Gun Charges in Philadelphia
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Pennsylvania State laws refer to guns as firearms. To acquire a gun, you must be at least 18 years of age. A minor is lawfully allowed to be involved in trapping and hunting activities. Minors should be allowed to operate a firearm under the watch of a guardian, parent, grandparent or an adult(s).
There is no permit required for you to carry a firearm in your home or places of business. With a minimum age limit of 21 years, you may acquire a concealed carry permit. For non-residents, you must have already acquired a permit from your home state if you want to obtain a Pennsylvania permit. There are absolutely no training requirements to obtain a permit.
Outside of Philadelphia carrying a firearm openly is legal and no carry permit is required, but you need a license to carry a concealed firearm. You need to have a license to carry a firearm in a motor vehicle. Carrying a gun in any manner on public property and on the streets of Philadelphia requires you to have a gun license.
Gun Purchase and License in Pennsylvania, PA
First, to legally acquire a firearm in Pennsylvania, you must have reached the minimum age limit. However, it does not matter the type of firearm you want to acquire, the paperwork is the same, and the background check is still the same. Each and every state requires a mandatory federal background check through the National Instant Check system through a 4473 form. Nonetheless, in Pennsylvania, the background check goes a notch higher. The commonwealth normally has a ‘Record of Sale’ form that requires further knowledge from someone buying a handgun.
If you have any intention of owning a gun in PA, you should apply for a gun license. An application must be filled out. The form will ask you basic information. Questions concerning your criminal and mental health history will also be requested. After completing the application, you must bring it in person to the Gun Permits Units accompanied by:
- Photocopy of your driver’s license
- Names, Addresses and phone numbers of two references
- $20.00 fee for a five-year license and out of state processing.
When a person tries to purchase a firearm his or her information will be entered into the Pennsylvania Instant Check System. After that, it will be determined whether that person is eligible to own a gun or not. Normally, the check only takes a few minutes. Sometimes, some issues pop up. If you’ve been previously convicted of certain criminal charges, you will be prevented from purchasing the firearm. Issues also arise if you have an active protection from abuse order against you or if you have been convicted of criminal charges in another state that does not perfectly line up with Pennsylvania’s criminal code.
Gun and Firearm Penalties in Pennsylvania
There are three main categories of gun charges under Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act. They include:
- Carrying a Firearm Without a License: This charge applies when you carry a firearm in a vehicle or conceal a firearm, except in a home or a place of work/business, without a legal, lawful issued license. This crime is treated as a third-degree Felony and carries a punishment of up to seven years in prison if you are not eligible for a legal license. This crime is graded as a First Degree Misdemeanor if you are otherwise eligible for a valid carrying license.
- Possession of Firearm with Altered Manufacturer’s Number: This law prohibits you from possessing a firearm which has had the manufacturing company’s number integral to the gun changed, altered, obliterated, or removed. This crime is treated as a Second-Degree Felony punishable by up to ten years in prison.
- Persons Not to Possess: If you have been convicted of certain types of offenses, you are not permitted or eligible to possess, use, control, sell, or manufacture a firearm. You are also not permitted to obtain a license for that same purpose. There are many types of convictions that can make you not eligible to possess a firearm. This includes Homicide and Manslaughter, possession with intent to Deliver (PWID), Sex Crimes, Armed Robbery, and also burglary. For this crime, you can be sentenced to prison for up to ten years, as it is treated as a Second-Degree Felony.
Gun charges normally carry heavy penalties. Which is why it is important to have an experienced lawyer at your side who understand exactly what to look for in gun charge defense trials. It could mean the difference between the highest sentence or minimized penalties. An attorney might be able to review the grounds on which your gun was confiscated.
It is crucial to seek legal advice and contact Derek Steenson Attorney at Law when you are charged with a gun crime in Philadelphia, PA. When you visit this Criminal Lawyer in Philadelphia, you will not be charged any fee for the initial consultation. He brings on a defense that is filled with experience to each case with a very unique insight on both sides of the law. He uses his knowledge on prosecutors and how they build their cases, to your defense.
In general, Pennsylvania ordinarily is not overly restrictive when it comes to firearm ownership. You need to stay updated on the latest gun laws and more important than ever you need to make sure that you are on the right side of the law when it comes to owning and using your gun. It is great being able to defend yourself in your home or at your place of business.
You will also want to defend yourself when you are out of town. Pennsylvania allows for a version of the law known nationally as “stand your ground.” As long as you are somewhere legally and not committing a crime, you are not required by the law to retreat. You are permitted by law to use force to protect yourself against Armed Robbery or from a person with a deadly weapon, serious body assaults, rape, kidnapping or death.
Nevertheless, you need to assess the situation first before using excessive force. Sometimes it is safer and cheaper to retreat than to engage someone with your firearm. The police can still arrest you and seek criminal charges even if you had a good reason for using your gun.