With gun laws in the news it might be interesting to review some of the gun laws in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Most of these laws can be found in Title 18, Section 6101. The laws generally deal with who can possess a gun and getting a license to possess one outside of the home or business.
Pennsylvania defines a firearm as a pistol or revolver with a barrel less than 15 inches, or a shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches, or a rifle with a barrel less than 16 inches or any of the above with an overall length of 26 inches.
Generally anyone can possess a firearm unless specifically prohibited by the law. If you have been convicted of a certain offense, usually a felony, then you may not possess a gun. The first of such crimes is fairly long and includes conviction for murder, aggravated assault, rape, burglary, and felony drug offenses. A person is also prohibited from having a gun if he/she is a fugitive of justice, has been convicted of DUI three times within five years, has been adjudicated an incompetent, or is subject to a Protection From Abuse Order which includes an order not to possess firearms. Depending on the exclusion, a person can be guilty of a felony or a misdemeanor. If you are ordered not to possess a firearm you have no more than 60 days to get rid of them.
It is possible for people under the above exclusions to be allowed to possess guns. To do this the conviction must be vacated, there is a full pardon from the Governor, or the Secretary of the US Treasury allows it and ten years has passed from the date of the conviction excluding time in prison
If you wish to carry a gun outside of your home or business you must obtain a license from the County Sheriff. Once the application has been made the Sheriff will do a background check. However, the Sheriff can deny a license to people whose “character and reputation” is such that the person might be dangerous. There are other reasons to deny a license to someone. The license is good for 5 years
If you wish to transport a firearm and do not have a license the gun must be unloaded and kept in the trunk of the car. Any ammunition must be kept separate from the gun.
If you are arrested for a firearm offense it is imperative that you contact a lawyer immediately so he/she can better prepare your defense. The possible penalties can be very harsh.
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