At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, our experienced weapons charges lawyers are well-versed in state and federal laws involving firearms. We know Pennsylvania has strict regulations governing the ownership of weapons and that it’s illegal to possess certain weapons. Some people are barred from carrying a firearm, even for hunting or self-defense. It goes without saying that weapons laws in Pennsylvania are complicated and confusing. Gun charges often are filed with other serious criminal charges. If firearms are involved in the process of committing a crime, the other charges may carry tougher prison sentences and larger fines.
In other cases, people find themselves facing charges simply because they possessed firearms. They may have committed no other crime, but are suddenly at risk of getting a criminal record that can follow them around for the rest of their lives. We understand how to fight to protect the freedom of our clients who are facing a range of gun-related charges. It’s wise to have an experienced attorney watching out for your best interests and there’s no substitute for actual courtroom experience. That’s why people charged with gun crimes throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania routinely rely on our law firm to help them handle their complex cases.
What Are Common Guns and Weapons Charges in Pennsylvania?
- Illegal possession of a firearm – Pennsylvania does not require residents to register their firearms. However, weapons must be obtained legally in the commonwealth. In addition, Pennsylvania prohibits certain firearms, including machine guns and sawed-off shotguns.
- Possession of a deadly weapon – This charge often involves other criminal charges, including murder and manslaughter or assault and battery.
- Carrying a concealed handgun without a license – In Pennsylvania, it is legal to carry a concealed handgun, provided you have a license to do so. Certain restrictions apply for obtaining a concealed handgun license, including being at least 21 years old. It is also illegal to carry a concealed handgun in a court facility or on school property.
- Possession of an unregistered firearm – While Pennsylvania does not require residents to register their firearms, the state does have laws concerning the transfer of guns from one owner to another. Such transactions must be reported to the state. Other state laws sometimes apply concerning the registration of certain guns for certain reasons.
- Unlawful use of a firearm – Pennsylvania has strict laws about when and where a gun can be legally fired. It is also illegal to carry a gun in public if you do not have a license to do so.
- Certain theft charges – The theft of a gun or sale of a stolen gun in Pennsylvania is a serious criminal charge. Such charges are classified as felonies and carry stiff penalties.
- Other criminal charges – The penalties for most criminal charges are more severe if guns were present and involved in such alleged crimes. These include robbery, theft, rape, kidnapping, and more.
What Are the Penalties for Guns and Weapons Charges?
If you are convicted of a gun charge in Pennsylvania, the penalties can be extremely severe. The penalties for some of the most common weapons charges in Pennsylvania include:
- Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit (Felony) – Up to 7 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
- Carrying a firearm with the intent to commit a crime (Misdemeanor) – Up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Illegally providing a firearm to a minor (Felony) – Up to 7 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
- Possession of body piercing armor (Felony) – Up to 7 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
- Removing identification numbers from a firearm (Felony) – Up to 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
Whatever weapons charge you or your loved one is facing, it’s best to have knowledgeable weapons charges lawyers protecting your rights.
Who Cannot Carry a Gun in Pennsylvania?
There are a variety of reasons you may not be permitted to carry a gun in Pennsylvania. The following are individuals who legally are not permitted to carry a weapon or a concealed weapon, in the Keystone state.
- Those individuals who have been convicted of crimes which make them dangerous to the public
- Those with certain drug or controlled substances crimes
- Those with a history of mental illness who have been judged to be incompetent or have ever been involuntarily committed to a mental institution
- Those with convicted felony charges such as murder, rape, robbery, burglary, and arson
- Those convicted of DUIs on more than three occasions within a five year period
- Those convicted of certain domestic violence crimes
There are other charges and individual characteristics which may stop you from owning a gun in Pennsylvania, it is best to speak with an attorney if you fear you may be in trouble with the law for owning a weapon.
“How Can a Scranton Weapons Charges Attorney Help Me With My Case?”
Pennsylvania’s gun laws can be extremely complicated and often change from one year to the next. And even if you think you thoroughly understand the laws and can defend yourself, don’t be so sure. Most gun charge cases turn out to be much more confusing than you probably first suspected. In addition, there are often many legal options available to you and other people charged with gun crimes, especially if this is the first time you have been charged with a weapons charge. You might even be eligible for Pennsylvania’s ARD program for first-time offenders.
The consequences of a gun charge are simply too serious to handle on your own, so you need knowledgeable weapons charges lawyers on your side. For a no-obligation consultation, call (570) 348-0776.