The “prohibited person” statute under federal law, defining who can possess a firearm and who cannot, is pretty straight forward. You will be surprised to learn the many classes of people who cannot possess a firearm, not just convicted felons. If you meet one of these categories, it is a federal felony to possess a firearm or ammunition. I usually don’t copy and paste whole statutes, but the statutes are pretty straight forward. 18 U.S.C. 922(g) states, with the assistance of my commentary in caps and parentheses, that:
(g) It shall be unlawful for any person–
(1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year; (A CONVICTED FELON)
(2) who is a fugitive from justice; (YOU ARE AVOIDING A COURT ORDER OR HAVE A WARRANT FOR ARREST)
(3) who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802)); (YOU ARE CHEMICALLY DEPENDENT ON UNLAWFUL DRUGS)
(4) who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution; (A COURT HAS FOUND YOU MENTALLY INCOMPETENT OR YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLUNTARILY COMMITTED TO A MENTAL HOSPITAL)
(5) who, being an alien–
(A) is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or (B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 (a)(26))); (YOU ARE ILLEGALLY IN THIS COUNTRY)
(6) who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions; (SELF EXPLANATORY)
(7) who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his citizenship; (YES THEY ACCEPT RENUNCIATIONS AND TREAT THEM ACCORDINGLY)
(8) who is subject to a court order that–
(A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had an opportunity to participate;
(B) restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and (C)
(i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or (ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; (YOU ARE UNDER A PROTECTIVE ORDER REGARDING VIOLENCE)
or (9) who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,
to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce. (YOU HAVE BEEN CONVICTED OF ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE).
Additionally, 922(n) states: (n) It shall be unlawful for any person who is under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce any firearm or ammunition or receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce. (IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH A FELONY OR ON DEFERRED ADJUDICATION, YOU CANNOT TRANSPORT OR RECEIVE A FIREARM ETC.)
As you can see, Congress has restricted the gun rights not only of convicted felons, but of nine classes of persons in this broad sub-statute alone. Punishment for possessing a firearm or ammunition (or other destructive device) starts at 0-10 years for someone who is a prohibited person as outlined above, but not subject to further enhancement. Firearms prosecution is a priority area for the federal government, and has been since the Clinton administration. These laws are enforceable despite state laws which are more lenient on who can possess a firearm.
If you or someone you know is being investigated or prosecuted for a crime, call Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist Micah Belden at 903-744-4252.