Firearms and Ammunition Trafficking: Definition and Consequences

ammo on a table - firearm trafficking

Firearms and Ammunition Trafficking: Definition and Consequences

As recently as October 2022, more than twenty people were arrested and charged with trafficking firearms and ammunition. The trafficking of weapons often ends in felony charges. Understanding what firearms trafficking means, and the consequences it entails could help you avoid trouble. If you have been charged with this crime, contact an attorney right away. A good lawyer could be the difference between a felony and walking free. 

What Is Firearm and Ammunition Trafficking?

Firearms trafficking is defined as the movement of deadly weapons into the possession of people who are not allowed to have them, or the movement of weapons to be used for violence, and/or the commission of a felony. While most often associated with firearm movement, this term applies to excessive amounts of ammunition as well. 

Examples of Weapons Trafficking

  • Buying a singular firearm for a friend who is legally not allowed to own one
  • Providing or transporting the firearms or ammunition needed for a robbery 
  • Transporting firearms or ammunition across state lines to be sold illegally
  • Transporting firearms or ammunition across the border to be used or sold 

Is It Illegal to Move Ammunition?

Moving large amounts of ammunition could get you arrested. Unlike firearms, there is very little oversight on the sale of ammunition. Although it can only be sold legally by those who have a license to sell firearms, there is no limit on how much ammo you can buy at a time. Most sellers set their own limits, and are required to keep your ID on file when you purchase ammunition.  

But just because you can buy large amounts of ammunition, it does not mean you are allowed to transport it. If you are pulled over and searched by law enforcement, any large amounts of ammunition in your possession (or firearms that use it) can land you in custody. This is the case especially if you are crossing the border into Mexico, where law enforcement is finding more ammunition than in the last few years. 

Consequences of Trafficking Ammunition and Firearms

The section of Arizona’s penal code that details the consequences for weapons and ammo trafficking is lengthy. It covers several different types of actions that are illegal when handling or possessing weapons. 

However, there are two possible felony charges for trafficking firearms and ammunition. As with all felonies, not only are there prison sentences, there is also the loss of certain civil rights. 

The length of time in prison is usually decided by the number of felonies a person already has, and whether or not the charge was considered a dangerous offense.

Class 6 Felony 

  • Transporting firearms or ammunition to someone who is not legally able to possess them 
  • 3 years to nearly 6 years of prison time

Class 3 Felony 

  • Transportation of firearms or ammunition for the commission of another felony 
  • 2 years to 25 years in prison

A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You 

If you have been charged with trafficking firearms or ammunition, it is important to contact an expert attorney. With over 25 years of experience as a criminal law specialist, Todd Coolidge could be the difference between spending years of life with your family or in prison. Contact us today for a consultation on your case.


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/28/23). Photo by Jay Rembert on Unsplash.