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In Legends, we know that as the Rebellion transits into a Republic, their relations with smugglers etc. grew tense and eventually broke up because smugglers are criminals under any galactic government's law. Smugglers only helped the Rebellion because a Republic is easier to operate in than an Empire.

That is in Legends, but the same principles apply to the New Republic of canon. We know that at some point, Han Solo went back to smuggling - "doing what he does best". As such, is he as a smuggler a New Republic criminal and maybe even a fugitive?

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Note that your question has something of a false premise; smugglers like Han don't carry only illegal cargoes (unless working for Jabba the Hutt exclusively), they're cargo carriers who will, if the money is right, carry things deemed illegal by their destinations (or maybe just to avoid import duties). Outside of item-related ideologies (ie, food for oppressed people), many smugglers would have been helping the rebellion because they were paid. The rebellion, of course, used smugglers because 'legitimate' haulers would report them. – Clockwork-Muse Mar 6 at 9:17
up vote 18 down vote accepted

According to the factbooks released alongside the film, Han has indeed returned to a life of crime.

From Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary

After the Galactic Civil War, Han Solo's life took unexpected turns as he became husband to an influential New Republic politician, a family man and - for a time - successful racing pilot. But the peace of this life as not to last, and after a profound tragedy upended what had become normal for the Corellian, Solo returned to his old life as a tramp freighter captain, smuggler and freelance law bender.

and

As easily as the Millennium Falcon fell into Solo's life after a heated game of sabacc, so it was destined to abandon him after a change in fate. Solo made do with other ships at his disposal, eventually settling on an enormous bulk freighter named the Eravana, which he uses to haul massive shipments of legally questionable cargo. The ship is largely automated, meaning Solo and Chewbacca can handle most of the work, but on particularly dangerous or profitable hauls he hires additional hands.

From Star Wars: Incredible Cross Sections - The Force Awakens we see that Han is carrying stolen items, illegal speeders and black-market animals such as Rathtars.

Millenium Falcon cross-section

The film's junior novelisation also makes note that they're instantly identifiable as smugglers

The pair who came aboard the Millennium Falcon were not stormtroopers but smugglers. One was old, human, and somewhat scruffy-looking. The other was almost a half-meter taller and much hairier. They entered the freighter with a measure of fondness and caution, as it had been a long time since they’d walked down her corridors.

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+1, though I would say that your quoted sources seem to go out of their way to emphasize that he's at the boundaries of the law rather than an full-on criminal. He's a "law bender" who smuggles "legally questionable cargo" that may be highly profitable and may involve missions/routes that are "particularly dangerous". Doesn't mean he couldn't be thrown in jail or fined for many of his actions, so he's a criminal. Though it may also be that the laws he choses to break are made by folks who are themselves criminals or oppressive. – Wayne Mar 5 at 16:34
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@Wayne hmm, valid points. Legally questionable cargo can mean different things. I quote from some space games I played before in the past: Goods can be divided into more than just legal & illegal. They can be legal, legal with tariff, declaration and/or license, or prohibited. It can also apply only to certain star systems rather than the whole galaxy. Besides uncontrolled goods, you'd need a smuggler to sneak anything else past the customs unnoticed. – thegreatjedi Mar 5 at 18:09
    
I would also question whether he does any of his smuggling within the New Republic. It doesn't seem like any of the planets we see him on/near are affiliated. – Matthew Read Mar 5 at 18:56
    
@MatthewRead - Sure, because most criminals are very particular about who they steal from. – Valorum Mar 5 at 19:01
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Like those who don't want to be caught? The Outer Rim and other remote places are always depicted as being the focus of smuggling and other crime because people can get away with it. And you really don't think Han might have any issues ever with stealing from the people he fought to free? (You have also provided zero evidence of Han stealing anything, so I'm not sure how that is relevant.) – Matthew Read Mar 5 at 19:05

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