If you own, carry, or use a gun in Philadelphia or anywhere in Pennsylvania, it is essential to be aware of Pennsylvania gun laws and how you can comply with them. Not being aware of the law is not an acceptable excuse for violating it, and inadvertent violations can result in serious criminal penalties, including substantial fines and even jail time.
Fortunately, if you are facing gun-related charges, a Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer can help you understand what your options are and work to minimize their impact on your life. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation with attorney Lauren Wimmer. Your freedom and future are too important to leave to chance.
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the rights of Americans to keep and bear arms. However, the United States government restricts the ownership and sale of some firearms and has enacted other laws regarding guns. Under these laws, specific individuals may not own a firearm, including:
In addition, federal law requires that licensed gun dealers perform a background check through the FBI’s database to ensure the purchaser is not prohibited from owning a gun.
The Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act is a comprehensive list of gun laws that covers the entire state. Under this act, individuals who have a previous conviction of a violent crime, who are declared mentally ill by a court, and those who are subject to an active protection from abuse order cannot purchase a handgun. Other significant points of the Act include:
Being in the state of Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia is beholden to the gun laws enacted by the state legislature. Under the Uniform Firearms Act, Philadelphia or any other city in the state must not create their own gun laws or restrictions. They cannot pass any laws regarding the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition, or ammunition components when guns are carried for a lawful reason in a lawful manner. However, in Philadelphia, individuals must have a permit to carry a firearm or transport one in a vehicle.
In 1993, the Philadelphia City Council passed a bill prohibiting assault-style weapons. In response, the state passed a law to repeal the ban, which was also struck down by the State Supreme Court. Again in 2008, Philadelphia enacted city ordinances that banned assault weapons and prevented individuals from purchasing more than one handgun per month. Just as they did the previous decade, the Commonwealth Court struck them down again.
Based on the Pennsylvania gun laws and those of the City of Philadelphia, there is one gun law that applies in Philadelphia but not in rural Pennsylvania. This is the law that requires individuals in Philadelphia to have a permit to carry or transport a firearm. Furthermore, guns are not permitted in Philadelphia city parks in addition to places mandated by the state such as schools, courthouses, and school buses.
Gun and firearm charges are taken very seriously in the state of Pennsylvania. Gun charges vary depending on several different circumstances, such as whether you are a first-time offender or you had a loaded gun when you were arrested. If convicted, you may face several years in prison and fines of several thousand dollars. You may also lose your rights to own or purchase firearms. Consider the following charges and their consequences:
No matter how serious your charges are, it is always a good idea to secure the representation of a skilled Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney can help you understand Pennsylvania’s gun laws, the charges against you, and your options within the criminal justice system.
If you are facing gun charges, time is of the essence. To schedule your legal consultation, call Wimmer Criminal Defense Law today at 215-712-1212 or use our convenient online contact form.