The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) enforces federal laws and regulations related to alcohol, tobacco, firearms, explosives, and arson.
ATF agents cooperate with other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
On July 13, 2022, Steven M. Dettelbach became the Director of the ATF.
Under certain circumstances, ATF agents have the authority to seize and forfeit firearms, ammunition, explosives, alcohol, tobacco, currency, conveyances, and certain real property allegedly involved in law violations.
ATF critics contend that agents often violate the law during investigations by:
- making surprise firearm inspections at people’s homes without a search warrant;
- targeting people with no criminal records over inadvertent errors; and
- dramatically increasing the number of ATF FFL revocations.
Attorney for ATF Investigations in Florida
The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent clients during all stages of an ATF investigation. The cases might involve the execution of a search warrant or criminal allegations.
We also represent clients during criminal or civil asset forfeiture proceedings regarding the seizure of firearms or other property by ATF agents.
If you are an FFLs accused of violating federal firearm laws and regulations, including the implementing regulations of the Gun Control Act (GCA), we can help. We work with many of the top experts in the field.
We can answer your questions about the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record maintained by the ATF under the provisions of Title 26, United States Code, Section 5841 and Section 5845(a), and the potential registration status of any firearms you maintain in the inventory of your business.
Which Firearms Are Illegal under Federal Law?
Different types of firearms are illegal under Federal law, including:
- A stolen firearm;
- A firearm with an obliterated serial number;
- A silencer or destructive device;
- A shotgun with a barrel length of less than 18 inches or an overall length that is less than 26 inches;
- A rifle with a barrel length of less than 16 inches or the overall length is less than 26 inches;
- Machine guns;
- A firearm not detectable by a walk-through metal detector;
- A firearm unlawfully imported into the United States.
Types of Firearm Crimes under Federal Law
Most federal gun crimes involve violations of 18 U.S.C. § 922 and 18 U.S.C. § 924.
Perhaps the most commonly prosecuted federal firearm crime is “felon in possession” under 18 USC § 922(g)(1). This crime is punishable by up to ten years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. State law in Florida also prohibits felons from possessing a firearm or ammunition.
Prosecutions are also common for possessing a firearm by a person convicted of a misdemeanor for domestic violence.
Another commonly prosecuted firearm crime under Federal law involves violations of 18 USC § 924(c)(1)(A)(i), which prohibits using, carrying, or possessing a firearm during the commission of a federal drug trafficking crime or crime of violence.
Prosecutions for unlawful possession of a firearm by a person unlawfully in the United States in violation of 18 USC § 922(g)(5)(A) are also common.
Other types of charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office include:
- “Straw purchasers” involve one person who is prohibited from buying a firearm using another person to purchase the firearm from the dealer on their behalf
- Making false statements or misrepresenting a buyer’s identity to the firearms dealer while attempting to buy a firearm or ammunition in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6)
- Removing or altering serial numbers in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(k)
- Illegal possession of a machine gun in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(o)
- Possession of a firearm in a school zone in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(q)
- Possession of a stolen firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(i) and (j)
- Using or carrying a firearm during a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)
Other commonly prosecuted firearm crimes under federal law include:
- 18 USC Section 922 (d) – Providing a firearm or ammunition knowing the transferee is a prohibited person;
- 18 USC Section 922 (j) – Knowing possession of a stolen firearm;
- 18 USC Section 922 (k) – Possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number;
- 18 USC Section 922 (o) – Possession of a machine gun;
- 18 USC Section 922 (v) – Transfer of a handgun or handgun ammunition to a juvenile;
- 18 USC Section 922 (u) – Theft of a firearm from a licensed dealers inventory;
- 18 USC Section 924 (a)(1)(A) – Knowingly making a false statement to a licensed firearms dealer; and
- 18 USC Section 1001 or 922(m) – Failure of a licensed firearms dealer to maintain required records.
Firearm Crimes Prosecuted under 26 USC Section 5861
The U.S. Tax Code (Title 26) contains other provisions dealing with firearm crimes. The provisions for firearm crimes under Section 5861 include the following:
- 26 USC 5861(a) – Engaging in the business of manufacturing, importing, or dealing in firearms without the proper tax
- 26 USC 5861(b) – Receiving or possessing a firearm transferred in violation of Title 26, Ch.53
- 26 USC 5861(c) – Receiving or possessing a firearm made in violation of Title 26, Ch.53
- 26 USC 5861(d) – Receiving or possessing a firearm not registered in National Firearm Registration
- 26 USC 5861(e) – Transfering a firearm in violation of Title 26, Ch. 53
- 26 USC 5861(f) – Making a firearm in violation of Title 26, Ch. 53
- 26 USC 5861(g) – Obliterating, removing, changing or altering the serial number of a firearm
- 26 USC 5861(h) – Receiving or possessing a firearm having a serial number that was obliterated, removed, or altered
26 USC 5861(i) – Receiving or possessing a firearm that is not identified by serial number
26 USC 5861(j) – Transporting, delivering, or receiving a firearm that has not been registered
26 USC 5861(k) – Receiving or possessing a firearm that has been imported or brought into the United States
- 26 USC 5861(l) – Making a false entry on application/return/record required to be kept
This article was last updated on Monday, April 24, 2023.