Why Was I Charged With A Felony For A Mistake On My PA Gun Application?

June 30, 2017By Brian Manchester

More and more we are seeing people being charged with Felonies where the police are claiming that they were intentionally or knowingly providing false information on an application for a firearm. In addition to this they are charged with a misdemeanor for Unsworn Falsification to Authorities. Most of the mistakes that occur on these applications stem from the Federal Law language that does not always translate properly to PA state laws.

Prior Criminal Convictions

When the application discussed your prior criminal convictions it ask if you have ever been convicted, plead guilty to, or pleaded nolo contender to, or no contest to a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. This sounds simple but it’s not. This federal application says one year, but what it actually means is did you face a charge where you could have been punished with imprisonment for more than two years. In the State of Pennsylvania this would include all offenses graded as an M1 for greater. Most M2s and below would not fit into this category. However if you are convicted of a crime of domestic violence you lose your gun rights forever. Even if it is not an M1 or greater offense. The other big mistake people make with this question is that they might have faced a punishment greater than two years, but received a shorter sentence and may not have gone to jail at all. However the application is not asking what you did receive it is asking what you could have received. If you are unsure you need to stop filling out the application and contact an attorney. Do not ask the gun shop owner as they are not allowed to give you advice, and if you submit the form and it has an incorrect box checked. The next thing you know you have state police knocking on your door with felony charges for you. All denials through the PICS system are reported to the State Police for investigation and they will file charges as they are required to do so. Some people think if they can buy a hunting license they can buy or possess a gun. Absolutely not. That is an old-wives tale that will land you in jail.

PFA Orders

If you have a temporary Protection From Abuse (PFA) order against you or if you have a PFA hearing and you lose and a PFA is ordered for up to three years you are prohibited from retaining or purchasing firearms for the term of the PFA. PFAs in Pennsylvania can expressly state that your gun rights have been revoked; other PFAs can expressly state that there is no restriction on your gun rights. However, that does not mean that the PFA does not restrict your Federal right to purchase a firearm. If your PFA is active do not attempt to buy or possess firearms.

If you, your son, daughter, loved one in Pennsylvania was arrested for illegally filling out a firearm purchase application in Pennsylvania or has been arrested for any other type of crime in state or federal courts you need legal representation. Here at Manchester and Associates we represent people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For a free consultation we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.

Posted in: Gun Law

Tags: Criminal Defense, Felony, Gun Application,

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About the Author

Brian Manchester is the owner of Manchester and Associates in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. His law firm practices DUI and Criminal Defense exclusively throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania in both state and federal court. He has a team of two other lawyers with a combined 50 years of trial and courtroom experience are also trained in science and many other skills that are relevant to criminal defense to include the psychology of persuasion as well. One of his associates is a former District Attorney (chief prosecutor) in central Pennsylvania.   Mr. Manchester and his team routinely handle serious felony cases including murder, manslaughter, sex crimes, complex financial crimes, and serious assaults. A large part of Mr. Manchester’s practice is the defense of alcohol and drug-based DUI offenses as well as drug cases using science and analytical chemistry. Mr. Manchester has training as a Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Instructor. He is one of a handful of Certified Lawyer-Scientists as recognized by the American Chemical Society in the United States. He is a member of NCDD and is a Founding Member of DUIDLA. He is also a member of the American Chemical Society with over 170,000 members across the world. To date, he is the only practicing criminal defense lawyer to belong to the Society of Forensic Toxicologist where he is an Associate Member. Mr. Manchester speaks nationally on the topic of blood and drug testing for alcohol as well as the metrological (measurement uncertainty) in forensic testing.

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