Could I Go to Prison for Lying When Purchasing a Firearm?
You may have a constitutional right to keep and carry a firearm. But this right is not without restriction or regulation. And in some cases, you can get into serious trouble if you make a false statement in connection with the purchase of a weapon in Florida.
The Dangers of Lying on Form 4473
Anytime that you want to purchase a firearm from a business or individual required to hold a Federal Firearms License (FFL), you need to fill out ATF Form 4473. This is a form provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The main purpose of this form is to ensure that you are not prohibited from purchasing or receiving a firearm under federal law.
Form 4473 requires you provide certain basic information about yourself, such as your full legal name, current address, and Social Security Number. It also asks you to answer a number of questions, such as:
- Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearms listed on the form?
- Do you intend to sell or dispose of a listed firearm to further any felony or other illegal activity, such as terrorism or drug trafficking?
- Are you currently under indictment for a felony or any similar crime where you face more than 1 year in prison?
- Are you currently a member of the U.S. armed forces facing a general court-martial?
- Have you ever been convicted of a crime by a civilian or military court for a felony or any similar crime where you could have been imprisoned for more than 1 year, even if you received a shorter sentence or probation?
- Are you currently a fugitive from justice?
- Are you an unlawful user of drugs or a drug addict?
- Have you ever been adjudicated as a “mental defective”?
- Have you ever been committed to a mental institution?
- Have you ever been dishonorably discharged from any branch of the armed forces?
- Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor involving domestic violence?
- Are you currently in the United States as an unlawful alien?
- Have you ever renounced your United States citizenship?
At first glance, you might think that some of these questions are ridiculous. For instance, why would anyone admit they were purchasing a firearm to commit a felony? But there is a method to the government’s proverbial madness. Even if you never commit a crime using a firearm, you can still be prosecuted for making a false statement during the purchase (or attempted purchase) of a firearm. And we are not talking about a simple fine: It is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Essentially, when you answer the questions on Form 4473, you do so under penalty of perjury. It is no different than, say, filling out your income tax return. You know the government can prosecute you for lying on your taxes. The same is true when it comes to answering questions related to your legal right to purchase a firearm.
Contact the Joshi Law Firm Today
Federal and Florida state law enforcement take firearm-related crimes quite seriously. So if you need legal advice or representation from a qualified Orlando gun and weapon crime lawyer, call the Joshi Law Firm, P.A., at (407) 661-1009 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.