Applying for a gun permit in Pennsylvania is straightforward, but filling out government forms can be tricky. Did you know that an honest mistake on your application could trigger a background check flag?

In many cases, it’s easily resolved. Here’s what you need to know if you think you might have made a mistake on your Pennsylvania firearm application.

Understanding Background Checks in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania uses the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) to screen gun permit applications. PICS handles more than a million background checks annually.

Most background checks are approved automatically within minutes, but some are placed on a research status. Those can be cleared manually by operators digging deeper into the applicant’s status and past. In the most recent data, 97.7% of background checks initiated were approved.

While most checks are approved quickly, discrepancies can lead to a delay. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re denied – it just means they need to verify some information.

Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them:

  • Mixing Up Dates: Did you accidentally enter the wrong birthdate or anniversary on your application? Your driver’s license or birth certificate can prove the correct information.
  • Forgetting a Past Address: Moving is common. If you forgot to list a previous address, provide documentation of your residency during that time.
  • Misinterpreting Questions: Gun permit applications can have confusing wording. If you’re unsure about something, don’t guess. Contact your local Pennsylvania State Police office for clarification.

When Should I Call a Firearms Rights Lawyer?

If your firearm application is denied or flagged, you may be contacted by a law enforcement agency. They’ll have a copy of your application and may reach out to schedule an interview.

That is the point you should call a firearms rights lawyer. Cooperate with the agency, but do not agree to an interview without a lawyer present. You should not give any statements to the agency without a lawyer there to help you answer questions the police ask.

What Kind of Charges Can I Face for Giving False Information?

You can face felonies or misdemeanors if you’re accused of falsifying the information on your firearm application, whether you meant to deceive the government or made an error.

Making a False Statement When Purchasing a Firearm

Under 18 PA Cons Stat §6111(g)(4), it is a third-degree felony to knowingly and intentionally make a false oral or written statement, or to present a false ID, during the purchase, delivery, or transfer of a firearm. Conviction can lead to up to seven years in prison and fines up to $15,000.

Unsworn Falsification to Law Enforcement

18 PA Cons Stat §4904 addresses false statements made to mislead public servants. It is a second-degree misdemeanor charge applies for submitting any known false written statement or document to mislead public servants. You could be sentenced to up to two years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

You could be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor for making a false written statement on a form. This is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

How Do I Defend Against Falsifying Information Charges?

All hope is not lost when you’ve been charged with a falsifying information on a firearms application charge. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and you can work with an attorney to fight against a conviction.

If you’re charged with making a false statement when purchasing a firearm, the prosecution must prove intentional deceit. They’ll need to convincingly distinguish between deliberate falsehoods and genuine mistakes.

The prosecutor will also need to prove you were the one who actually completed the form or made the false statement. By exercising your right to remain silent or working with an attorney during any investigative interviews, you should be able to keep any incriminating comments out of the record.

FAQS About False Statements & Gun Applications

Will I be notified about the investigation?

Not always, but you may be alerted that your application was flagged, along with the reason why. You may be notified that your application was outright denied.

Can I appeal my application’s denial?

You could have the right to appeal if your firearm application was denied. You may need to include additional documentation to prove the PICS flag was made in error.

Does a conviction for falsifying a firearm application affect future gun ownership?

Yes, a conviction can lead to a prohibition on future firearm ownership, as it often results in a felony record. This prohibition can also extend to other rights and privileges.

Why Should I Hire a Gun Rights Lawyer?

When you’re accused of lying on your gun ownership application, you’ll be facing the Commonwealth’s resources, or even federal agencies. You don’t need to do this alone. Your attorney can review your charges, devise a defense strategy, and represent you in conversations with investigators or in court.

Your gun rights attorney will understand the panic you must feel when facing criminal charges. Finding the right lawyer can give you peace of mind and help you fight for your rights.

Facing Accusations of False Statements on Gun Applications? We’re Here to Help

Filling out government forms can be confusing, especially when legal jargon is involved. If you’ve unintentionally provided incorrect information on your firearm application, it could lead to serious legal consequences. Don’t face these charges alone.

At Skinner Law Firm, we understand the complexities of firearm laws and will vigorously defend your rights. Whether you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges related to false statements on gun applications in Chester County or the surrounding areas, we’re here to provide expert legal guidance and representation.

Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. Call 610-436-1410 or reach out online. or reach out online. Your future deserves experienced legal advocacy.

Article Author

Michael J. Skinner, the founder of Skinner Law Firm LLC, is a former prosecutor with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.

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