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Pennsylvania Gun Lawyer
Pennsylvania is an “open carry” state. This means that it is legal for an adult to openly carry a firearm without a permit. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania guarantees every citizen the right, “to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State.” But open carry does not universally allow everyone who may have a gun to carry it outside of the home, or the right to carry it wherever and whenever they like, especially a hand gun. And though you may carry a concealed weapon in your own house or business location without a permit, you still must obtain a special permit to carry a concealed weapon. If you are facing firearm or weapon-related charges, contact an experienced Pennsylvania gun lawyer for a consultation and to discuss your options.
People Who May Not Carry a Gun in Pennsylvania
As a Pennsylvania gun lawyer can tell you, the following people may not carry a firearm – open or concealed – in Pennsylvania.
- Those with reputations that they would likely act in a manner dangerous to public safety
- People who have been convicted of certain drug or controlled substance crimes; or who are addicted to, or have been convicted of unlawfully using. Illegal drugs
- Those who have been judged to be mentally incompetent or have ever been involuntarily committed to a mental institution
- People who have been adjudicated delinquent during a ten year period prior to carrying
- Convicted felons, primarily violent felonies such as murder, rape, robbery, burglary and arson.
- Non-U.S. citizens who are in the U.S. illegally
- Those dishonorably discharged from any branch of the U.S. armed forces
- Fugitives from justice
- Those convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol on three or more separate occasions within a five year period of the time they are caught carrying
- People convicted of certain domestic violence crimes
Situations or Circumstances Where Carrying a Gun is Legal
In addition to your home, the following are other areas where you may carry a gun briefly, even if you have no carry permit. If you are charged with unlawful possession of a firearm in one of the following instances, your Pennsylvania gun lawyer may be able to use that to build a strong defense.
- In your place of business if it is a fixed location
- If target shooting and you are either at a shooting range, or going to-or-from your place of assembly to the shooting range, and the firearm is not loaded –you may carry it concealed
- You may carry a concealed firearm to-or-from your business; or back-and-forth between your home and the place of the firearm’s purchase, sale, repair, or appraisal
- You may carry a concealed firearm when you are moving your residence or business or vacation home
- You are hunting or on your way to hunt and you have a hunting license and a valid Sportsman’s Firearm Permit.
- You may not carry a firearm in a court house or on any public school grounds under any circumstance.
Licensed peace officers, active duty members of the armed services, agents and messengers who are performing their duties of protecting money or valuables, weapons merchants or repair people, or people training dogs or engaged in hunting with a valid hunting permit, are exempt from this statute.
Concealment of a Firearm or Weapon and Other Firearms Penalties in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania law defines the offense of concealment or a firearm or weapon as, “Any person who carries a firearm in any vehicle, or any person who carries a firearm concealed on or about his person; except in his place of abode (residence) or fixed place of business, without a valid and lawfully issued license, commits a felony of the third degree.” A third degree felony carries a prison sentence of up to seven years and/or a fine of up to $15,000.
It is a second degree felony for a person prohibited from carrying any weapon or firearm to do so. Penalties can include a fine of up to $25,000 and no more than 10 years in prison, or both. It is a first degree misdemeanor to carry a firearm into a court facility. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, confinement in jail or prison for up to five years or both.
Gun charges are even more seriously dealt with in Philadelphia a city of the first class in Pennsylvania. No “open carry” is allowed and penalties are often more sever.
Hiring a Pennsylvania Gun Charges Lawyer
If you or a family member are facing gun charges, you need a Pennsylvania gun charges attorney on your side who can develop a strategy to defend your against the charges, vigorously represent you in court or negotiate a fair plea in order to avoid a trial when it is in your best interests. This might mean aggressively challenging the prosecution’s evidence, finding out if, and how, the police may have violated your fourth amendment Constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure, tirelessly working to suppress evidence, and if necessary, representing you at trial.
A seasoned Pennsylvania gun charges lawyer will give you the best advice. Please call for a free consultation.