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PERSONS NOT TO POSSESS FIREARMS

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:

  • Persons who violate an enumerated offense; and
  • Persons who fall into one of nine subcategories of non-enumerated offenses

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:

  • Convicted of enumerated felony (loaded with ammunition available) ((a.1)(1)) — (second-degree felony)
  • Convicted of enumerated felony (unloaded/no ammuntion available) ((a.1)(1)) — (second-degree felony)
  • Convicted of enumerated misdemeanor (loaded/ammuntion available) ((a.1)(1)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Convicted of enumerated misdeamor (unloaded/no ammunition available) ((a.1)(1)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Convicted of drug offense (loaded/ammunition available) ((c)(2)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Convicted of drug offense (unloaded/no ammunition available) ((c)(2)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Convicted of DUI (loaded/ammunition available) ((c)(3)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Convicted of DUI (unloaded/no ammunition available) ((c)(3)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)

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

  • Adjudicated delinquent (loaded/ammunition available) ((c)(7)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Adjudicated delinquent (unloaded/no ammunition available) ((c)(7)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Adjudicated delinquent (loaded/ammunition available) ((c)(8)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Adjudicated delinquent (unloaded/no ammunition available) ((c)(8)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)

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:

  • Accept with PFA (loaded/ammunition available) ((a.1)(2)(i)) — (third-degree misdemeanor)
  • Accept with PFA (unloaded/no ammunition available) ((a.1)(2)(i)) — (third-degree misdemeanor)
  • Fail to relinquish with PFA (loaded/ammunition available) ((a.1)(2)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Fail to relinquish with PFA (unloaded/no ammunition available) ((a.1)(2)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Return to person with PFA (loaded/ammunition available) ((a.1)(5)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Return to person with PFA (unloaded/no ammunition available) (a.1)(5) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Active PFA (loaded/ammunition available) ((c)(6)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Active PFA (unloaded/no ammunition available) ((c)(6)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)

Other prohibited people include:

  • Alien (loaded/ammunition available) ((c)(5)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Alien (unloaded/no ammunition available) ((c)(5)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Fugitive from justice (loaded/ammunition available) ((c)(1)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Fugitive from justice (unloaded/no ammunition available) ((c)(1)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Incompetent/mental illness (loaded/ammunition available) ((c)(4)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)
  • Incompetent/mental illness (unloaded/no ammunition available) ((c)(4)) — (first-degree misdemeanor)

The enumerated felonies include:

  • Section 6302 (relating to sale or lease of weapons and explosives)
  • Section 6301 (relating to corruption of minors)
  • Section 6110.1 (relating to possession of firearm by minor)
  • Section 5516 (relating to facsimile weapons of mass destruction)
  • Section 5515 (relating to prohibiting of paramilitary training)
  • Section 5501(3) (relating to riot)
  • Section 5122 (relating to weapons or implements for escape)
  • Section 5121 (relating to escape)
  • Section 4953 (relating to retaliation against witness, victim or party)
  • Section 4952 (relating to intimidation of witnesses or victims)
  • Section 4912 (relating to impersonating a public servant) if the person is impersonating a law enforcement officer
  • Section 4906 (relating to false reports to law enforcement authorities) if the fictitious report involved the theft of a firearm as provided in section 4906(c)(2)
  • Section 3925 (relating to receiving stolen property) upon conviction of the second felony offense
  • Section 3923 (relating to theft by extortion) when the offense is accompanied by threats of violence
  • Section 3921 (relating to theft by unlawful taking or disposition) upon conviction of the second felony offense
  • Section 3702 (relating to robbery of motor vehicle)
  • Section 3701 (relating to robbery)
  • Section 3503 (relating to criminal trespass) if the offense is graded a felony of the second degree or higher
  • Section 3502 (relating to burglary)
  • Section 3302 (relating to causing or risking catastrophe)
  • Section 3301 (relating to arson and related offenses)
  • Section 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault)
  • Section 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse)
  • Section 3121 (relating to rape)
  • Section 2910 (relating to luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure)
  • Section 2902 (relating to unlawful restraint)
  • Section 2901 (relating to kidnapping)
  • Section 2716 (relating to weapons of mass destruction)
  • Section 2709.1 (relating to stalking)
  • Section 2704 (relating to assault by life prisoner)
  • Section 2703 (relating to assault by prisoner)
  • Section 2702 (relating to aggravated assault)
  • Section 2504 (relating to involuntary manslaughter) if the offense is based on the reckless use of a firearm
  • Section 2503 (relating to voluntary manslaughter)
  • Section 2502 (relating to murder)
  • Section 912 (relating to possession of weapon on school property)
  • Section 911 (relating to corrupt organizations)
  • Section 908 (relating to prohibited offensive weapons)

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.

Michael Skinner
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