Weapons Possession as a Criminal Activity in Pennsylvania
Although the Second Amendment protects your constitutional right to bear arms, regulations limit your ability to own or possess dangerous weapons such as rifles, pistols, handguns, semiautomatic weapons, machine guns, knives and other dangerous artillery without the appropriate permits. If you are charged with a gun crime, you need a Philadelphia gun charge attorney on your side to defend you in criminal court.
In general, there are three separate categories of weapons possession charges for which you can be prosecuted under Pennsylvania’s Criminal Code:
- Licensed use of firearms
- Possession of a firearm in protected facility: Licensed gun owners cannot carry guns into school facilities, courthouses, detention facilities, correctional facilities, mental institutions, private property and casinos unless authorized to do so under 18 Pa. C.S. §912, §913, §5122, §3503 or 58 Pa. Code §465a.13.
- Unlicensed use of firearms
- Concealment of a firearm: If you are eligible to own a firearm and are caught concealing a weapon on your person or in a car without a permit, you can be charged with a misdemeanor in the first degree under 18 Pa. C.S. §6106. If you are ineligible to own a firearm and are caught with a concealed weapon, you can be charged with a felony in the third degree under 18 Pa. C.S. §6106.
- Illegal possession of a firearm: Unless otherwise authorized to do so, you cannot legally possess a gun if you are a former felon, a minor under the age of 18, a person who has been declared incompetent, a person who has been declared mentally unstable or a person who is otherwise prohibited by court order from possessing a firearm. See 18 Pa. C.S. §6109. If this is the type of crime with which you have been charged, it is vital that you contact your gun charge defense lawyers in Philadelphia as soon as possible.
- Criminal use of a firearm
- Firearms used during a crime: You can be charged with criminal possession of a weapon if prosecutors can demonstrate intent to employ the weapon in the commission of a crime under 18 Pa. C.S. §907.
- Related charges: A robbery or assault that involves the use of deadly force may result in mandatory minimum jail sentences — sentences that cannot be commuted to probation and eliminate the possibility of parole.
For more information about Pennsylvania’s penal code, contact a criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of David Jay Glassman for legal advice and guidance.