Jury selection begins in Hunter Biden's gun trial. Here's everything you need to know about the case.

The president's son is charged with three firearm felonies related to a gun purchase in 2018.

Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, will stand trial trial this week on charges relating to a 2018 gun purchase.
Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, will stand trial this week on charges relating to a 2018 gun purchase. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Hunter Biden will stand trial this week in a Delaware federal court on charges that he failed to disclose his drug use on a form when purchasing a gun in 2018. Jury selection is currently underway — days after former President Donald Trump was found guilty on 34 charges of falsifying business records.

The 54-year-old son of President Joe Biden will be the first child of a sitting president to be a defendant in a criminal trial. With November’s 2024 presidential election just months away, the trial is expected to provide fuel for Trump’s allies following a failed attempt by Republicans to impeach Joe Biden.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of Hunter Biden’s trial this week.

In September 2023, U.S. special counsel David Weiss, a Trump appointee, charged the president’s son with three firearm felonies. They include:

  1. Lying to a federally licensed gun dealer

  2. Making a false claim on the federal firearms form used to screen applicants

  3. Possession of an illegally obtained gun

Hunter Biden, a first-time offender, pleaded not guilty to all three charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

In October 2018, Biden purchased a .38-caliber Colt revolver from a gun store, StarQuest Shooters & Survival Supply in Wilmington, Del.

Anyone who purchases a firearm is required to provide identification and fill out a form that’s collected by federal authorities. The form asks whether the purchaser is an unlawful user or is addicted to controlled substances, narcotics and other listed substances. The younger Biden, who’s been open about his longtime struggles with crack cocaine and claims to have been sober since May 2019, is accused of answering “no” to that question on the form, despite using drugs during that time.

While lying on the form is considered a felony, prosecutions for it are extremely rare. According to a 2018 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, only 12 of the 12,700 referred cases in 2017 were investigated by U.S. attorney offices as of June 2018.

Hunter owned the gun for 11 days — from Oct. 12 to Oct. 23, 2018 — before it was recovered in the trash outside Janssen’s Market in Greenville, Del. It was placed there by Hallie Biden, the widow of Hunter’s late brother Beau Biden, who Hunter was dating at the time, according to the September 2023 indictment.

A leaked 2018 police report, published by Politico in March 2021, revealed that Hallie Biden told police that she found the gun in Hunter Biden's vehicle before putting it in a bag and throwing it in the trash outside Janssen’s. After telling Hunter Biden about the gun over the phone, he implored her to drive back and retrieve it.

When she did, Hallie discovered that the gun was no longer there.

Hallie Biden eventually confessed about the gun drop to a Janssens’s store employee, who then called the police. Hunter Biden met Hallie Biden and the Delaware State Police at the store 30 minutes later. He told police that he purchased the gun for target practice but hadn’t shot it yet.

Hunter Biden, Hallie Biden and store employees told police that a homeless man, who routinely collected cans from trash in the area, may have taken the gun. About a week later, officers confirmed the man had found the gun in the trash and stashed it inside a box at his home. The police seized the gun when they found it.

The trial will be overseen by Judge Maryellen Noreika and is expected to explore Hunter Biden’s past drug abuse with potentially embarrassing testimony about his 2018 gun purchase. As reported by NBC News, the case may “distract or distress” Joe Biden amid his presidential campaign while fueling Trump’s allies, who are eager to distract from Trump’s own legal problems.

According to multiple reports, Hallie Biden is expected to testify in the case as well as a former state police officer who wrote the 2018 police report. Gordon Cleveland, an employee of the gun store where Hunter bought the gun, is also expected to testify. Kathleen Buhle, who was married to the president’s son from 1993 to 2017, is another expected witness.

Kevin Morris, a Los Angeles lawyer who has provided Hunter Biden with millions of dollars in loans over the years, is reportedly running out of money to alleviate the younger Biden’s financial woes.

According to the New York Times, this potential decrease in funding is likely to add more stress to Hunter Biden's legal team as it may limit their ability to hire expert witnesses or other specialists in the gun case or in his forthcoming trial on tax charges in California.

The president’s son faces tax evasion charges in a separate California case set for trial in September. In that case, he was indicted on nine tax charges — three felonies and six misdemeanors — related to $1.4 million in unpaid taxes between 2016 and 2019.

While those back taxes have since been paid back, Hunter could still face a maximum of 17 years in prison if convicted in that case.