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State & Federal Firearms Charges

State and Federal Firearm Charges: Understanding the Differences and Finding the Right Defense

Navigating the complex landscape of firearm charges can be daunting, particularly when the consequences of a conviction can be severe. In Florida, both state and federal laws govern the use, possession, and ownership of firearms, and understanding the differences between these two legal frameworks is crucial for anyone facing gun charges. This blog aims to highlight the key differences between state and federal firearm charges and underscore why having the right legal representation, such as FLGunLaw, is essential for mounting an effective defense.

Florida State Firearm Charges


Florida’s firearm laws provide more freedoms compared to some other states, yet violations of these laws can still result in harsh penalties. Here are some of the most common state firearm charges:

Using a Firearm in the Commission of a Crime:

Penalties: Depending on the crime, this can be classified as a second-degree, first-degree, or life felony, with potential sentences ranging from up to 15 years to life imprisonment.

Firearms in Violent Crimes:

Penalties: Crimes like aggravated assault, sexual battery, and robbery involving firearms can lead to mandatory minimum sentences of 20 years, with potential for up to life imprisonment if someone is injured or killed.

Carrying a Concealed Firearm Without a Permit:

Penalties: This can be a first-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony, with penalties including up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Possession of Illegal Firearms:

Penalties: Possession of machine guns, short-barreled rifles, or certain types of ammunition is usually a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Felons in Possession of Firearms:

Penalties: Generally a second-degree felony with sentences ranging from 3 to 15 years in prison.

Common Defenses for State Gun Charges

When facing state gun charges, several defenses may be applicable, depending on the specifics of the case:

Legality of Possession: Demonstrating that you were lawfully carrying the firearm.

Antique Firearms: Proving the firearm is an antique, which may exempt it from certain regulations.

Self-Defense: Using Florida's "Stand Your Ground" laws to justify the use of the firearm.

Lack of Knowledge or Possession: Arguing that you were unaware of the firearm’s presence or that it was not in your possession.

Illegal Search and Seizure: Challenging the legality of the search that led to the discovery of the firearm.

Federal Firearm Charges



Federal firearm laws are derived from several key acts, such as the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968, and the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994. Federal charges often carry mandatory minimum sentences and are prosecuted in federal court, making them particularly serious. Common federal firearm charges include:

Possession of a Firearm by a Felon: Penalties: Up to 10 years in prison, with no mandatory minimum sentence.

Brandishing a Firearm During a Crime: Penalties: A mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years.

Discharging a Firearm During a Crime:

Penalties: A mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.

Possession of Prohibited Weapons During a Crime:

Penalties: Possessing weapons like short-barreled rifles or machine guns during a crime can result in mandatory minimum sentences ranging from 10 to 30 years, depending on the weapon and circumstances.

Second Offenses:

Penalties: Typically, mandatory minimum sentences are doubled for second offenses.

Why You Need FLGunLaw

Whether you are facing state or federal firearm charges, having a skilled and experienced defense attorney is critical. FLGunLaw is well-versed in both state and federal firearm laws and has a proven track record of successfully defending clients against these serious charges. Our comprehensive understanding of the legal landscape, combined with personalized defense strategies, ensures that you receive the best possible representation.

Facing firearm charges is a serious matter, but it doesn’t have to be the end. Contact FLGunLaw today for a case consultation and take the first step towards protecting your rights and your future.

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