Every state in the union has specific gun laws that govern ownership and usage, and law enforcement officials are very serious about gun law compliance. South Carolina is no exception. Even having a gun for some individuals can result in criminal charges when found by police within the state. There are also gun confiscation cases that involve federal officers who also work in conjunction with other government agencies when serious gun trafficking is occurring. And when the feds are involved, cases are even more serious and potential penalties for a conviction are increased exponentially.
Firearm possession for convicted felons
It is illegal at both the federal and state level for convicted felons to possess any type of gun. This especially applies to handguns, as they are the most common firearms in circulation and are used most often in the commission of a crime. Federal weapons offenses do include possession of a firearm by a felon, but they are only applied at the federal level when the suspect is arrested on federal charges. Most gun possession charges are prosecuted by the state in non-violent or drug trafficking cases unless they are interstate operations.
Use of a firearm while committing a crime
Using a firearm to commit a crime is where the penalties for possessing a gun get really harsh. In addition to the charge for the violent act, additional charge convictions can carry a punishment of between 10 and 45 years incarceration depending on the material case facts and prior convictions against the defendant. Multiple offenders face the most serious charges, as those using firearms to commit three violent federal offenses can receive a minimum of 15 years incarceration in a federal facility. In addition, assailants who are on a crime spree may even be sentenced to an additional 45 years behind bars following a conviction on federal weapons offenses.
It is also important to note that committing a crime while using a gun is not the only serious charge scenario, as the federal law is written to include non-violent drug trafficking suspects when they are caught with guns in addition to any confiscated controlled substances. Merely having guns put drug traffic suspects in the same classification as violent offenders.