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Possession of an Illegal Weapon

Nashville Lawyer Providing Guidance After an Arrest

In Tennessee, certain types of weapons are generally off-limits for private citizens. Explosives, bombs, grenades, and sawed-off shotguns are some of the weapons banned for most purposes under Tennessee law. Possession of an illegal weapon may result in an arrest and felony criminal charges, even if you did not intend to use the weapon or break the law. If you face charges for possession of a prohibited weapon, Nashville gun crime lawyer Bernie McEvoy can assist in protecting your rights and help seek a favorable outcome in your case. We help people who have been accused of illegal weapon or gun crimes in Williamson and Davidson Counties. Attorney McEvoy has the skill and dedication to defend against serious weapons charges, including possession of a prohibited weapon.

Possession of an Illegal Weapon in Tennessee

There are some weapons that are considered too dangerous and that serve little, if any, useful purpose in the eyes of the law to allow for widespread access. In Tennessee, it is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess an explosive weapon, machine gun, short-barrel rifle or shotgun, knuckles, or any other instrument for infliction of serious bodily injury or death that has no common lawful purpose. This offense also applies to possession of a hoax device. These are instruments that may or may not be capable of inflicting harm, but reasonably appear to be explosives and are used to cause alarm or reaction by a public official or agency.

To prove possession of a prohibited weapon, the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that: (1) the defendant possessed one of the aforementioned weapons covered under the statute; and (2) the defendant acted intentionally or knowingly. The state is not required to prove that the weapon is dangerous, loaded, functioning or capable of discharging. A conviction for most prohibited weapons is a felony. However, a charge for possession of a prohibited weapon may be defeated by any of the exceptions or defenses provided by the statute.

Defenses to a Prohibited Weapons Charge

Possession of an illegal weapon does not apply when certain conditions are met. For example, possessing a machine gun, short-barrel rifle or shotgun is not illegal as long as you are in full compliance with the National Firearms Act. A prohibited weapon may be possessed solely as a keepsake or curio, as long as it is also is inoperable in the case of an explosive, machine gun, or short-barrel rifle. In addition, adults may lawfully possess an explosive for use as an exploding target for lawful sporting activity, as intended by the commercial manufacturer. It is also a defense if brief possession occurred as a result of finding the weapon or taking it from an aggressor.

Certain professional uses of prohibited weapons are permitted under the statute. Licensed manufacturers and importers are authorized to handle prohibited weapons for scientific or research purposes, or sale to the military. Moreover, official use of a prohibited weapon by the United States military, the Tennessee National Guard or a government law enforcement agency is allowed. It is also a defense if possession of a weapon was reasonably related to scientific research, on display in a public museum or exhibition or used in a lawful dramatic performance. A lawyer in Nashville can advise you of the defenses that may apply in a possession of an illegal weapon case.

Retain an Attorney in Nashville for Charges Related to Possession of an Illegal Weapon

If you need legal guidance regarding possession of an illegal weapon, we can assist you. Attorney Bernie McEvoy has significant experience defending people against felony gun and weapons charges and can provide trustworthy advice. He serves individuals located throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties, including Nashville and Franklin. Request a free consultation with a skilled criminal defense lawyer by calling (615) 255-9595 during our business hours, calling (615) 804-8779 after hours and on weekends, or submit our contact form online.

Client Reviews
“Bernie McEvoy was very focused on learning all the facts of the case I brought to him. He represented me with the highest of professionalism. He is a great listener who knows how to formulate a plan of action and seek the best possible solution.” Larry M.
“From the moment I met Mr. McEvoy, he welcomed me as a client and provided excellent representation. He has compassion for each person and works diligently to provided the best possible results.” Lawrence E.
“We hired Bernie for a criminal defense case. Overall we were pleased with the outcome. I would recommend Mr. McEvoy. He is very pleasant to work with and works “for” you, not the system. Thanks Bernie!” Taffney H.