4 Things That Make a Gun Sale Illegal in Pennsylvania
Being charged with a firearms crime can be a frustrating and upsetting experience—especially if you thought you obeyed the law. Unfortunately, even a small lapse in judgment during a gun sale can result in a criminal charge, threatening your right to bear arms and potentially leading to jail time.
If you were arrested for unlawfully owning, buying, selling, carrying, manufacturing, or transferring a firearm in Pennsylvania, you might wonder how these charges arose. Here are four common reasons why a gun sale could be considered illegal in Pennsylvania:
1. Errors on the Purchase Application/Record of Sale
Suppose you are a licensed gun importer, manufacturer, or licensed dealer in Pennsylvania. In that case, you and the potential buyer or transferee of a gun must complete an application/record of sale (SP4-113) form.
Firearm dealers will need to make two copies of the record of sale and do the following:
- Send the original copy to the Pennsylvania State Police within 14 days of the sale
- Retain one copy for a period of 20 years
- Provide one copy to the purchaser/transferee of the firearm
Ensure you fill out all the information correctly, including the firearm’s unique approval number and the sale date.
If either party involved in a gun sale makes an error on Form SP4-113, they could be charged with unsworn falsification related to a firearms form. This is a third-degree felony in Pennsylvania. They could also be charged with unsworn falsification to authorities, a third-degree misdemeanor.
2. Failing to Perform a PICS Background Check
Before selling a firearm to another individual, licensed gun dealers must complete a Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) through the Pennsylvania State Police. This will verify whether the prospective buyer can legally possess a firearm or not.
A PICS background check provides access to a potential gun buyer’s criminal history, juvenile delinquency, mental health records, and other necessary information. Anyone who requests these records through the PICS system for any reason outside its intended purpose can be charged with a third-degree felony.
If the buyer passes the background check, you may continue the sale or transfer process. However, if a potential firearm buyer fails the PICS check, the dealer will inform the buyer of the failure, and the buyer can challenge the denial within 30 days.
If a gun dealer fails to submit a background check before transferring a firearm, they could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. Buyers should remember that providing false identification to a firearms dealer is considered a third-degree felony in Pennsylvania.
3. Having Certain Convictions on Your Criminal Record
Someone might be ineligible or unqualified to possess a gun. If you transfer or sell a firearm to one of these people, you could be charged with a felony of the third degree. If you sell or possess a firearm under disability, you could be charged with a second- or first-degree felony.
There are many reasons why an individual cannot possess a firearm, but one of the most common is because they have been convicted of certain crimes. According to Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18, Chapter 65, § 6105, it is illegal to own, use, sell, possess, manufacture, or obtain a license for a firearm if you’ve been convicted of certain offenses, including but not limited to:
- 2502 Murder
- 2503 Voluntary Manslaughter
- 2702 Aggravated Assault
- 2901 Kidnapping
- 3121 Rape
- 3502 Burglary
- 3701 Robbery
You can find a full list of offenses in the state’s consolidated statutes.
4. Improper Time or Manner of Sale
Section 6111 of Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act outlines the necessary steps for a gun sale, including time and packaging requirements. It also explains exceptions to these laws, such as firearm “gifts” between certain family members. In most cases, a firearm can only be delivered to an individual after all required steps have been taken and the background check has been verified.
A firearm cannot be delivered to its buyer until at least 48 hours have passed from the time of the purchase application. The weapon must also be securely wrapped and unloaded during delivery. If a gun is delivered too soon or the gun is loaded and/or unwrapped, the seller could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.
Additionally, if a gun dealer has reason to believe a weapon will be used to commit a crime and sells it anyway, the dealer could be considered complicit and charged with the same crime. For example, if a buyer of a gun commits murder with the weapon, the gun dealer could be charged with murder as well if they had reason to suspect it.
Contact a Firearm Crime Defense Attorney Today
Pennsylvania firearms laws can be complicated. Even people who believed they followed every step of a legal gun sale could be charged with a serious firearms crime. Unfortunately, a conviction can lead to the suspension or revocation of your Second Amendment rights, as well as many other freedoms.
If you are charged with a weapons-related crime in Pennsylvania, you need an aggressive firearms defense attorney. The lawyers at Worgul, Sarna, & Ness LLC have helped secure desirable outcomes for countless clients facing gun crime charges and more. We can help you fully understand your case and determine the best defense to fight your charges after a gun sale goes wrong.