FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More

Ignorance of Federal Firearms Law is no Excuse

Lawfully filling out an ATFE 4473 Form and Avoiding a Federal Criminal Charge

If you watch many television shows or evening news, it is very easy to associate the term “indictment”–someone who has been indicted–with a big federal case. The same thing appears on the caption of newspapers, like “77 Drug Cartel Members Indicted by U.S. Attorney.”

However, a pending arrest in state court for a felony or a crime for which you may be punished by a period of a year or more incarceration is an “indictment” for purposes of purchasing a firearm and truthfully answering question 11(b) on the AFT Form 4473 (revised April, 2012).1

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This question states:

“Are you under indictment or information in any court of a felony, or any other crime, for which the judge could imprison you for more than one year, even if you received a shorter sentence  including probation?”

Even if you are later acquitted at trial or a plea is reached that results in a crime that does not fit within this definition, you are under “indictment” or “information” no matter what it might be called in a given state court at the time of filling out the ATF 4473 Form and prohibited from purchasing a firearm.

There is widespread misunderstanding concept about this throughout the United States, even amongst seasoned gun dealers and those in the legal and law enforcement communities.  Ignorance of this fact could be a defense; but it is nevertheless an actionable federal felony that might lead to indictment and conviction and tenure in federal prison.

Moreover, during the pendency of any criminal action, even one that is clearly not punishable by imprisonment for more than a year, the prudent person should consider not interacting with firearms until the criminal matter is resolved. This avoids unnecessary risk given the tens of thousands of local, state and federal civil and criminal laws on the books.

If this blog post has help you better understand the scope of firearms law, it has met its goal.

Peritus Holdings, Inc., the owner of the Firearms Network, encourages a free and open exchange of ideas by guest blog posts to provided various educational perspectives on the topics within the firearms’ community. However, placement of any such blog post on any of our sites, including this blog post, is not an official endorsement of the good and service and any and all use and reliance by readers is at their sole discretion and should be independently evaluated.

  1. http://www.atf.gov/applications/e4473/download.html

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FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More