Possession of a Firearm in a Federal Facility

Anyone without a concealed carry permit who is found to be in possession of a firearm in Maryland faces the potential to be charged under state or federal law.  The main state law that prohibits firearm possession is the wear, transport or carry statute, which makes it a misdemeanor punishable by up to 5 years in prison to unlawfully possess a gun.  This penalty was raised from 3 years in response to continued pressure from lawmakers to make gun laws stricter in Maryland.   A person who is in possession of a gun on federal property such as a military base or any other property that is leased or owned by the Federal Government may also face charges under 18 U.S. Code section 930, though a violation of this statue carries a lower maximum penalty than its state counterpart.  Law enforcement and the prosecutor have discretion under the federal rules to charge a defendant with either violation, and Benjamin Herbst is a Maryland gun possession lawyer that handles both of these charges.

The federal unlawful gun possession law is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to 1 year in jail under 18 U.S. Code 930, but this does not mean it can be taken lightly.  Anyone who arrested for possession of a weapon at a Federal Courthouse faces a similar charge with a 2-year maximum penalty.  There is an additional statute that prohibits possession of a firearm at the National Institute of Health or NIH.  This offense, which is listed under 45 CFR 3.42 carries a maximum penalty of up to 30 days in jail.  Benjamin has successfully handled all types of federal firearm violations including those committed by prohibited persons.  The maximum penalties increase greatly if the defendant has a prior criminal record, and could include the potential for mandatory minimum jail sentences.  Federal prosecutors in Maryland take all gun cases seriously due to the strict state laws and the amount of gun violence in the Baltimore and D.C. Metro areas.  Out of state residents with permits from their state are especially vulnerable to these strict laws because other states in the region are much more lenient.  Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky and Florida have more relaxed gun laws, and out of state residents from these areas routinely drive with handguns in their cars or on their person.  Upon entering a federal facility they may have no idea that they may be subject to a search, and that their carry permit is not valid.  Motorists who mistakenly drive onto federal property, such as the highway exits for the NSA or NASA are subject to search by federal police officers that will be on the lookout for handguns.  Security officers at the NIH, CMS and military bases around the state are also commonly tasked with performing thorough searches of any automobile that attempts to enter.  This is a common situation at the dozens of federal installations in Maryland, and if you have been charged it is important to seek legal counsel immediately.  Benjamin has years of experience defending clients in state and federal gun charges and is available 24 hours a day to offer a free consultation about your case.

19 U.S. Code 930 also prohibits the possession of a dangerous weapon, which is defined as any device that is capable of causing serious bodily injury.  While the statute excludes pocketknives with a blade of less than 2.5 inches, it is a very broad statute and could include dozens of tools or other instruments that are commonly in a vehicle.  Anyone who is charged with possession of a firearm or dangerous weapon on a federal facility could be arrested or issued a citation by a law enforcement officer.  Either way the charge would require an appearance at one of the federal courthouses in the state including the two main courthouses in Baltimore and Greenbelt.  The case could also be set at the courthouses on Joint Base Andrews, Fort Meade, Aberdeen Proving Ground or in Salisbury.

Benjamin Herbst represents defendants charged with gun possession and dangerous weapon possession in all Maryland jurisdictions.  He also represents defendants that are charged with unlawful sale or transfer of a firearm, including straw purchases and selling firearms to prohibited individuals or juveniles.  He has successfully represented numerous clients on all types of firearm offenses, and is always available to speak about the case.  Call Benjamin at 410-207-2598 to discuss your defense anytime.
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