Recent episodes of gun violence involving automatic weapons have once again drawn the nation’s attention to the fact that such weapons are available from a number of dealers, some lawful and some not. The recent arrest in Belleville of two men allegedly engaged in the sale of automatic weapons shows that local police are intent on enforcing the state’s gun laws, and that persons who are charged with these violations may require a capable criminal defense attorney.
On October 11th, St. Clair County deputies responded to a tip that two men were using a motel room to assemble and sell automatic weapons. The deputies said that they obtained a search warrant and that they used it to gain access to the motel room. According to the police report filed in the case, deputies claim to have discovered several assault rifles, multiple handguns, dozens of fully loaded 30-round magazines, and thousands of loose rifle bullets. The deputies also alleged that the two men were using the room to assemble guns. None of the guns had serial numbers.
The deputies claim that neither suspect possessed a valid permit for owning and selling the weapons. One of the suspects was charged with four counts of unlawful possession of a firearm without the required Firearm Owners’ ID and one count of possession of ammunition without the necessary Firearm Owners’ ID. The other man was charged with five counts of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. The court set bond for each man at $750,000. With the potential for significant penalties in play, these men need to ensure that they attack every issue they reasonably can, whether that means arguing that the search warrant was invalid or that their acts do not conform to the applicable statutory language.
Gun ownership remains a controversial political issue in virtually every state in the country. Nevertheless, some states have enacted rigorous controls on the purchase and sale of automatic weapons. Anyone who is charged with a crime related to a violation of gun control laws may wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney for advice on the law and facts that will control the outcome of the case.
Source: KSDK-TV, “Belleville pair arrested on weapons charges,” KSDK Staff, Oct. 16, 2017