Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, was indicted on Thursday, September 14, 2023, on federal firearms charges. The indictment is the latest development in a long-running investigation into the president’s son.
According to court documents, Hunter Biden is accused of lying about his drug use when he purchased a firearm in October 2018, a time during which he has admitted to struggling with addiction to crack cocaine. The indictment comes amid a congressional impeachment inquiry into President Biden, largely focusing on Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
The three-count indictment alleges that Hunter Biden lied on a form required for every gun purchase when he bought a Colt Cobra Special at a Wilmington, Delaware, gun shop in 2018. He is charged with two counts of making false statements by falsely claiming he was not a user of or addicted to drugs. A third count accuses him of possessing the gun as a drug user. The first two counts carry potential sentences of up to 10 years in prison, while the third could result in up to five years in prison.
Previously, a felony gun charge against Hunter Biden had been part of a plea deal that also included guilty pleas to misdemeanor tax charges. However, the agreement fell apart during a court hearing in July when a judge questioned its unusual provisions. Prosecutors maintain that the agreement never took effect and is now invalid. They signaled earlier this month that charges were imminent.
Charges related to gun possession by drug users are uncommon, especially when not connected with other crimes. Data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission reveals that about 5 percent of all people sentenced for illegal gun possession in 2021 were charged due to drug use.
Republicans criticized the former plea agreement as a “sweetheart deal.” It would have allowed Hunter Biden to serve probation rather than jail time after pleading guilty to failing to pay taxes in 2017 and 2018. His income during those two years was approximately $4 million, including business and consulting fees from a company he formed with the CEO of a Chinese business conglomerate and the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.