West Chester

Unlawful Concealment of a Firearm Lawyer

Carrying a concealed firearm or weapon without the proper license comes with strict state penalties in Pennsylvania. If you are found with a handgun or other weapon underneath your clothing or in a vehicle’s glove compartment, a prosecutor may pursue felony charges against you. In a case such as this, a well-developed defense is essential. By working with an unlawful possession of firearms attorney, you can approach these circumstances with the knowledge, insights, and resources you need to defend yourself.

If you have been charged in West Chester, Phoenixville, Downingtown, Kennett Square, Oxford, Exton, Coatesville, or anywhere in Chester County for carrying a concealed firearm, contact the gun lawyers with Skinner Law Firm as soon as possible. It is important to discuss your options, how to best defend against a gun conviction, and to determine if you are eligible to have the charge reduced or dismissed. To schedule a free and confidential consultation of your case with attorney Michael J. Skinner, call (610) 436-1410 today, or reach out online.

Pennsylvania Unlawful Possession of a Firearm Law

You may have the right to own a firearm, but that does not automatically give you the right to carry it around in public. This right certainly does not give you the ability to carry if concealed in your car or person. Each state and the federal government regulate concealed carry. If an officer catches you in possession of a firearm in a manner prohibited by law, an officer can arrest you. A prosecutor can pursue misdemeanor or felony charges against you.

Under 18 PA Cons Stat §6106(a)(1), it is unlawful to carry a firearm in any vehicle or concealed on or about your person, except at your residence or fixed place of business, without a valid and lawfully issued license.

A prosecutor can charge you with a third-degree felony for unlawful possession of a firearm. This offense has a presumptive sentence of up to seven years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.

Misdemeanor Possession of an Illegal Firearm

Under 18 PA Cons Stat §6106(a)(2), if you are eligible to possess a valid license, but you carry a firearm in your vehicle or concealed on your person, except at home or your work, without a valid license, and you have not committed any other crime, then a prosecutor can charge you with a first-degree misdemeanor.

To face a misdemeanor instead of a felony, you must be eligible to possess a valid, lawfully issued license, and not have committed any other crime. Without both of these elements, you will face a felony.

Who Can Lawfully Carry a Firearm in PA?

Certain individuals in Pennsylvania are permitted to carry firearms without a license, including:

  • Constables, sheriffs, prison or jail wardens, or their deputies or officers;
  • Military service members, including members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, or National Guard or on-duty organized reserves;
  • Any person practicing target shooting, at or while going to or from a place for target practice as long as the firearm is unloaded during transport;
  • S. officers and employees who are authorized to carry concealed firearms;
  • Agents, messengers, or other employees or common carriers, banks, or business firms that require them to protect money, values, and other property;
  • Any person engaged in the business of manufacturing, repairing, or dealing in firearms;
  • Any person carrying an unloaded firearm in a secure wrapper for a legitimate purpose, such as going to work, going home, moving residences, or attending a training course;
  • Any person licensed to hunt as long as such person is hunting or going to or a from a place they wished to hunt;
  • Dog trainers;
  • Any person carrying a firearm in a vehicle when that person has a valid license issued in the U.S.;
  • Any person whose valid license expired within the past six months and is eligible for renewal;
  • Any person who is eligible to possess a firearm and operates a vehicle registered in their spouse or parent’s name, which contains a firearm for which there is a valid license issued to the spouse or parent;
  • A person legally engaged in the interstate transportation of firearms;
  • Any person who has a valid license or permit issued in another state and that state’s laws are similar to Pennsylvania’s gun laws; and
  • Any person who holds a valid license, which was set to expire while they were deployed overseas.

Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LCF)

If you are eligible to own a firearm, and you wish to be able to carry your gun with you in a variety of places, you must apply for an LCF.

Pennsylvania is a “shall issue” state, which means if you meet all of the eligible requirements, the sheriff’s office must issue you the license.

To obtain a license to carry in Pennsylvania, you must:

  • Fill out an application;
  • Pay a small application fee;
  • Be at least 21 years old;
  • Be a resident of the county for at least 90 days;
  • Pass a background check;
  • Be eligible to own a firearm under federal and PA law; and
  • Be of good character and reputation.

Pennsylvania does not have a training course requirement.

Who is Ineligible to Possess a Firearm in PA?

A prosecutor can charge you for possession of an illegal firearm if you are ineligible to own or possess a gun under PA law.

You become ineligible to own or possess a gun if, under 18 PA Cons Stat §6105, you:

  • Have been convicted of a certain offense (drug crime, multiple DUIs, violent felony, etc.);
  • Are a fugitive;
  • Have been adjudicated incompetent or involuntarily committed to a mental hospital;
  • Are an undocumented immigrant (illegal alien);
  • Are subject to a restraining order; or
  • Are younger than 30 years old and were adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile.

You also are ineligible to own or possess a firearm under federal law if you have been convicted of a felony or domestic violence anywhere in the U.S.

Penalties for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

If you carry a firearm concealed on your person without the right to do so, either by Pennsylvania law or with a valid license, a prosecutor can charge you with a first-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony.

The sentence for illegal possession of a firearm is either:

  • Up to five years in prison and fines reaching $10,000 for a first-degree misdemeanor; or
  • Up to seven years in prison and fines up to $15,000, for a third-degree felony.

Your exact penalty depends on several factors, not just the level of the offense. The judge also will consider the offense gravity score, which is determined by law, and your prior record value. All crimes have a point score, and your prior record value is determined by adding up the points for your previous convictions. These factors will indicate whether your sentence should be more lenient or aggressive.

Our Unlawful Possession Attorneys

The Skinner Law Firm provides skilled and aggressive legal representation for individuals charged with unlawful concealment of a firearm in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Michael J. Skinner uses his comprehensive knowledge of Pennsylvania’s firearms laws to advocate for your freedom. Depending on the facts of your case, he may fight to have a felony reduced to a misdemeanor or for the charges to be dismissed. If a prosecutor succeeds in bringing misdemeanor felony charges to trial, attorney Skinner will develop the strongest possible defense.

Contact the Skinner Law Firm for a free consultation today at (610) 436-1410.