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Can a Criminal Conviction Prevent Someone From Legally Owning a Gun or Firearm in PA Even if They Did Not Serve Any Time in Pris


One of the fundamental rights of American Citizenship is the "Right to Bear Arms." The right to own a gun is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution (Second Amendment), and the Pennsylvania Constitution (Article 1, Section 21). However, this right can be lost easily. Under Pennsylvania gun laws, a person who is convicted of any of the following crimes cannot possess a firearm, even if the conviction occurred in another state, and even if they served no time in prison. "Possess" does not mean "own." It is a crime to temporarily possess a firearm that is owned by another person legally.

If a person is charged with one of the crimes above as a juvenile and adjudicated delinquent, they are barred from possessing a gun for at least 15 years, and possibly for life.

Finally, many other people are not permitted to possess a firearm under Pennsylvania law. People with bench warrants in other jurisdictions, those who have been committed to mental health treatment institutions, illegal aliens, and people subject to protection from abuse orders (PFA Orders) are not permitted to possess firearms under many circumstances.

Before you enter into a guilty plea, know the consequences. If you were convicted of a crime, even as a juvenile, know the law regarding what you can and cannot do with respect to guns.

In Philadelphia, the District Attorney's Office has created a specialized unit to handle and prosecute gun crimes and firearms offenses. The unit consists of veteran prosecutors and detectives who are well adept at finding person who have made straw purchases and prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law. (For information about the GunStat Initiative, read our blog about that Program here and here).

Michael Parkinson, Timothy Tarpey, and Jim Lloyd are defense attorneys and former Philadelphia Assistant District Attorneys with who have have handled more than a thousand cases in which people have been charged with gun and firearm offenses. With more than 40 years of experience, our attorneys have extensive knowledge of how to defend these specific types cases so that your freedom and constitutional rights are protected. If you or someone you know has questions regarding gun crimes or issues in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, or Delaware Counties, contact us for a free consultation with an experienced attorney at (215) 352-3432.