District of South Carolina
QUICK REFERENCE TO FEDERAL FIREARMS LAWS
I. POSSESSION OR RECEIPT OF A FIREARM OR AMMUNITION BY A PROHIBITED PERSON:
18 USC § 922(g). Punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. Pursuant to 18 USC § 924(e), may receive minimum sentence of 15years without parole if offender has 3 or more prior convictions for afelony crime of violence (e.g., burglary, arson, extortion, assault) and/ordrug trafficking felony.
A. Knowing possession or receipt of a firearm or ammunition;
B. By a subject who falls within one of the following categories:
Felon - Prior conviction for offense that carries over 1 yr. (Certainexceptions listed in 18 USC § 921(a)(20) Additionally, personsawaiting trial on felony charges are prohibited from receiving firearms. See 18 USC § 922(n));
Drug user or addict - Inference of current use may be shown byevidence of recent use or possession or pattern of use or possessionthat reasonably covers the present time (e.g., positive drug test;conviction for use or possession within past year.);
Alien -Includes illegal aliens and non-immigrant aliens. This provisiondoes not prohibit an alien with a “green card” from possessing guns orammunition. NOTE: certain exceptions in 18 USC § 922(y);
Person adjudicated as mental defective or committed to mentalinstitution;
Person subject to a domestic restraining order - The order must prohibit specific conduct against an intimate partner or a child ofeither the intimate partner or person subject to the order and musthave been issued after a hearing of which the subject was notifiedand at which the subject had an opportunity to participate. The order must also find the subject poses a credible threat to the physicalsafety of the intimate partner or child described above or must prohibitthe use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force.;
Person with a prior misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence - The prior conviction must be for a crime which has as an element theuse or attempted use of physical force or the threatened use of adeadly weapon. It must have been committed by someone in aspecific domestic relationship with the victim (e.g., spouse or formerspouse, partner, parent, or guardian). The subject must have beenrepresented by counsel or waived that right and if entitled to a jurytrial, had a jury trial or waived that right.;
Fugitive from justice -Fled any state to avoid being prosecuted or toavoid testifying in any criminal proceeding.; or
Person dishonorably discharged from the military;
C. AND, the firearm or ammunition was transported across a state line atany time. (Defendant need not have transported the firearm or known of itstransportation across state lines.)
II. KNOWINGLY SELL, GIVE OR OTHERWISE DISPOSE OF ANY FIREARM OR AMMUNITION TO ANY PERSON WHO FALLS WITHIN ONE OF THE ABOVE CATEGORIES:
18 USC § 922(d). Punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.
III. USE, CARRY OR POSSESS A FIREARM IN RELATION TO OR IN FURTHERANCE OF A FEDERAL DRUG FELONY OR A FEDERAL CRIME OF VIOLENCE:
18 USC § 924(c); 18 USC § 924(j). Punishment ranges from at least 5 years up to life imprisonment, without parole, or death if death results from use of firearm. Sentence of imprisonment must be served consecutive to any other sentence. Mandatory minimumsentence increases depending upon: the type of firearm involved (short-barreled rifle or shotgun; silencer, etc.); whether it is a second or subsequent offense; and whether gun was brandished or discharged.
IV. STOLEN FIREARM, AMMUNITION OR EXPLOSIVE:
A. 18 USC §§ 842(h); 922(i), & (j). Punishable by up to 10 yearsimprisonment. May not knowingly transport or ship in interstatecommerce or receive, possess, conceal, pledge or accept as securityfor a loan any stolen firearm, ammunition or explosive which has moved in interstate commerce.
B. 18 USC § 922(u). Punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment. May notwillfully steal or unlawfully take or carry away a firearm that has beenshipped or transported in interstate commerce from the person or premises of a firearms licensee.
V. FIREARM IN A SCHOOL ZONE:
18 USC § 922(q)(2), (3). Misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment. Generally, may not possess or discharge a firearm (that has moved in interstate commerce) in a school zone.
VI. KNOWINGLY POSSESS OR MANUFACTURE CERTAIN FIREARMS:
Various offenses punishable by up to 5 or 10 years imprisonment, depending upon specific violation.
A. 26 USC § 5861. Generally unlawful to make or possess any unregistered machine gun or any part designed or intendedexclusively for use in converting a weapon into such weapon, firearm silencer, sawed-off shotgun or rifle which meet specific length criteria, or destructive device (as defined in 26 USC § 5845); see also 18 USC § 922(o): generally unlawful to possess or transfermachine guns made on or after May 19, 1986;
B. 18 USC § 922(v). Generally unlawful to manufacture, transfer, or possess semi-automatic assault weapon manufactured after Sept. 13, 1994; OR
C. 18 USC § 922(k). Generally unlawful to possess or receive any firearmthat has moved in interstate commerce which lacks a serial number or contains an altered or obliterated serial number.
VII. SELL, DELIVER OR TRANSFER FIREARM OR AMMUNITION TO A JUVENILE:
A. 18 USC § 922(x)(1). Punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment unlesstransferor had reason to believe juvenile would commit crime ofviolence with gun or ammunition, then up to 10 years imprisonment. May not sell, deliver or transfer a handgun or handgun-onlyammunition to a person who is under age 18;
B. 18 USC § 922(x)(2). A person under age 18 may not possess a handgun or handgun-only ammunition; (NOTE: Certain exceptions apply to A & B, such as where juvenile possesses written permission of a parent.);
C. 18 USC § 922(b). Punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment. A firearms licensee 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.
FORFEITURE OF FIREARMS, AMMUNITION & EXPLOSIVES:
Firearms, as defined below, involved in the aforementioned violations, or violations of firearms registration or tax lawsmay be forfeited by ATF. Firearms involved in drug violations may be forfeitedby other federal agencies. Both civil and criminal forfeiture are available. Civil forfeiture does not require a federal prosecution. An agency must give noticeof proposed civil forfeiture within 60 days of a federal seizure and within 90days of a State or local seizure. To meet these deadlines, a State or local agency generally must refer a firearm seizure to a federal agency foradministrative or civil forfeiture within 30 days of the seizure by the State orlocal agency. Contact the federal agency forfeiture staff immediately uponseizure, even if the firearm is needed as evidence in a criminal case.
TRACING OF FIREARMS:
Firearms information for every firearmtaken into police custody should be sent to ATF for tracing and possibleconnection to other criminal activity.
DEFINITION OF “FIREARM”:
18 USC § 921(a)(3), (4). Anyweapon (including a starter gun) which will expel a projectile by means of anexplosive or is designed or may be readily converted to do so. This includes the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any firearm muffler or silencer orany destructive device. A “destructive device” includes any explosive,incendiary or poison gas --- (i)bomb; (ii) grenade or (iii) similar device, or anycombination of parts designed or intended for use in converting any deviceinto a destructive device, or from which a destructive device may be readilyassembled. Does not include antique firearms.
FOR INFORMATION OR QUESTIONS ABOUT PROJECT CEASEFIRE OR TO MAKE A REFERRAL FOR PROSECUTION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
Columbia - phone: 803-765-5723 fax: 803-765-5756
Charleston - phone: 843-763-3683 fax: 843-763-8848
Greenville - phone: 864-232-3221 fax: 864-233-7160
Florence - phone: 843-667-3985 fax: 843-678-8809
United States Attorney's Office
Columbia - phone: 803-929-3033 fax: 803-256-0233
Charleston - phone: 843-727-4381 fax: 843-727-4443
Greenville - phone: 864-282-2105 fax: 864-239-2993
Florence - phone: 843-665-6688 fax: 843-678-8809