Pennsylvania Gun Charges

Contact Central Pennsylvania Gun Attorney Lee S. Cohen for your FREE CONSULTATION.

Pennsylvania is considered an “open carry” state but the law does not allow you to carry certain guns or firearms in vehicles or to conceal them on your person without a license. The law also bans the ownership or possession of guns or firearms by certain classes of people. It outlines the gun licensing procedures that allow you to carry a concealed weapon, provides the criteria for the licensing of gun dealers, provides the rules for the registration of gun sales, and outlines the penalties for violating the gun laws.

Firearm Definition

A firearm for purposes of Pennsylvania law includes the following:

  • Any revolver or pistol that has a barrel length less than fifteen inches;
  • Any shotgun that has a barrel length less than eighteen inches;
  • Any rifle that has a barrel length less than sixteen inches;
  • Any revolver, pistol, shotgun, or rifle that has a total length of twenty-six inches or less.

The length of the barrel of a firearm is measured from the muzzle of the barrel to the face of the bolt, close action, or cylinder, whichever might be applicable. Also, the definition of firearm implies that the firearm is operable and/or capable of being fired.

Common Offenses Relating to Firearms

Firearms not to be Carried Without a License

Under Pennsylvania law, to be found guilty of carrying a firearm without a license, the prosecutor must be able to establish that

  • The weapon you were carrying was a firearm;
  • You did not have a license to carry the firearm; and
  • If the firearm was concealed on your person, you were outside of your house or fixed place of business.

If the firearm is found inside your car, its simple presence does not establish that you have possession of the firearm. The prosecutor must be able to prove that you had control over the firearm and that you intended to exercise control over the firearm, meaning you knew that the firearm was inside the car.

If the prosecutor can prove that you were carrying a firearm without a license, you may potentially be convicted of a third degree felony. Penalties for a second degree felony include up to ten years in jail and/or a fine of up to $25,000.

Carrying a Firearm with a Conviction for an Offense that Bans Using, Possessing, Manufacturing, Controlling, Selling, or Transferring Firearms

Pennsylvania law prohibits certain people who have been convicted of certain offenses from using, possessing, manufacturing, controlling, selling, or transferring firearms, and prevents them from obtaining licenses to do so. Some of these offenses include those relating to burglary, rape, murder, robbery, stalking, criminal trespass, or corruption of minors. A violation of this law is not dependent on your use of the firearm, rather, if you have been convicted of an enumerated offense or your past conduct prevents you possessing a firearm, it is illegal for you to simply possess the firearm. The purpose of this law is to protect the public from convicted criminals who possess firearms, no matter whether your previous crime involved the use of a firearm. If you are caught with a firearm and you were previously convicted of a felony listed under the law, you can be found guilty of a second degree felony. A second degree felony is punishable by up to ten years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $25,000.

As a side note, if you legally own a firearm, and you have recently been convicted for the first time of one of the listed crimes, you have a sixty-day grace period to get rid of any firearms you may possess so that you do not violate the law that prohibits you from owning the firearm.

Delivering a Firearm to a Minor

If you intend to give or deliver a firearm to a minor, you may be found guilty of a third degree felony, which is punishable by up to seven years in jail and/or a fine of up to $15,000.

If you or a loved one have been charged with violating Pennsylvania’s gun laws, be sure to consult with Central Pennsylvania Gun Attorney Lee S. Cohen right away. Contact Attorney Lee S. Cohen, or call (717) 920-2220 or contact us online for your free initial consultation.