The Gun Charges Against Hunter Biden Are Unusual. Here’s Why.

Glenn Thrush


The heart of the federal case against the president’s son — that he lied about drug use on a federal form when he purchased a handgun — is not typically the basis for a stand-alone prosecution.





ALt: Araweelo News

Hunter Biden outside the federal courthouse in Wilmington, Del., in July.Credit…Kenny Holston/The New York Times.

On the face of it, Hunter Biden appears at risk of being sentenced to as long as 25 years in prison and $750,000 in fines if he is convicted on the three gun charges brought against him by federal prosecutors on Thursday.

In reality, few people fitting Mr. Biden’s profile — a first-time, nonviolent offender accused of lying on a federal firearms application, who never used the gun (in his case, a Colt Cobra .38 that he held onto for less than two weeks five years ago) to commit a crime — get serious prison time for the offenses charged in the indictment.

Glenn Thrush covers the Department of Justice. He joined The Times in 2017 after working for Politico, Newsday, Bloomberg News, The New York Daily News, The Birmingham Post-Herald and City Limits. More about Glenn Thrush

This article a first appears on print on Sept. 16, 2023, Section A, Page 15 of the New York edition with the headline: Charges vs. Biden’s Son.