There has been a recent spate of crime in your area. Multiple burglaries and armed robberies have occurred in recent months, and you’re concerned for the safety of your family. You’ve decided to purchase a firearm just in case you ever need to protect yourself.
The right to bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, so it’s unlikely that you could be charged for this alone, as long as your gun does not require a permit or special license.
However, you’ve received a visit from the police who claim that your firearm is stolen. You know you didn’t steal it. You purchased it in good faith, believing that you received a fair deal. Could you still face criminal charges?
Possessing a stolen firearm is unlawful
Possessing a stolen firearm is a federal offense that carries a prison term of up to 10 years. This is outlined in U.S.C s 922(j). This statute also applies to stolen ammunition. However, there is a caveat that the individual must have known, or had reasonable cause to believe that the gun or ammunition was stolen.
You are innocent until proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt, and it is up to the prosecution to show that you know or had reasonable cause to believe that the gun or ammunition was stolen.
If you didn’t know that the firearm was stolen, and truly believed you took part in a legitimate transaction, then you shouldn’t be prosecuted. Having experienced legal guidance behind you will help to address the charges that have been lodged against you.