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Gun Running: The Risks of Selling Firearms

The country is currently plagued with the specter of mass shootings. The access to firearms, regardless of political ideology, is surprisingly simple for individuals who should not be presented with that access. In fact, the value of firearms is so great that the market for illegal weapons often induces individuals to participate in their sale and distribution. Some individuals are enticed to buy and sell illegal firearms, despite the relatively high criminal risks, in exchange for the high monetary incentives.

Illegal Sale of Firearms Arrests

This is exactly the case with a Saddlebrook man. Just recently, The Patch reported on Miguel Torres, a man who was at that time under investigation by the FBI for illegally selling firearms. Torres was under investigation for almost a year by the time of his arrest. His arrest was made pursuant to a traffic stop in which the driver of the vehicle was also arrested on charges of narcotics possession. Currently, Torres is being held on $100,00 bail with no 10% option.

Bergen County is no stranger to illegal firearms sales. Just last year a man admitted to illegally selling up to 200 handguns. According to NJ.com, Joshua Jackson admitted that he illegally sold firearms to a drug dealer over the course of a year. While on the stand he pled guilty to charges of dealing in firearms without a license, conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. If each sale of the 200 handguns is considered a separate charge, then the sentence could be quite substantial. According to New Jersey law, each count of dealing in firearms and conspiracy carries with it a potential sentence of up to five years in prison and/or $250,000. An additional sentence maximum of 10 years and fine of up to $250,000 is carried by the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

When you Need a License

Of course, not everyone charged with these crimes intends to put the general public in danger with the sale of a firearm. Firearms sellers with good intentions, but a lack of knowledge are often surprised to learn they might be violating criminal laws. Dealing in firearms without a license is generally defined in Federal law under 18 U.S.C. §922(a)(1)(A) as devoting time and labor to the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms for livelihood or profit.  This means, according to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, so long as you are a collector or a hobbyist, you do not need to acquire a license.

This could turn into a grey area though. Even if you are a hobbyist, you might enjoy buying new and used guns and selling them to other collectors. The distinctions between this and dealing in firearms are very subtle. As in the case of Mr. Torres above, a sale of only four handguns may subject you to investigations by the FBI. You are now being charged and must prove that you were not selling your collection pieces for the purpose of profit.

After you are arrested time can be a critical factor in putting together a defense. To help defend you in your firearms dealing charges you should contact a licensed New Jersey criminal law attorney like Phillip J. Murphy. Phillip J. Murphy is licensed to practice in New Jersey and has been practicing law since 1989. Contact us today to discuss your case.

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