In the United States, it is legal for most people to own a large variety of weapons. However, you generally have to be licensed to own them, and there are limits as to the type of ammunition that you may be able to use. Furthermore, it may be illegal to sell weapons to others without going through a proper background check and waiting period.
Are You Allowed to Own a Weapon?
If you have never been convicted of a crime or been suspected of a mental illness, you are likely allowed to own a gun. However, if you are a convicted felon or there is reason to believe that you could pose a danger to society, your rights to gun ownership may be restricted either temporarily or permanently. If you are in possession of an unregistered weapon, you could face serious penalties including jail or prison time.
Can You Sell a Weapon to Another Person?
Having the right to own a gun is completely separate from your ability to sell a weapon. First, you must make sure that the weapon is registered to the new owner. Second, you must make sure that the new owner can legally own a gun. If not, you could face penalties for selling to that person, and it may be considered a form of weapons trafficking if you provide or sell guns illegally.
What Happens if You Sell a Gun to Someone Who Commits a Crime?
In the event that you sell a gun to someone who commits a crime with that weapon, you could face the same penalties as the person who committed the crime. Therefore, you could be charged with possession of a weapon, robbery or even murder if a person is killed with the gun that you provided.
What Happens If I Thought the Transaction Was Legal?
Criminal law places a large emphasis on intent when determining if someone has committed a crime. Therefore, you may not be charged with trafficking if you though that you were providing or selling weapons in a legal manner. Typically, you must show that the person you sold or provided a weapon presented proper identification and that other criteria were met.
In some cases, individuals may be able to sell guns without going performing a background check as there is no ban on selling private property. It may also be possible to show that you thought that the gun that you sold was legal to sell in New York or elsewhere in the United States.
What If I Have a Legal Gun in My Car?
It is also possible that a gun that you have in your possession is legal in other states but illegal in New York City. Therefore, if you are caught transporting a weapon that is legal in Massachusetts but not in New York City, it may increase the odds of a trafficking charge. However, as long as you didn’t intentionally transport with the intent of selling or otherwise committing a crime, you may be able to overcome the charge.
What Should I Do If I’m Charged With Weapons Trafficking?
If you are charged with weapons trafficking, the first thing that you should do is call an attorney. He or she will go over the evidence in your case and start creating a defense to the charge. Furthermore, it may not be a good idea to talk to the authorities as anything that you say can be used against you. This may lower your odds of obtaining a plea bargain or creating reasonable doubt that could result in a not guilty verdict from a jury.
A weapons trafficking charge could result in decades or even a lifetime in a federal prison. Therefore, it is in your best interest to learn your rights and how you can protect them. Generally, you are under no obligation to talk to anyone nor are you compelled to do anything else that could incriminate yourself in any way.