Violent Crimes and Firearms Unit
The Violent Crimes and Firearms Unit was established in 2006 to address the increasing number of violent crimes, especially those committed with handguns and other types of firearms.
The unit prosecutes a majority of the most serious violent crimes. Often, crimes committed with firearms trigger mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of the crimes.
For example, the visible possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence (robbery, burglary, rape, etc.) implicates a mandatory minimum sentence of five (5) years imprisonment.
Upon a second conviction for a crime of violence, a mandatory minimum sentence of ten (10) years imprisonment is applicable.
Upon a third or subsequent conviction for a crime of violence, a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty-five (25) years is imposed. However, if the court deems such sentence insufficient, a life sentence without parole for the offender may be imposed.
An individual who possesses with the intent to deliver a controlled substance or delivers a controlled substance (a drug dealer as opposed to a mere user of drugs) while possessing a firearm or having a firearm in close proximity, will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment.
A citizen may have a right to possess a firearm. However, there are some limitations:
- An individual may not possess a firearm within a court facility.
- An individual may not possess a firearm on school property.
- An individual may not possess a concealed firearm unless licensed by the Sheriff.
- An individual may not carry a firearm in a vehicle unless licensed by the Sheriff.
And lastly, a person who falsely states that the purchase of a firearm is for himself/herself (when in fact the purchase is for someone else) commits a crime commonly referred to as a “straw purchase” and can be sentenced up to seven years in prison.