Federal Firearms Offenses

Federal law makes it illegal for a person to import, produce, or conduct transactions in firearms across state lines. There is an exception if the person possesses a license to import, produce, or deal in firearms.

It is also illegal for a person to sell or otherwise distribute a firearm to another person when the person transferring the weapon knows that the buyer or taker does not live in the same state. Again, the exception is if the people making the transfer are licensed to deal in such weapons. There are also some other general exceptions, such as delivering a firearm to carry out a lawful bequest or to loan a firearm to someone for lawful sporting purposes.

Federal law also prohibits the transportation of certain types of weapons. For instance, it is illegal for a person to transport any device deemed to be destructive. This includes bombs, grenades, rockets, missiles, mines, and similar weapons. A person is also generally prohibited from transporting machineguns as well as rifles and shotguns with short barrels. Machine guns include any weapon that can automatically fire more than one shot by a single function of the trigger. It may also include any part of the whole weapon such as the frame or receiver. It is also generally unlawful to convey or own a machinegun; however, some exceptions do apply.

Federal law prohibits straw purchasers of firearms. These laws make it illegal for a person acquiring a firearm from a dealer to use any false written or oral statements or to present any false identification intended to deceive the dealer about the legality of the transaction or the ultimate owner of the firearm.

The preservation of serial numbers is also a concern. A person violates federal law if he knowingly delivers, transports, or accepts any firearm with a serial number that has been changed, removed, or destroyed.

Certain classes of people are barred from possessing any firearms. These classes include: convicted felons (or people who are under indictment for a felony); people who are addicted to certain illegal drugs; people deemed to have certain mental impairments; people in the country illegally; anyone who has been dishonorably discharged from military service; and anyone restrained by a lawful court order.