When you purchase a firearm in Pennsylvania, you must complete a federal Firearms Transactions Record Form or Form 4473 and a Pennsylvania Police Application/Record of Sale Form or SP-113. While completing these forms might seem like a straightforward process, some people can be confused by how certain questions are worded and what details are required. Making a mistake on one of these forms could result in both a denial of being able to purchase a firearm and potential criminal charges. If you have been charged with making false statements on an application to purchase a firearm, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer at DiCindio Law for advice as soon as possible.
What happens if you lie on a gun application form?
Making false statements on an application to purchase a gun can result in a denial of your purchase and a felony charge. The law criminalizes falsifying information on gun applications because the government wants to keep the wrong people from purchasing firearms. If you are facing charges of falsifying a gun application or believe that you might be prohibited from purchasing a firearm based on your criminal record, you should talk to an experienced gun crimes attorney.
Common ways people make mistakes when filling out gun applications
Many people do not realize that they fall into a category of people who are prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or owning firearms. Under federal law, you are prohibited from possessing or purchasing a firearm if you have been convicted of a felony or have any of the following offenses on your criminal record.
Misdemeanor that is punishable by more than 12 months in jail
If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor that carried a potential sentence of more than one year, you are prohibited from possessing or purchasing a firearm. However, elsewhere in the federal law, misdemeanor convictions resulting in a firearms prohibition are excluded if they are punishable by two years or less in jail. In Pennsylvania, you can receive a sentence of more than two years for a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries up to five years in jail. The sentence that you received does not matter, The key is whether you could have been sentenced to more than two years in jail.
Subject of an active protection from abuse order
Some people answer this question incorrectly on a gun application because the application does not use the term “protection from abuse.” Instead, you will be asked about whether or not you are the subject of a court order that restrains you from harassing or contacting someone else. If someone has an active PFA against you, you are prohibited from purchasing a firearm.
Misdemeanor conviction for a domestic violence offense
If you have any prior domestic violence conviction, you can be prohibited from owning or purchasing a firearm. Domestic violence is a sentence enhancer that might be added to other criminal offenses committed against a close family member, intimate partner, or child of your household.
If you are unsure about whether you might be prohibited from purchasing a firearm, you should talk to an attorney before filling out a gun application form or an application for a license to carry a firearm in Pennsylvania.
Can you be charged for making a mistake on a gun application form?
If you make a mistake on a gun application form and provide information that is not true, you can be charged with a crime. Many people are shocked when they are charged with crimes after trying to purchase firearms.
When you fill out a gun application form, the dealer is required to run your application and compare it against the state police’s computer database. If the dealer finds any discrepancies between your application and the information in the database, he or she will refuse to sell you the gun. Gun dealers are also required to notify the police when there are discrepancies. The police will then compare your gun application form to their database to see whether you failed to include information or made false statements. They will then contact you and ask to interview you.
You should not agree to be interviewed by the state police without an attorney. If you talk to the police, they will use whatever you say against you. Even simple statements can result in problems. For example, the officer might use what you say to confirm that you were the person who completed the form, which is enough for the prosecutor to file charges against you. You can simply tell the police that you wish to remain silent and that you want to have an attorney represent you.
What are the penalties for making false statements on a gun application?
You might be charged with a couple of different offenses when you make a false statement on a gun application form. The prosecutor might charge you with making an unsworn false statement to authorities under 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 A conviction of this offense is a second-degree misdemeanor carrying up to 24 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
You could also be charged under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111 This offense can be charged if you made a false oral statement, showed a fake ID to the gun dealer, or made a false written statement on the application to purchase a gun. It is a third-degree felony carrying up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
How do I find a criminal defense attorney near me?
If you have learned that you are being investigated for falsifying a gun application form, you should reach out to an experienced gun crimes lawyer at DiCindio Law as soon as possible. Do not agree to sit for an interview or to plead guilty. Instead, call us today to schedule a consultation at 610-430-3535. We can help you understand your options and explain any defenses that might be available.