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.
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 PFAs in Pennsylvania can expressly state that your gun rights have been revoked; other PFAs can expressly state that there is no restriction on your gun rights.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.