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Getting Caught With an Unregistered Firearm

Caught with an Unregistered Firearm

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Getting caught with an unregistered firearm can result in severe consequences. Depending on the state, the person in possession may face criminal charges, fines, and jail time. Even without harm, having an illegal firearm can lead to penalties such as fines, license suspension, and prison.

Additionally, penalties may require paying fines and court costs. The person may also have to forfeit their firearm and reimburse law enforcement. Being caught could also lead to being added to a federal firearms prohibited list, losing the ability to legally possess any firearm. Furthermore, it could affect employment opportunities, with employers denying jobs or requiring a change.

To ensure compliance with state and federal laws regarding firearm possession, contact Touma Law Groups' Greenville gun charge defense attorneys for further assistance.

What is an Unregistered Firearm?

An unregistered firearm is a weapon that has not been registered with the appropriate authorities and does not have a serial number or other identifying markings. This type of firearm is often bought or sold without going through the proper registration process, making it illegal to possess or use in many areas.

a person getting caught with an unregistered firearm

Unregistered firearms can be dangerous components in criminal activity as they are difficult to trace and can easily change hands. There is usually a harsh penalty for anyone found in possession of an unregistered firearm.

Penalties for Getting Caught With an Unregistered Firearm

If an individual is discovered with an unregistered firearm in a public area, they will be apprehended and transported to the nearby police station. The arresting officer will obtain the photo and fingerprints of the person. The case may also be evaluated by the prosecution, who can file charges within 24 hours. Subsequently, law enforcement will bring the individual to court for arraignment.

At this time, the judge will formally inform them of the type of firearm charges they are facing. If a person is caught with an unregistered gun in public, they should be prepared for legal consequences. The punishment for this offense can vary depending on factors such as the type of gun, location, and intended use.

Consequences of being found in possession of firearms without a valid license may include fines, a criminal record, prison time, and even permanent or temporary loss of gun ownership, and other repercussions such as job loss or difficulty renting property or obtaining visas. It is important to understand that owning an unregistered firearm can have serious personal and professional implications.

Types of Firearms

Firearms come in many different shapes and sizes, depending on their purpose and the laws of the state or country. There are four main types of firearms: handguns, rifles, shotguns, and other miscellaneous weapons, all of which require a carry permit.

  • Handguns are small-caliber weapons that are designed to be used with one hand. They can be either revolvers or semi-automatic pistols and typically fire a single round at a time.
  • Rifles are larger-caliber weapons that can usually fire multiple rounds in quick succession.
  • Shotguns are designed to shoot multiple pellets at once, and other miscellaneous weapons include machine guns, submachine guns, and assault rifles.
a firearm sitting on a table


Having a handgun is considered a serious firearm charge offense, and many states require them to be registered. Depending on the state, the offense of possession can lead to criminal charges and hefty fines. In some cases, it can even result in jail sentences if convicted.


Being caught with an unregistered rifle in the United States can have serious consequences. Depending on which state you are in, as well as whether or not the rifle is loaded and if it is considered an assault weapon, the charges could range from a misdemeanor to a felony charge. Possession of an unregistered firearm of any kind is a criminal offense that carries harsh penalties that could include lengthy prison sentences, hefty fines, or both.


Shotguns are a type of firearm commonly used for hunting and recreational activities like skeet shooting. The use of shotguns is regulated by law depending on the jurisdiction, as these firearms can be dangerous if used carelessly or illegally. It is important to understand the legal requirements surrounding the ownership and use of a shotgun before you purchase one.

a firearm sitting on a table with bullets scattered around it

In many jurisdictions under the registration of firearms, owning a shotgun requires that it be registered, which can be done through the local police department. Possessing an unregistered shotgun is a criminal gun offense and can result in fines, felony convictions, jail time, and other penalties.

Destructive Devices

Destructive devices, also known as DDs, are weapons that are highly regulated and require special permits to own. These devices include firearms classified as destructive, explosives, certain types of ammunition and accessories, and some other items such as gun silencers.

If someone is caught with an unregistered firearm in their unlawful possession without the proper permit or license, they may face criminal charges.

Loaded vs Unloaded Firearms

A firearm that is considered “loaded” has ammunition present in the chamber, magazine, clip, or cylinder. In other words, the gun could be fired immediately if someone pulls the trigger. An unloaded firearm does not have any ammunition present and can only be fired after a round of ammunition is loaded into the chamber or magazine.

3 unregistered pistols on a table

It is important to note that even if a firearm is unloaded, it may still be considered “concealed” under certain laws and could result in criminal charges.

What Does it Mean to Have a Loaded Firearm?

Having a loaded firearm means that the gun is ready to fire and contains ammunition in the chamber. This holds for both registered and unregistered firearms, though an unregistered firearm would likely be illegal and could carry a more severe penalty if discovered by law enforcement.

The legal definition of a loaded weapon varies depending on state laws, but generally speaking, it means that the gun has live ammunition present in the chamber, magazine, clip, or cylinder. Even if the firearm is unloaded but has live ammunition near the gun, it is still considered loaded.

Unloaded Firearms and Their Consequences

Unloaded firearms can still carry serious consequences if not properly registered or handled responsibly. Illegal possession of an unregistered gun is a serious offense that can have lasting repercussions. Depending on the state, possessing an unregistered pistol or rifle could lead to jail time as well as hefty fines and other penalties.

FAQ: How much does a criminal defense attorney cost in South Carolina?

The first step in avoiding criminal charges for owning an unloaded gun is to make sure it is properly registered with local law enforcement. Failure to do so could result in serious penalties if the firearm is discovered by authorities.

Call Touma Law Group Today!

If you have been caught with an unregistered gun, it is important to seek legal assistance from an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. You may be facing serious criminal charges, and the penalties for having an unregistered gun can range from fines to jail time.

That’s why it’s important to contact Touma Law Group right away for the best legal representation. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys are here to help you defend your rights and navigate the legal system. Call us today to schedule a consultation and get started on your unregistered firearm defense.

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