As a criminal lawyer in Philadelphia, I defend persons accused of gun crimes. Since Philadelphia is trying to reduce gun violence among its residents, it has stringent firearms laws.

What is a Firearm Under Pennsylvania Law?

Under Pennsylvania law, a gun, which is also called a pistol or revolver, is defined as a firearm that has a barrel less than 15 inches. A rifle has a barrel less than 16 inches and a shotgun has one less than 18 inches.

In Pennsylvania, Can You Carry a Firearm Without a License?

In Pennsylvania, people may carry a firearm at home or at their business without a license. However, under some circumstances, people who carry a gun without a License to Carry Firearm (LTCF) or use it when committing a felony face prison time.

In Philadelphia and the entire state of Pennsylvania, people need a License to Carry Firearm to have a weapon in a motor vehicle or to keep it concealed on their person. Not having a license under these circumstances is punishable by up to seven years in prison. Under Section 6108 of Title 18 Pa. C.S. (Consolidated Statutes), just carrying a gun on a street in Philadelphia County without a license is a Violation of Uniform Firearms Act (VUFA ) and that violation is punishable by up to five years in prison.(Title 18 deals strictly with firearms law.) People 21 years and older can apply for a firearms license at the gun permits division of the Philadelphia Police Department. The license expires in five years. Laws governing firearms are wide-ranging. It pays to know and understand them.

What Happens if You Commit a Felony While Possessing a Gun?

Possessing a gun while committing a felony means serious prison time if the accused is convicted. These felonies include the intention to deliver narcotics, robbery, burglary, rape, attempted murder, arson and intimidation of a witness. People who are repeat are subject to a mandatory three years if convicted and as much as five to 10 years.

Under Section 6105 of Pennsylvania firearms law, people convicted of the crimes listed in the law cannot manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms. That’s why they turn to straw purchasers. A straw purchase occurs when a person with a clean criminal record purchases a gun for someone who has a criminal record. Anyone who makes a straw purchase has committed a crime under Section 6111 of the Pennsylvania firearms law.

Can a Minor Have a Firearm in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to give a firearm to anyone under 18 years of age. It is illegal for anyone under 18 to have a firearm or transport it. Exceptions are minors who are supervised by a parent, grandparent or legal guardian supervises them or who are engaged in a legal activity such as target shooting, an official firearms competition or safety training. Minors who legally in hunt or trap as defined by the Game and Wildlife Code are also exempt.

In Pennsylvania, Are There Places You Can’t Take a Gun?

In Pennsylvania, guns are not permitted on the grounds or in the buildings of public, parochial or private schools. Except for security guards, people are not allowed to carry firearms in courthouses; psychiatric hospitals, detention facilities, correctional institutions or casinos. Nor are people allowed to carry loaded firearms on ATVs or snowmobiles. The exceptions to the people and occupations who may carry firearms without a license are stated in Section 6106 of 18 Pa. C.S. These include members of law enforcement, members of the armed services and more.