Defending Against Weapons Related Charges in Kansas

Firearms, Guns, Explosives, and Other Weapons

Many residents of Kansas own weapons for many different purposes. Many people in this state are sport hunters, some pride themselves on being collectors, while others might simply have a personal desire to protect themselves from harm.

While the right to bear arms is guaranteed by both the United States Constitution and the Kansas Constitution, that right is not without certain limits. State and federal laws restrict the rights of certain individuals and some weapons are expressly prohibited in Kansas.

If you were arrested or think you might be under investigation for any kind of alleged weapons offense in the greater Wichita area, you should try to remember your right to remain silent and avoid making any statement to authorities. Make it clear that you want to contact a criminal defense attorney.

At Pratt Law, LLC, we understand how stressful it can be to be charged with a weapons crime of any type. When your right to own and carry a weapon and your very freedom is on the line, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you. We will stand up for you, and we will aggressively fight to get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Call (316) 262-2600 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.

Wichita Weapons Crime Attorney

James R. Pratt has more than 20 years of experience defending people against criminal charges. He has been admitted to the State Bar of Kansas and the United States District Court District of Kansas since 1996.

Mr. Pratt is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Kansas Bar Association, Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Neosho County Bar Association. Before founding his own firm in 2011, Mr. Pratt worked for a top Kansas criminal defense firm and served in the Southeast Kansas Public Defender’s Office.

Types of Weapons Crimes

Many weapons crimes are listed in the Kansas Statutes under Article 63, or crimes against the public safety. Offenses listed under this chapter include:

  • Criminal use of weapons  
  • Criminal carrying of a weapon  
  • Criminal distribution of firearms to a felon
  • Criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
  • Aggravated weapons violation by a convicted felon
  • Defacing identification marks on a firearm
  • Criminal discharge of a firearm
  • Unlawful discharge of a firearm in a city
  • Unlawful possession of firearms on certain government property
  • Failure to register explosives
  • Criminal possession of explosives; criminal disposal of explosives; carrying concealed explosives
  • Possession of a firearm under the influence

The consequences of convictions for these crimes will depend on how the alleged offenses are classified. While a class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to one month in jail, sentences for person and nonperson felony offenses will be determined by the charts and grids established under the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act (KSGA).

A person charged with a severity level 3 person felony could face up to 61 months in prison if they have no criminal record, but three prior person felony convictions can make the underlying alleged offense punishable by up to 247 months in prison.

Defending Against Weapons Charges

The type of crime that a person is charged with will impact their possible defenses. Some crimes will require prosecutors to prove that an alleged offender actually had criminal intent, commonly referred to as “mens rea” which is Latin for “guilty mind,” and such offenses are far more difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt because there is rarely any kind of physical evidence of what a person was thinking without a stated or written confession.

Keep in mind that a felon in possession of a weapon is a federal offense that could involve an indictment by a grand jury. Federal crimes are far more serious because convictions could involve possible mandatory minimum sentencing.

Title 18 U.S. Code (U.S.C.) 18 § 924(c)(1)(A) establishes that  any person who uses or carries a firearm in a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime, or in furtherance of a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime, possesses a firearm can be sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison. If the firearm is brandished, they can be sentenced to a minimum of seven years in prison and if the firearm is discharged, the sentence will be at least 10 years in prison.

Under Title 18 U.S.C. 18 § 924(c)(1)(B), when the firearm possessed by an alleged offender in violation of this law is a short-barreled rifle, short-barreled shotgun, or semiautomatic assault weapon, the sentence must be at least 10 years in prison. If the firearm was a machine gun or a destructive device, or was equipped with a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, an alleged offender can be sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison.

Title 18 U.S.C. 18 § 924(c)(1)(C) further states that when a violation occurs after a prior conviction under this subsection, an alleged offender will face a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison. If the firearm involved was a machine gun or a destructive device, or was equipped with a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, a person must be sentenced to prison for life.

Another important federal law is the Armed Career Criminal Act found in Title 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). Under this law, felons with three or more convictions for certain violent felony or serious drug crimes can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison up to an implied maximum of life.

In March 2018, the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) reported that firearms offenses accounted for 16.8 percent of all offenses carrying mandatory minimum penalties in fiscal year 2016.  A majority of offenders (85.5 percent) convicted under Title 18 U.S.C. 18 § 924(c) were also convicted of another offense.

Weapons Crime Defense Lawyer in Kansas

Were you recently arrested, or do you believe that you might be under investigation an alleged weapons crime in Wichita or a surrounding area of Kansas? Do not say anything to the police until you have a criminal defense attorney.

Pratt Law, LLC will be your legal advocate and can fight to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties. You can have us examine your case when you call (316) 262-2600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.