Does Pennsylvania Permit Only Possession Or Open Carry As Well?
We have both. You have a right to open carry in Pennsylvania, however, not in the city of Philadelphia. We also have the concealed carry permit which literally does not say conceal and carry. It is just a gun permit that allows for you to conceal and carry.
What Are The Laws Regarding Possession Of Firearms In Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, we interpret it very broadly. We have a lot of gun rights in Pennsylvania. In the Pennsylvanian Constitution, Article 1, it is section 27, we indeed have a right to bear arms clause. It is really a little bit better than the Second Amendment. In Pennsylvania, you basically have a right to a gun unless you have a court order saying you are not allowed to have a gun or you are a felon. Anyone can purchase a weapon unless they are prohibited for some reason, which would be a felony charge or a protection from abuse order where it says no weapons. That is automatic for a PFA. If you are on probation for something, they say no weapons. That is how it works in Pennsylvania as to who is and who is not prohibited.
What Are The Penalties For Illegally Possessing A Firearm?
That is a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances. They outline a lot of different circumstances that could be involved. We also represent people who have sold firearms illegally. That is rare for us because you can basically in Pennsylvania, sell it to anybody as long as they get a background check. We do represent those people if they are convicted as a felony offense for providing a weapon to a prohibited person.
Can Possessing A Firearm Aggravate Or Enhance Other Charges Such As Assault?
The State of Pennsylvania has sentencing guidelines and there are several different enhanced guidelines. Having a weapon on you, just possessed, is one set of guidelines for an enhancement. Then, there is a separate enhancement if the weapon is actually used which is increased compared to just the possession there is an increased penalty for the sentencing guidelines for having a weapon and also using a weapon.
Do You Handle Cases Where The Firearm Has Been Altered Or Modified In Some Way?
The crime involving changing the make or model or altering the weapon is code 18 Pa C.S.A 6117. It is the felony of the second degree to remove the marks and the serial numbers of the weapon. That is a punishment of a maximum ten years and a $25,000 fine. As long as it is in your possession, the District Attorney Offices basically assume that you know that the weapon was modified.
How Should Someone Notify Police That They Are Carrying A Weapon Lawfully?
In the State of Pennsylvania, you are not required to inform the officer that you have a weapon in the vehicle. However, from talking with state police and just looking at the law in general, if you legally possess the weapon, you can inform the officer. When you give the officer your license, registration, and insurance, you could also provide your carry permit. That will notify the officer that you are licensed to carry. Then, the follow-up question typically would be, “What do you have and where is it?” That is a personal choice for each driver to decide how they want to handle that situation.
They are not legally obligated to inform the officer that there is a weapon in the vehicle, but it is not a bad idea to let them know. Once the officer knows, they are allowed to take the weapon for the length of the traffic stop. They are allowed to take the weapon, run the numbers through their system, and make sure it is not stolen or something to that effect, but they are supposed to return the weapon at the end of the stop. You cannot carry a firearm in your vehicle without a license to carry in the State of Pennsylvania. There are some exceptions to that, but that is considered a concealed weapon at that point. Having a license to carry is a good idea.
How Should Someone Handle The Police If They Are Carrying An Illegal Weapon?
It depends on the weapon in the car. Obviously, if it is hunting season, and you have a hunting rifle, it is up in your window so you are basically open carrying. The officer is going to know it is there. They are going to know it is hunting season. They know what you are doing, and that is okay. If you have a weapon in the vehicle under one of the exceptions such as you just purchased it and are transporting it to your house, let the officer know. Fill them in on what is going on. There are quite a few exceptions. If you know that you have a weapon under one of those exceptions, you have to let the officers know, but they will more than likely take the weapon until they figure out if you are one of those exceptions. It is better to let them know upfront why you have the weapon rather than they find it later, because then you may get charged with the felony of illegally possessing without a permit.
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