Pennsylvania Firearms Charges

The Top 10 Things NOT To Do If You're Arrested

When it comes to crimes related to illegal possession of firearms, a skilled attorney in your corner is an absolute must. Firearms charges carry significant jail time if convicted and a permanent record that will haunt you for life.

The team of attorneys here at The McShane Firm have extensive knowledge, training and experience in defending against firearms related charges. The most common charges that we see are:

  • Possession of a firearm by a person prohibited
  • Carrying a firearm without a license

The penalties for firearms related charges can be very steep. Even if you are an unwitting criminal. For instance, in Pennsylvania, in order to transport a firearm in your car, you must have a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms or other recognized permit, unless one of a couple of exceptions applies – such as going directly to or from the shooting range. But more often than not, those exceptions may be overlooked by the cops. The laws are complicated and often times for one rule of law, there are ten exceptions.

What if you are driving to the range to go target shooting. You don’t have a license to carry but you are not prohibited from possessing firearms. The cop pulls you over and sees you have a handgun in the car. You try to explain that you are going target shooting but how do you prove that that is where you were headed. How do you prove to the cop that you didn’t make a detour and stop to get a sandwich before he pulled you over? At the end of the day, the burden is on the government to prove that the exceptions don’t apply, but that won’t stop you from getting charged – even if you weren’t in the wrong in the first place.

What if you are driving your dads car, and he has a license to carry but you don’t. He keeps a gun in the glove compartment but you don’t know it’s in there. You get pulled over and while looking for the registration, you happen upon the gun. Are you unlawfully carrying a firearm without a license? If you are otherwise allowed to possess firearms, then no, you are not committing a crime because the law allows for an exception if the car is registered to a parent and that parent has a valid license to carry, but that may not stop an officer from charging you with a crime.

What if you are a person not to possess, but you live in a house where there are guns. What if those guns are locked up and you don’t have access to those guns but the cop says you are in possession of those guns? The cop charges you with a felony. Are you in illegal possession of those firearms? The answer is no. Just because you may be prohibited from possessing firearms, that does not eliminate the Second Amendment rights of those folks you live with. So long as the firearms are stored in a manner that you have no access to them, you are not in possession of those firearms. You need an experienced attorney on your side to fight for your rights when the cops are wrong.

These are just a couple of examples of the many complicated laws and exceptions that apply to possession of firearms. That is why it is so important to have an attorney on your team who understands the ins and outs of the law to help you establish your defense and protect your rights.

Do you know the difference between a 9mm and a 45?
Do you have a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms?
Have you ever shot a gun?
Do you own any guns?
Do you know that AR doesn’t stand for “automatic rifle”?
Have you written any books about Pennsylvania Firearms Laws?
Are you an attorney for US Law Shield – a firearms legal defense program?
Have you attended the NRA national seminar on firearms laws?
Have you ever filled out a From 4473 to purchase a firearm?
Do you presume me to be innocent?
When is the last time you went to trial on a firearms related charge?

Pennsylvania Firearms Charges Penalties

Possession by a Person Prohibited
Maximum Charge:
Felony 2
Maximum Sentence:
10 Years
Possession by a Person Prohibited with a Prior Conviction for Possession by a Person Prohibited
Maximum Charge:
Felony 1
Maximum Sentence:
20 Years
Carrying a Firearm without a License
Maximum Charge:
Felony 3*
Maximum Sentence:
7 Years
*if you are otherwise eligible to possess a license and have committed no other crime other than carrying without a license, it is a Misdemeanor 1.

There are many circumstances related to firearms charges that can either increase or decrease your possible penalties. This is just one of many reasons why it is so important to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side.

Contact the experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at The McShane Firm today for your free consultation. We are here and ready to fight for your freedom.