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Persons Not to Possess Firearms

Under both federal law and the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, certain people are not allowed to possess a firearm. Federal law prohibits a person from possessing or purchasing a firearm if he or she has been convicted of any type of felony or certain types of domestic violence, as well as certain people with a history of mental illness.

Federal law still considers a person to be prohibited from possessing or purchasing a firearm even if state law purports to have restored his or her firearms eligibility unless the person has had all of his or her civil rights restored (not just his or her firearms eligibility). (See 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(B), (33)(B)(ii); United States v. Essig, 10 F.3d 968 (3d Cir. 1993); United States v. Leuschen, 395 F.3d 155 (3d Cir. 2005); Pa. State Police v. Paulshock, 836 A.2d 110 (Pa. 2003).)

Attorney for Illegal Possession of a Firearm in West Chester, PA

If you were arrested for possession of a firearm and are classified as a person not to possess a firearm, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in West Chester, PA. Attorney Michael Skinner is experienced in representing clients in a wide range of firearm and weapon charges throughout Chester County and Delaware County, PA.

With offices conveniently located in West Chester in Chester County, PA, Michael Skinner provides free consultations to discuss a pending charge. Call to find out more about the elements of the offense, the potential penalties, and important defenses. Call (610) 436-1410 today to schedule a consultation to speak directly with an attorney.


Persons Not to Possess a Firearm under § 6105

18 PA.C.S. § 6105 prohibits certain people from possessing, using, manufacturing, controlling, selling, or transferring firearms. Section 6105 applies to convictions that were committed within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or in another state. The statutory scheme sets out two categories:

The statute also includes an exemption clause that allows a person who has been convicted of one of the enumerated offenses or certain types of non-enumerated offenses to petition the court of common pleas for relief.

Under the laws of Pennsylvania, if a person not allowed to possess a firearm is in possession of a firearm, then the crime can be charged under Section 6105(a)(1) as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Persons prohibited from possessing a firearm under Section 6105(a)(1) include any person:

Other prohibitions apply to individuals who were adjudicated guilty as a juvenile, including:

Even without a conviction, a person with a Protection from Abuse order (often called a "PFA order" or "restraining order") is prohibited from possessing a firearm. Those prohibitions include certain people subject to a PFA order, including:

Other prohibited people include:

The enumerated felonies include:

The prohibition also includes any offense equivalent to any of the above-enumerated offenses under the prior laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or any offense equivalent to any of the above-enumerated offenses under the statutes of any other state or of the United States.


Additional Resources

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Pennsylvania — Visit the website of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence to learn more about prohibited purchases generally in Pennsylvania. Also find information on the Prohibited Purchasers policy summary.

Pennsylvania Code, Consolidated Statutes  § 6105 — Persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms — Visit the website of the Pennsylvania State Legislature to read the statutory language in Section 6105 for prohibitions on people not allowed to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer a firearm. The offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstance.


Finding an Attorney for Firearm Possession Charges in Pennsylvania

If you were arrested for the illegal possession of a firearm because of a prior criminal conviction, adjudication of delinquency, the issuance of a protection from abuse (PFA) order, or other classification under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6105, the Pennsylvania law that prohibits certain people from transferring, selling, controlling, manufacturing, using or possessing firearms, you should consider contacting a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney about your case. Related charges can include carrying a concealed firearm, the unlawful sale of a firearm, and carrying a firearm without a license.

If you were charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor offense under Section 6105, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Skinner Law Firm. Michael Skinner is an experienced firearms and weapons attorney in West Chester, PA. He represents clients throughout Chester County and Delaware County, PA. With offices in Chester County in West Chester, Attorney Michael Skinner can provide you with a free consultation to discuss the charges, potential penalties, and important defenses. Call (610) 436-1410 today. 

This article was last updated on Friday, February 5, 2016.

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