The White House opened the 2016 new year with a series of executive actions aimed at reducing gun crime in the U.S. Agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the office of the Attorney General have issued new rules and clarified current ones, many of which carry criminal penalties for non-compliance.
Duty to Conduct Background Checks
The ATF is finalizing rules that will require firearms dealers to obtain a license to engage in the business of selling firearms and to conduct background checks before selling guns to people who are trying to buy a gun. Violators of the ATF rule on licensing and background checks face criminal penalties. The punishment for dealing without a license is jail time of up to 5 years and a huge fine of up to $250,000.
Enforcement of the ATF rules is going to be strict. A dealer may be charged and convicted of violating the licensing requirement even if the sale or transaction only involves as few as 2 firearm units, or when only 1 or 2 transactions have taken place.
Duty to Notify Authorities about Lost Firearms
Federal law currently requires dealers to notify law enforcement agencies when a gun is lost or stolen from their inventory. The ATF has recently expanded the rule to include firearms licensees who are shipping a gun to notify law enforcers as well when a gun is lost or stolen in transit.
Aggressive Prosecution of Gun Crimes
Federal prosecutors as well are directed to focus their attention and resources on the enforcement of gun crime laws by bringing violators to justice.
While the implementation of the new rules affecting gun crimes and a call to stricter enforcement of gun laws are aimed at ending horrible tragedies linked to gun violence, innocent people may get caught in the web of complicated laws and rules on the federal and state level.
If you are charged with a gun crime, you are entitled to raise all possible gun crime defenses that are appropriate in your case.
In Washington, D.C. and in Maryland, the criminal defense attorneys at Lotze & Mosley, LLP have years of proven experience in gun crime defense, having handled over 100 criminal cases with favorable outcomes. We carefully analyze every case, weigh the evidence of prosecution, and protect our client’s rights in court.