The federal laws for unlawful possession or use of explosives are much like those for illegal gun possession and use. Explosives, like other firearms, may only be manufactured, imported, exported, or received by persons licensed to engage in such activity. Also like gun laws, they can carry hefty fines and prison terms that vary from five years to life.
Federal Regulations Governing Explosives
Although explosives are included in the federal definition of firearms, they carry some regulations beyond those listed in 18 U.S.C. §922 and 18 U.S.C. §924. Additional federal explosives law can be found under 18 U.S.C. §842 and 18 U.S.C. §844. The Attorney General of the United States regulates the manufacture, storage, and shipment of explosive materials. Any dealers who learn of a theft or loss of explosives from their inventory must report to the Attorney General within 24 hours of discovery of this theft or loss. Anyone who fails to do so can receive a fine of up to $10,000 or a prison sentence of up to five years.
There are also federal regulations regarding what persons may not possess explosive materials; according to 18 U.S.C. 842(d), those who fall under this law are:
- Persons under the age of 21;
- Persons convicted of a crime that carried a sentence of at least one year in prison, or are currently awaiting a conviction of such crime;
- Drug addicts or drug users (there are certain preconditions that must be met to determine a person is using drugs);
- Aliens who are either in the country illegally or who do not have permanent residence in the United States;
- Persons with a prior domestic assault conviction, or persons who have received a restraining order pertaining to domestic assault;
- Persons who were dishonorably discharged from the military;
- Persons who have been adjudicated mentally ill (or reside in a facility for the mentally ill);
- Persons who are considered fugitives from justice;
- Persons who live in a state where state laws prohibit such possession.
Prison Sentences for Explosives Charges
Explosives are highly regulated, so violations of the law can lead to extensive jail time for individuals. Some prison sentences include:
- A person who uses or carries an explosive to commit a felony can receive 10 years in prison in addition to whatever the felony charges may be. A second conviction under this will bring a charge of 20 years in prison. These prison sentences will run consecutively with any other prison term that was imposed for the felony in which the explosive was used or carried.
- A person who conspires to commit a felony offense as described above can receive a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
- 18 U.S.C. §844(i) states that a person who uses an explosive to damage or destroy, or attempts to damage or destroy, any real or personal property “used in interstate or foreign commerce or in any activity affecting interstate or foreign commerce” can receive a prison sentence anywhere from 5-20 years. If this activity results in the injury of a person or persons, the sentence can be increased to 7-40 years. If this activity results in the death of another, the prison term can be death or life in prison.
- A person who steals any explosive materials, either from a licensed dealer or manufacturer or materials that are a part of interstate or foreign commerce can receive a prison sentence of up to ten years.
- A person who distributes explosive materials while knowing or believing that the explosive materials will be used to commit a violent crime or drug trafficking crime can receive the same prison sentence as a person who committed felonies while carrying explosive materials.
An Ohio Federal Weapons Lawyer Can Help
If you’re caught with explosives without having a license for them, make no mistake: you could face serious consequences. You need a smart, diligent Ohio federal weapons lawyer on your side who can answer all your questions and make sure you receive a fair trial. Call the Columbus criminal defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck and Associates at (614) 500-3836 today to set up a free consultation on your case.
Facing federal criminal charges? Contact us.
If you have been charged with a federal crime, you’re probably wondering what your options are. The Ohio federal criminal defense lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates have years of experience handling these types of cases and winning optimal outcomes for our clients. Call an Ohio federal crime lawyer today for a free consultation. To contact a criminal defense attorney, call us at (614) 500-3836 or email us via firstname.lastname@example.org.