More than any other country in the world, the United States allows its citizens to own and carry firearms. It seems to be one of the defining examples of “American freedom”. However, the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution does have limits. There are limits to certain people owning firearms, for example– convicted felons are prohibited from owning firearms– but there are also penalties for possessing a stolen firearm. In this blog, we will discuss possession of a stolen firearm in North Carolina. Like all of our blogs, this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
Possessing a Stolen Firearm
In North Carolina it is against the law to possess a gun that is stolen. Possession can be a complicated concept in criminal law because it can be found through actual possession or constructive possession. We cover the topic of actual possession versus constructive possession in a different blog that can be found here. The defendant in a criminal case charged with possession will receive the same punishment upon conviction, regardless of what type of possession is proven.
The law in this situation is found in North Carolina General Statute 14-71.1. This statute covers possession of stolen goods in general. Though there are criteria for possession of stolen goods and what it would take for that to become felonious, possession of a stolen gun is always a felony.
Penalties for Possession of a Stolen Firearm
In North Carolina, Possession of a Stolen Firearm is a felony and follows the North Carolina Felony Sentencing Guidelines. Further, there are collateral consequences that may occur with that type of conviction on your criminal record.
Defending a Possession of a Stolen Firearm Charge
Like all crimes, if you are charged with Possession of a Stolen Firearm the case will end in one of three ways; a dismissal, a plea bargain, or a criminal trial. In a criminal trial for Possession of a Stolen Firearm, there may be one of several strategies your criminal defense attorney employs, including but not limited to:
- Making an argument regarding whether or not the defendant knew or should have known that the firearm was stolen
- Making an argument regarding whether actual or constructive possession can be proven by the state
- Determining whether or not there was an illegal search that should result in evidence being suppressed
If you are charged with Possession of a Stolen Firearm, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.