If you’ve been charged with possessing, selling, or making repairs to offensive weapons, you could face harsh penalties including jail time and heavy fines. As with any criminal case involving firearms or weapons, your first step should be to call a competent gun attorney. Do not talk to law enforcement or prosecutors — it can only hurt your case since everything you say to them will be used to build the case against you.
At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, our goal is to help our clients defeat their criminal charges by giving them individualized attention and by crafting aggressive defenses of their cases. We have accrued significant experience defending against weapons-related charges in Pennsylvania and are proud of the many successful outcomes we’ve achieved on behalf of our clients.
What the Law Says About Selling or Repairing Offensive Weapons
According to the Pennsylvania Criminal Code, Title 18, Chapter 61, § 908, it is illegal for anyone except law enforcement to use, possess, sell, or to make repairs to any of the following weapons:
- Machine Guns
- Shotguns with barrels shorter than 18 inches
- Firearms designed for concealment or silent discharge
- Metal Knuckles
- Any knifes or blade weapons with a spring mechanism
- Stun guns, Tasers, or stun batons
- Any other dangerous or deadly weapons that can serve no other lawful purpose
These weapons are so dangerous that the legislature intends to limit their circulation as much as possible. The penalty for violating § 908 can be as high as 5 years in prison along with a fine of $10,000. This law is an example of how state legislatures can limit Second Amendment rights for the sake of public health and safety.
Defending Against Offensive Weapon Charges
One defense for people accused of possessing, selling, or making repairs to offensive weapons (except for bombs) is to claim that they possessed the forbidden weapon as a curio, for the purposes of a dramatic performance, or after taking it from an aggressor. The defendant must prove this defense by the preponderance of the evidence, meaning that it is necessary to present convincing evidence—it’s not enough to just claim innocent intentions.
People accused of possessing a machine gun can escape criminal charges by demonstrating that they received or transferred the weapon in accordance with the National Firearms Act 26 U.S.C. § 5801. The act allows for the possession and sale of machine guns when certain tax requirements and formalities are met.
Even if you can’t claim the above defenses, your Pittsburgh criminal lawyer might be able to invoke any of the following defenses on your behalf:
- Claiming that the search that led to the evidence against you was unlawful
- Arguing that your arrest, detention, and interrogation violated your constitutional rights
- Objecting to crucial evidence of the prosecution’s case based on the rules of criminal procedure and evidence
- Demonstrating that there is reasonable doubt as to whether you actually possessed sold, or repaired an offensive weapon
- Advocating for a lenient sentence based on mitigating factors that may apply to your case
If you’ve been charged with a firearms offense, our Pittsburgh criminal law attorneys are here to help. You can call us today at (412) 281-2146 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.