Felon in Possession of a Firearm
The Second Amendment provides all citizens the right to own and possess firearms. However, this right is not without its limits. Over time, courts have allowed lawmakers to place significant restrictions on a person’s ability to possess a gun. Some of the most serious Boston gun crimes stem from those who unlawfully possessed a gun due to a prior felony conviction. If the government claims you were a felon in possession of a firearm, criminal defense attorney Patrick J. Murphy can help. His aggressive approach has resulted in countless dismissals, acquittals, and other favorable outcomes.Massachusetts Gun Laws
Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. There are two types of gun-ownership licenses in Massachusetts, and you must obtain the correct license. A Firearm Identification Card (FID) is required to possess any rifle or shotgun. To legally carry a handgun, however, you must obtain a License to Carry (LTC).
The state government restricts the availability of FIDs and LTCs to certain people. For example, if you have a prior conviction for any of the following, you will not qualify for either a FID or LTC:
- A felony;
- A drug crime;
- A violent crime; or
- A misdemeanor carrying more than a maximum of two years in jail.
If you have any of these offenses on your record, it is a crime to carry a weapon.Punishments for Felon in Possession of a Firearm Offenses
Massachusetts does not have a specific statute governing felon in possession of a firearm crimes. Instead, state law provides that it is illegal for anyone without an LTC or FID to carry a gun. However, depending on why you were ineligible to possess a firearm can affect the punishment you face.
For example, a first-time offense of carrying an unlawful weapon is a second-degree felony, punishable by a mandatory sentence of not less than 2.5 years in jail or a maximum of five years in a state prison, or a minimum sentence of 18 months, and a maximum of 2.5 years in a house of correction. However, if the firearm was loaded, you will also face a consecutive term of imprisonment of up to 2.5 years.
While there are mandatory minimum punishments for Boston gun crimes, there is no guarantee that the court will sentence you to the minimum. For example, if you carry a gun without a license, but were otherwise eligible, the judge may give you a more lenient sentence. However, if you were not allowed to carry a gun due to a prior felony conviction, the judge may hand down a more severe sentence.
The punishment for unlawfully carrying a firearm increases dramatically for second and subsequent offenses. For example, a second offense carries a mandatory sentence of five years in jail, with a maximum punishment of up seven years in jail. A third offense results in a minimum term of seven years in jail, with a maximum of 10 years.
Under state law, it is also a crime to make a false statement when filling out an application for an FID or LTC. Doing so is a misdemeanor for a first offense, punishable by up to two years in jail. However, any subsequent conviction results in felony charges, carrying a sentence of up to five years in jail. It is also against the law to make a “straw purchase,” meaning buying a gun for someone who is not eligible to purchase the gun themselves.
Massachusetts takes gun crimes very seriously, and if you’ve been convicted of a felony and found in possession of a firearm, prosecutors will try to make an example out of you. A dedicated Boston criminal defense lawyer can help you develop a compelling defense to fight the charges you’re facing.Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy
If you are charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, you need an attorney who is ready to fight for your freedom. Attorney Patrick J. Murphy has over 25 years of experience holding the prosecution to their high burden. He has successfully resolved cases through pre-trial motions to suppress as well as at trial, relying on a variety of defenses and strategies. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy can help you develop a compelling, custom-tailored defense to fight any Boston gun crime. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call (617) 367-0450 today.