Our criminal defense law firm represents person charged with violations of Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act, specifically 6106, 6105, 6110, and 6108. The most common offense that we defend is violation of section 6106 (Title 18) which is Carrying a gun or firearm without a license within the Commonwealth. This criminal charge is distinguishable from Section 6105 because it specifically prohibits a person from carrying a firearm outside of their place of business or home without a license to do so, regardless of whether the person has a prior criminal history. This offense is a felony of the 3rd degree in Pennsylvania but one who is not permitted to carry a firearm because of some criminal conviction or other issue (also violates Section 6105, which is normally graded as a felony of the 2nd degree in Pennsylvania and subjects a person to a harsher criminal sentence upon conviction (more than likely a state prison sentence). There are situation were a violation of 6105 is only graded as misdemeanor offense. Read more about it right now!
The Presumption of Non-Licensure Following an Arrest for a Gun Charge
If you are stopped by police in Philadelphia or one of Pennsylvania’s counties, in which our law firm practices (Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks, Chester), you must produce your license to carry or permit at that point. The failure to produce a valid license to carry at the time of arrest or at your subsequent preliminary hearing creates a rebuttal presumption of non-licensure. This means that the Commonwealth, through the prosecution, does not need to produce evidence that you did not have a license to carry, but rather, your criminal defense attorney is obligated to produce evidence to the contrary under Section 6122 (Title 18).
Section 6106 Exemption—Police & Other Law Enforcement
In addition, there are certain individual’s in the Commonwealth who are exempt under Section 6106, which means they do not need a license to carry a firearm outside of their home or place of business. These individual’s include persons such as off-duty police officers and other members of law enforcement. If any of these persons are arrested they are required to produce evidence of their exemption (badge, ID, etc).
Preliminary Hearings & The Presumption of Non-Licensure
Remember that a preliminary hearing, unlike a trial, isn’t meant to establish guilt but is only a proceeding to determine if the case should move forward to trial. This means that if your attorney fails to produce proof of your license or exemption at the preliminary hearing, he or she can do so at trial or perhaps through a pre-trial motion. The disadvantage of this however, is that you will incur additional legal expenses for simply a lack of legal preparation.
Purchasing a Firearm in Pennsylvania
If you are going to purchase a firearm in Pennsylvania, our firm recommends that you do so through a licensed retail dealer pursuant to Section 6112, either in the Commonwealth or outside of it. There is no prohibition from purchasing a firearm outside of the Commonwealth, but Pennsylvania does heavily regulate how a person purchases a gun or firearm from someone other than a licensed dealer. Under Section 6111(c), a person is permitted to sell or transfer a firearm only within the place of business of a licensed dealer or a county sheriff’s office. The only exception to this is transfers between spouses, parent to child, or grandparent to grandchildren.
For more information on violations of the Uniform Firearms Act in Pennsylvania, I encourage you to keep reading my blog and also download a free copy of my book, What Everyone Should Know About Guns, Drugs, and Defense Lawyers in Pennsylvania.