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Under Pennsylvania law, it is a crime to Alter or Obliterate Identification Marks on Firearms under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6117. In many of these cases, a person is arrested merely for being in possession of a firearm after the identification marks were altered, even though the person didn't know about the alteration.
In many cases, the prosecutor will attempt to prove that the defendant was the one who altered the markings or knew they had been altered through the defendant's statements. Therefore, it is important not to talk to the law enforcement officer after the criminal investigation begins. In other cases, the knowledge requirement is shown through circumstantial evidence. Many defenses exist to this charge, so it is important to seek out the services of an experienced attorney.
If you were charged with the offense of altering or obliterating identification marks on a firearm then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in West Chester, PA. Attorney Michael Skinner represents clients on a wide range of weapon charges related to the possession, use, discharge, sale, or transfer of the weapons. Call today to talk to a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney experienced in defending weapon and firearm charges in West Chester and Chester County, PA. Michael Skinner can begin your defense today.
The elements of 18 Pa.C.S. Section 6117 for Altering/Obliterating Identification Marks on Firearms include:
The term "recklessly" is defined to mean that a person acts intentionally when it is his or her conscious object or purpose to alter or obliterate the manufacturer's number. A person acts knowingly when he or she is aware that it is practically certain that his or her conduct will cause such a result.
A person acts recklessly when he or she consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that his or her conduct will bring about such a result. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that, considering the nature and intent of the defendant's conduct and the circumstances known to him or her, its disregard involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the defendant's situation.
The Pennsylvania Suggested Standard Criminal Jury Instructions for Section 6117 were last revised in June 2010.
For purposes of the statute, the term “firearm” is defined as “any pistol or revolver with a barrel length less than 15 inches, any shotgun with a barrel length less than 18 inches or any rifle with a barrel length less than 16 inches, or any pistol, revolver, rifle, or shotgun with an overall length of less than 26 inches."
The barrel length of a firearm is determined by measuring "the distance from the muzzle of the barrel to the face of the closed action, bolt, or cylinder, whichever is applicable.”
Altering or Obliterating Identification Marks on Firearms — Visit the website of the Pennsylvania State Legislature to learn more about Article G, Miscellaneous Offenses for firearms and other dangerous articles under Chapter 61. Find information on Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act. Read more about crimes committed with firearms, evidence of intent, and carrying firearms on public streets or on public property.
If you were arrested for altering or obliterating the identification mark on a gun or firearm, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Skinner Law Firm. Attorney Michael Skinner represents clients on a wide range of firearm offenses such as 18 Pa.C.S. § 6117 throughout Chester County and Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Related charges often include:
With offices conveniently located in West Chester in Chester County, PA, Michael Skinner is conveniently located to assist you with your case. Call (610) 436-1410 now so he can begin your defense today.
This article was last updated on Thursday, February 4, 2016.