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Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Firearms

The United States Sentencing Guidelines have established harsh penalties for firearms violations in an effort to reduce the harms associated with illegal firearms use.

These guidelines can be used to prosecute people who illegally purchase firearms or people who use firearms in the commission of a crime. The penalty for an offense is usually a statutory sentence mandated by the government. This means that there will be no negotiations for a lighter sentence.

What Do the Sentencing Guidelines Prohibit?

The primary purpose of the U.S. Firearms Sentencing Guidelines is to keep firearms out of the hands of people who have been deemed ineligible to use them. The government refers to these people as “prohibited persons.”

A prohibited person is not allowed to purchase, sell, trade or possess firearms, ammunition or certain materials related to firearms. Although the right to own firearms is protected by the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a person can lose their right to possess firearms if he or she:

Firearms Violation Punishments

There are many different activities covered by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for firearms. Due to the serious nature of firearms offenses, anyone involved in a firearms crime can be prosecuted, not just the person who attempted to illegally obtain a firearm. Some examples:

Defending against firearms charges is difficult but possible. A common strategy is to file a motion to suppress evidence introduced by the prosecution, such as the discovery of a firearm during an illegally conducted search.

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