1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Hunter Biden found guilty of federal gun crimes

June 11, 2024

US President Joe Biden's son Hunter has been convicted of three felony counts for lying about his drug use when buying a gun in 2018.

Hunter Biden in a Delaware courtroom on June 11
Hunter Biden is the first child of a sitting president to be convicted of a felonyImage: Ryan Collerd/AFP

Jurors in the US state of Delaware on Tuesday found President Joe Biden's son Hunter guilty on all three felony federal gun charges brought against him. 

The jury deliberated for three hours over the course of two days before reaching its verdict.

The younger Biden was accused of lying to a federally licensed gun dealer in 2018, making a false claim on the gun purchase application by saying he was not a drug user, and illegally possessing the gun for 11 days until his sister-in-law discovered it in his truck and threw it away.

Biden could now face up to 25 years in prison, though observers do not expect that to be the case as he is a first-time offender.

How has President Biden responded?

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday said he accepted the outcome of the trial and would "continue to respect the judicial process" as his son, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, considers appeal.

Biden said that he and First Lady Jill Biden would always give their son "love and support," adding that they were proud of the man he had become after struggling with addiction.

"So many families who have had loved ones battle addiction understand the feeling of pride seeing someone you love come out the other side and be so strong and resilient in recovery," Biden said.  

The president's son, who has written openly about his addiction, claimed that at the time he bought the revolver he did not consider himself to be an addict.

President Biden delivers speech on limiting gun violence

Hunter Biden's verdict came shortly before the president delivered a speech in Washington on his administration's efforts to limit gun violence and toughen enforcement of gun laws.

Biden called for tougher rules on gun purchases in his remarks, without mentioning the conviction of his son on firearms charges hours earlier. 

Political implications of case against Hunter Biden

Hunter Biden, the president's second son, has his long been a target of his father's Republican political opponents. Hard right Republicans, and allies of Donald Trump, have investigated him already in Congress on allegations of corruption and influence-peddling. No charges have ever been filed.

Hunter Biden's business dealings in China and Ukraine have also been the basis for yet unsuccessful attempts by Republican lawmakers to initiate impeachment proceedings against his father. 

However, in September, after sentencing in the gun felony case,  Hunter Biden will go on trial in California to face charges that he failed to pay up to $1.4 million (€1.3 million) in taxes.

Special counsel David Weiss, who brought the case against Hunter Biden, told reporters after the ruling Tuesday that the case was about the "illegal choices the defendant made while in the throes of addiction, his choice to lie on a government form when he bought a gun, and the choice to then possess that gun."

Hunter Biden agrees to plead guilty in tax case: DW reports

js/wmr (AFP, AP, dpa)