed Career Criminal Act
According to the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), 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.
Common Defenses to Federal Gun Charges
Our gun charge attorneys will strive to keep you out of jail and from paying steep fines. In doing so, we can develop a defense strategy that reflects the circumstances of your case. Even though every situation differs, we have seen an overlap of factors among gun charge cases.
Common defense strategies our lawyers can use to fight your federal gun charges include:
- Unlawful search and seizure: If the police didn’t have a warrant or probable cause to search your person or property for a gun, your attorney can file a motion to suppress evidence obtained at that time.
- Entrapment: It’s illegal for law enforcement to threaten, harass, or coerce you into committing a crime.
- Self-defense: Your life could have been at risk, so you used your firearm to defend yourself.
- False reports: Witnesses may misremember details of the event or lie. Our attorneys can counter their statements with our own documentation and evidence.
- Mistaken identity: You were not the one who committed the gun crime. DNA evidence, photos, and videos can back up these claims.
- Lack of reasonable suspicion: You didn’t exhibit any unusual behavior that led the arresting officer to believe you were committing a crime.
Our federal gun charge lawyers near you don’t limit themselves to using just one defense. We may use a combination to form the best arguments against your charges.
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
Evidence in a Federal Gun Charges Case in Columbus, Ohio
By the time you’ve been charged with a federal gun crime, the prosecution may have already started investigating what happened and building their case against you. It’s their job to prove that you committed the federal gun crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This duty may entail their gathering and presenting evidence such as:
- The police report
- Witness statements
- Receipts of your purchase of the gun in question
- Photos or video footage of the alleged incident
- Relevant text messages, emails, or social media posts
- Related bank transactions and transfers
- Crime scene investigative reports
- The gun or components of the gun in question
- The gun’s serial number
- Medical records of people who were injured or killed in the crime
- Your personal notes in a journal
- DNA tracings
Our federal gun charges lawyer near you in Columbus, Ohio must collect evidence proving you are not guilty of this crime. We can cross-examine witnesses, establish that the police didn’t follow protocol, and build a defense tailored to your case.
Resources for Federal Gun Charges for Defendants in Columbus, OH
Quick Reference to Federal Firearms Laws
The United States Department of Justice has a quick guide to 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.
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, funeral expenses, and other services.
Victims may apply for up to $50,000 in aid through the Ohio Attorney General’s office.
Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence (OCAGV)
Since 1995, this non-profit organization has worked to stop gun violence through public awareness, advocacy, and education. On top of being a state resource on gun violence and laws, it monitors the current situation throughout Ohio, especially in everyday households, minority communities, and schools.
News About Federal Gun Charges
October 10, 2022
“Youngstown Youth Football Coach Pleads Guilty to Federal Gun Charge”
On October 7, 2022, Randy Triplett, a youth football coach, pled guilty to felony charges for possessing a firearm in the U.S. Northern District of Ohio.
In July of 2022, an officer pulled him over for making an improper turn on his motorcycle. When the police asked if he had a gun, he said no and gave them a fake name. Police found a loaded 9mm handgun in the motorcycle’s front compartment.
He’s been out on a $20,000 unsecured bond since he was indicted in August and awaits his sentencing that’s set to take place in January of 2023.
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 of 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.
Federal Gun Cases
In February 2018, Fredrick Weber was holding a gun while extremely intoxicated. Deputy Christopher Shouse and Sergeant Mark Jarman came to his home after his wife called the police. Shouse noted he could smell the alcohol on him, while Jarman noticed his slurred speech and how glassy and bloodshot his eyes were.
Ohio Rev Code Section 2923.15 prohibits anyone from carrying or using a firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, so the officers charged him with a first-degree misdemeanor. When he was found guilty at his bench trial, Weber was sentenced to 10 days in jail, which later was totally suspended. He had to do 10 hours of community service, pay $100 in fines, and stay under community control for a year.
In 2003, Justin Taylor received a conviction for conspiracy to commit a robbery that violated the Hobbs Act and using a firearm to further a “crime of violence.” Mr. Taylor pled guilty and was sentenced to 360 months in prison.
He appealed the verdict, but the court denied his request. In 2015, he filed a motion to vacate his sentencing, receiving a dismissal. In hopes that the decision in Johnson vs. United States (which limited the definition of a violent felony in the ACCA) might be in his favor, he tried again the following year. He claimed the attempted Hobbs Act robbery didn’t qualify as a crime of violence anymore.
In 2019, the court vacated his conviction and remanded his case for resentencing. The case made its way to the Supreme Court in 2022, which reaffirmed the previous ruling.
FAQs About Federal Gun Charges
Is It Possible to Avoid Prison for Manslaughter With a Firearm?
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.
Can I Regain the Right to Own a Gun If Convicted of a Federal Gun Crime?
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.
Does Ohio Have a ‘Castle Doctrine’ Defense Law?
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.
The Police Found a Gun in My Car During a Traffic Stop. Is This Legal Evidence?
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.
How Can a Federal Gun Charges Lawyer Help Me?
Your attorney’s goal is to get your charges dropped or reduced and keep you from going behind bars. This process entails:
- Working to reduce your bail
- Negotiating a plea with the prosecution
- Collecting and analyzing evidence
- Cross-examining witnesses
- Determining which laws apply to you
- Communicating with the police, prosecution, and the courts on your behalf
- Creating a defense strategy
- Representing you during all legal proceedings
On top of working closely with other entities in the legal system, your defense attorney can keep in touch with you. They’re always available to answer your questions and give you any updates.
What Are Typical Defense Strategies in a Federal Gun Charges Case?
When your lawyer investigates your case and analyzes the prosecution’s evidence against you, they can form a unique defense strategy that aims to get you a favorable outcome.
They may base it on:
- Unlawful search and seizure
- False reports
- Mistaken identity
- Lack of reasonable suspicion
Contact a Federal Gun Charge Attorney Near You 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 near you in Ohio, give us a call today. Dial (614) 444-1900 for more information about how our lawyers can assist you with your case.