Serving South Eastern Pennsylvania and Philadelphia
While Pennsylvania has an open carry policy for firearms, it is illegal to carry a firearm that is concealed on your person or in your vehicle. Certain people are also prohibited from possessing or owning firearms under any circumstances. People who are charged with carrying firearms without licenses can face serious penalties. You can apply for a license to carry a firearm if you are at least 21 years old and are not otherwise disqualified. This license can be obtained by applying to the sheriff in your county. Once you submit an application, the sheriff can take up to 45 days to determine your eligibility. He or she will have the right to deny a license to anyone who has characteristics prohibiting them from possessing or owning firearms. If you have been charged with carrying a firearm without a license in Pennsylvania, you should talk to an attorney at DiCindio Law.
Offense of carrying a firearm without a license in Pennsylvania
Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6106, it is illegal to carry a firearm in your vehicle or concealed on your person in Pennsylvania without having a valid license. However, you can carry a firearm without a license in your fixed place of business or in your home. Most people will need to get a license before they can carry a firearm in their cars or carry concealed firearms.
Some people are excepted from the law, including the following:
- Police officers
- U.S. military members
- People who are enrolled in organizations to receive or purchase firearms
- People at gun ranges or who are driving to and from gun ranges with unloaded firearms
- Security or bank employees who protect money
- Licensed gun dealers/manufacturers
- Carrying securely wrapped, unloaded firearms after buying them, having them repaired, or having them appraised
- Firearms safety instructors
- People transporting firearms after being told to relinquish them at a specific location
- Licensed hunters while hunting or traveling to hunt
- Dog trainers
- People with valid licenses from other states
- People whose concealed carry licenses have expired within six months and are eligible to renew them
- People who are legally authorized to transport firearms from state to state
Who is prohibited from possessing, owning, or carrying a firearm?
Some people are prohibited from carrying, possessing, or owning a firearm and will not be eligible for a license.
The following people are prohibited from having firearms and will not be eligible for licenses:
- Illegal drug users
- People with past drug convictions
- People convicted of domestic violence offenses
- People with felony convictions
- People who have been adjudicated as mentally incompetent
- People who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution
- Undocumented immigrants
- People lawfully present on nonimmigrant visas
- Fugitives from justice other than for minor traffic violations
- People who have been dishonorably discharged from the military
What are the penalties for carrying a firearm without a license?
Carrying a firearm without a license in Pennsylvania can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense. You can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor if you carried a concealed weapon on your body or in your vehicle and did not have a license when you were otherwise eligible to get a license and did not commit another crime at the same time.
A conviction for this offense will result in the following penalties:
- First-degree misdemeanor on your record
- Prison from 30 months to five years
- Fine of up to $10,000
You can be charged with a third-degree felony if you were caught carrying a concealed weapon on your person or in your vehicle without a license and were either ineligible for a license or you committed another crime while carrying your firearm.
If you are convicted of this offense, you will face the following penalties:
- Third-degree felony on your record
- Prison from 42 months up to seven years
- Fine of up to $15,000
Depending on why you were ineligible to get a license or the other crime you are accused of committing, you could also face other penalties. For example, if you have prior felony convictions, you could also be charged with being a felon in possession of a gun. This offense could result in up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Defenses to carrying a firearm without a license
A Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer can look at the reports and evidence in your case to identify any defenses that might be available to you.
Some of the potential defenses to a charge of carrying a firearm without a license in Pennsylvania include the following:
- The police officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop you or your vehicle.
- The police officer did not have probable cause to arrest you.
- The police officer conducted a warrantless search and seized the firearm when an exception to the warrant requirement did not apply.
- The search warrant affidavit included misleading or false statements.
- You belonged to one of the groups listed as being excepted from the law.
- You were charged with a felony but were eligible for a license and did not commit another crime, which could get the charge reduced to a misdemeanor.
Call DiCindio Law
Being charged with carrying a firearm in Pennsylvania without a license does not mean that you will be convicted. Whenever you are charged with a criminal offense, you should retain an experienced attorney to help you to defend against your charges. A lawyer can analyze your case and help you to understand your options. Call DiCindio Law today to schedule a consultation at (610) 430-3535.