What Crimes Prohibit Gun Ownership?
By: Scaringi Law Attorney Robert M Sakovich
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides the right to bear arms, but state and federal laws have established that there are times when possessing a firearm is illegal.
Federal law prohibits people from purchasing or possessing firearms if they have been convicted of a felony or some domestic violence misdemeanors, or a serious mental condition. The Keystone State has identified crimes and situations that are risk factors for violence or self-harm and has restricted the ability to legally acquire and possess guns in these circumstances.
Pennsylvania law prohibits the use, possession, or sale of a firearm if you have been convicted of any of the following:
- Aggravated Assault
- Domestic Violence
- Felony Theft
- Kidnapping or Unlawful Restraint
- Luring a Child into a Motor Vehicle
- Possessing a Weapon on School Property
- Voluntary or Involuntary Manslaughter with Use of Firearm
Other conditions that keep someone from owning a gun include:
- A person who has been determined to be incompetent or involuntarily committed to a mental institution
- An illegal alien
- A minor convicted of a crime that would prevent gun ownership if they were an adult (for 15 years or until they are 30 years old)
- Anyone with an active protection from abuse order against them
- Anyone convicted of DUI on three or more separate occasions within a five-year period cannot purchase a firearm but may possess one
These prohibitions highlight the need for experienced legal counsel should you be charged with a crime that would limit your ability to own a gun. At Scaringi Law, our attorneys can provide sound counsel and aggressive advocacy for your criminal case.
Purchasing a Gun in Pennsylvania
The minimum age to purchase a long gun (rifle, shotgun, semi-automatic rifle) is 18. The minimum age to purchase a handgun is 21. There is no limit on how many guns you can purchase at one time. In the Keystone State, there is no license or permit required before or after you purchase a gun (unless you conceal carry).
When you buy a gun through a licensed dealer, you must complete an application (ATF Form 4473 and PA Form SP4-113) that goes through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS). There is an application fee that varies depending on the type of firearm you are purchasing. Providing false information on these forms can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Federal and state laws allow you to purchase a long gun, such as a rifle or shotgun, without having to go through a background check. Machine guns are prohibited under Pennsylvania law.
Consequences of Illegal Gun Ownership
Depending on the offense, a gun law violation could be a misdemeanor or a felony. If you become ineligible to possess a gun, you must relinquish the firearm within 60 days. After that time, you can face serious repercussions if you are caught in possession of a firearm.
Penalties for gun law offenses include:
- Misdemeanor (Third Degree). Punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and up to a $2,500 fine
- Misdemeanor (Second Degree). Punishable by up to 2 years imprisonment and up to a $5,000 fine
- Misdemeanor (First Degree). Punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine
- Felony (Second Degree). Punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and up to a $25,000 fine
- Felony (First Degree). Punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and up to a $25,000 fine
Restoring Your Rights to Own a Gun
Pennsylvania law allows persons who are prohibited by Pennsylvania law from possessing firearms by virtue of a criminal conviction to apply for relief from the firearm prohibition. A person prohibited from possessing firearms for mental health reasons may petition a court.
We have experienced lawyers to help you seek the restoration of your gun ownership rights. Scaringi Law is one of the leading law firms filing lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the federal and state gun control laws that deny our clients, convicted of non-violent offenses, from their Second Amendment right to bear arms or obtain a concealed carry license.
If you want a gun and think you might be denied, contact us before you complete the application for purchase.
Whatever your situation, our practiced attorneys are here to fight for your rights and help you procure the guns or licenses you need.
Ask about our consultations by calling (717) 775-7195 or contacting us through our online form.